By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become
happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
Cu leaves the fireside after her desertion, heading in the direction of the Indian village. When he finally returns, he is clad in a loin cloth, highly beaded moccasins, ceremonial arm bands, and an ornamental bone breast plate, hair re-braided with a single eagle feather -- everything needed for a wedding ceremony except the paint, which is traditionally mixed from scratch early in the day.
He stands statuesquely at the very edge of the fire. Brushing down the hairs on the back of his neck, Paul Peter catcalls a grita to break the spell, then teases, "All dressed up and no place to go."
Jacques looks him over carefully, eyes glittering. "Stunning. The tourists would pay plenty to get shots of him in that get-up."
In the distance, a sound indicates that Despina has stumbled or bumped into something during her nocturnal rambling.
Cu explodes into action, lithely moving into a ground-eating gait.
When he returns, he has her casually draped over his shoulder like a jacket. The instant he releases her, she takes off again, then goes silent.
Cu, standing alertly, but frozen, beside the fire, suddenly swings toward nearly inaudible scuffing sounds, moving swiftly to intercept her in the dark.
A thud. A grunt. A decidedly Indian howl. More thuds and the unmistakable sound of a body falling. A yelp!
"Masculine, I believe," ventures Horst.
The older German chimes in, "She real hell-cat, no?"
Mickey walks up, adding, "I take it we're not eavesdropping on a rape," glancing with apparent casualness at Paul Peter, then Jacques, then at each of the seated Germans in turn.
"Heading to the passion pit behind the waterfall at the pond, if I'm not mistaken," says Paul Peter, a huge grin splitting his comely face.
“He intend honor, I t’ink,” corrects Bruno gently.
"He's got style, I'll give him that,” Mickey says. Shaking his head ruefully, he continues, “I sort of had the idea she was sweet on me, but I can easily see why she'd prefer someone so, ah, majestic. I doubt she'd consider accompanying me to Nancy's dance Saturday."
Paul Peter glances up. "Don't count yourself out yet. She does like you. She swears it's just her body that likes Cu, and that she couldn't think of a more unlikely match if she tried. She was mumbling about star-crossed lovers again earlier tonight."
“Right.” With a heavy sigh, Mickey takes his leave.
Suddenly bursting into the firelight, her disheveled tresses flouncing angrily with each stride, Despina stalks to her former resting place, reaches beneath her bulky sweatshirt and plunks two tall ornamental moccasins into 'her' depression in front of the log.
"There! That ought to slow that hulking he-man down!"
She spins through the firelight and stomps into the darkness on the road side, nearly colliding with the sheriff, who has turned back at the sound of her arrival.
"Oh, I'm light-blinded. Sorry, Mickey. I didn't mean to trample on you. What're you doing out here this late?"
"I just got off work and thought I'd go for a spin to check out how the new White Eyes is adjusting to Redskin ways."
"Oh, uncivilly, I guess. Seems as if potential range wars are rampant, and I'm one of the spoils! Please excuse me. I've had quite a night."
Afraid she might burst into tears, she flees in the direction of her hovel.
Pounding bare feet swoop down on her from behind as Cu unceremoniously scoops her up and heaves her over a bobbing shoulder. Bone and beads poke and rub her.
She manages to trip him twice, with near-disastrous results.
"Now, if I were to hear a feminine yell, I could dutifully rescue a fair damsel in distress, but that sounded too fierce to be her," Mickey says to the air.
Thirty long minutes pass with assorted howls and screeches echoing from the hills.
"Man, does that ever get my imagination working overtime," comments Paul Peter after a particularly ringing exchange. Impulsively clutching the moccasins, he starts into the dark.
"Better let me deliver them, son,” Mick says kindly. “I don't think you've been around here long enough not to fall into a crevasse and break your leg without an Indian guide."
"And you have?" Paul Peter grits out, stung by the sheriff's dismissal of his abilities.
"Cu and I ran these hills eternally as children. I have to admit to knowing my way around intimately. We don't want another lost White Eyes teacher."
Realizing that his inability to tell direction unaided must have traveled to town, at least in story form, Paul Peter reluctantly passes over his load.
Twenty minutes later, Mickey returns. No new sounds have been heard. "Not a sign of 'em. I left the moccasins on the pathway heading up to the cave."
In the wee hours of the morning, Despina returns to the campfire and stirs the embers.
Paul Peter and Mickey instantly wake and scramble up.
"Fancy footware you're sporting," drawls the sheriff.
"And I thank you for the thought."
"What happened to your shoes?" breaks in Paul Peter.
"I lost them in the pond. I had to kick 'em off to swim better. I lost your little gifts, too. What brand do you prefer?"
"Oh, forget it. I can get some in town more easily than you can. The druggist would definitely look askance at a single female trying to purchase..."
"That's quite enough, Paul Peter," she snaps, cutting him off. "I'm not in the mood."
"So I gather. Maybe some of the Indian kids could search the pond bottom for your shoes tomorrow."
"NO! I mean, I hope not. I stored them in the toe of my shoe."
Paul Peter lets out a delighted laugh. "That must've made walking tough."
"Did I say I walked anywhere?"
"So, I take it you didn't need 'em? I thought you claimed you lost them just to keep from admitting..."
"I don't want to talk about it,” she huffs, then adds after a pause, “I told you I wouldn't need them!"
Last updated 3/10/10 Corrected sweatshirt. 2/25/10 Rearranged Mickey walks up, adding, "I take it we're not eavesdropping on a rape," glancing with apparent casualness at Paul Peter, then Jacques, then at each of the seated Germans in turn. 2/2/10 removed at in front of Jacques; added ," Mickey says to the air. Paul Peter grits out, stung by the sheriff's dismissal of his abilities.
7/23/08, added “which is traditionally mixed from scratch early in the day.”; ‘“He intend honor, I t’ink,” corrects Bruno gently.’; “under the circumstances." “she huffs, then adds after a pregnant pause,”; corrected “ screeches”, “footwear” (several times) 8/25/04.
Word Count: 1040