Table of Contents
Lead your life so you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.
~ Will Rogers
Juan desperately wants to be Cu's son, not his brother Tomás's. The problem comes to a head with another child believed to be Tomás's. Despina decides to try her hand at talking Tomás into getting DNA tested so that the actual parentage can be verified.
"Tomás, now that Cu's DNA type is on record, if you got yours done, some of the children who are unsure who their father really is could be given proof."
"Blood?" Tomás repeats, looking at her through blurry eyes.
Despina winces for him. "Not very much. Just a stick of a needle in your hand or arm is enough."
"No sé nada de eso." He leans back against the adobe, letting his mouth gape open.
"Habla de Cu de este asunto, por favor?” Despina pleads.
"Why he care? Just because Cu do it, Tomás no necesita," interrupts Adriana.
"It's not him I'm worried about. But one of the students is unsure if he is Cu's son or Tomás's, and feels the mother might just be telling 'what everyone knows' rather than the truth. The DNA test takes that element out of play. If he cares about his children, then he should care enough to let them know irrefutably if he IS their father, or not. Someone even said one child's mothers is collecting child support from BOTH Tomás and Tex. That seems a bit outrageous to me."
"Tomás no afraid to have DNA test" Adriana states defiantly.
"Why would he be?” Despina carefully keeps her voice gentle. “It isn't painful, nor time-consuming. He doesn't even have to go to Flag to get it done. Local doctors can send it in."
Adriana looks thoughtfully at Despina. "This child of me?"
"Oh, I would never break a confidence by passing on the student's name. If the testing gets done, that will be enough for me to intervene in. More than I ever planned to do, but you know how persistent bothered children can be."
“Perhaps he no store semen?" Adriana asks shrewdly.
"He should, just for safety, but again,” Despina disclaims, “that's not something I'm involved in. If I were a woman who was seeing him, I'd sure push for it."
"I speak this with women. We say more than men, perhaps," Adriana declares, abruptly coming around to Despina’s way of thinking.
"Jacques can give you plenty of ammunition, I'm sure."
With a sigh of relief, Despina watches the Indian woman leave.
Paul Peter soon lets it be known that he's overheard. "Well, you could have just told her it was Juan. She wouldn't have beaten him up, or anything."
"I'm not telling anyone anything about who it is, as long as I can get the results,” Despina asserts boldly. “Once stuff is on file, I'm betting a LOT of people will get tested. And safe delivery of the tribal gift is sensible to promote, as well."
"Despina, has anyone ever told you what a wet blanket you're getting to be? No alcohol; no free love; what do-gooder campaign will you be starting up next week?" Paul Peter interjects.
“Well, I guess I’m also promoting family unity,” Despina says thoughtfully. “Indians who had moved away because they could not earn a living on the reservation are beginning to return. Jacques told me that summer vacation has always seen a few visit, but the fact that so many are staying and contributing their skills and effort to the improvements is being bandied about in town as a tribute to my influence. It sounds a bit far-fetched to me, but that’s the scuttlebutt from the Catholic Church, at any rate.
“But, we ARE gaining skilled workers who provide a real service to the area, not just the Indians. Once a competent backhoe operator moved back, all kinds of impossible projects are getting underway. The formerly Phoenix-based lawyer and his son who returned to spend some quality time with his wife and three daughters who live year around on the res is opening an office. He provided the contracts for the sales, is working out a tax structure acceptable to the US, and will handle the treaty negotiations, I've been told, with considerable pride.”
“Raúl his kid?” Paul Peter says, his ever-fertile brain turning things around for just the right angle to take the wind out of her sails.
Despina nods her head in agreement.
“Raúl, the one who was drug kicking and screaming from his drug and gang-infested neighborhood in Phoenix. Mid July - great time to start a summer school program that began in early June… Bet he’s a joyous addition to your classroom,” he adds snidely.
Despina presses her lips tightly shut and scowls at him.
* * *One Sunday, a question out of left field takes Despina by surprise.
A normally mousy lady inquires, anguish on her face, "Is it true you settled that raging dispute over whether Tex or Tomás was the father of Lupe's son?"
"Uh, I'm not sure. I know I talked Tomás into putting his DNA type on record. It's really the only way to verify some of the bloodlines out there under the current social system."
"Your restraint is admirable, Despina, but I can speak to the other half of the problem. The sheriff talked Tex into putting his DNA type on record. Then his cronies, not to be thought outdone by an Indian, had theirs done. Now, most of the county, White or Indian, have their types recorded, and the repercussions will be going on for YEARS, I'm sure. No more blackmail by saying, 'This child is yours.' You'd be surprised how many Tex was paying for that WEREN'T his when the testing got done," says Nancy in a righteous wrath. "I’ve always felt insulted by the number he supposedly had a hand in. I’ll probably never know for sure if it fed his vanity to have so many to his name, if he was trying to keep up with the infamous Indian brothers, or if he really WAS in doubt that the child MIGHT have been his."
"I heard that the blue eyed Indian really ISN'T an Indian at all, but the son of a pretty high-placed White woman," another gossip in the group contributes.
"Oh, I KNOW that one is untrue. I don't know about the father, but his MOTHER is who everyone always said she was." Once the words were out of her mouth, she was horrified, scared to death someone would question how she was so sure a woman who had died years before she came to the reservation was really his mother. I can hardly tell them she TALKED to me personally if I want to hold my head up in town...
"Come to think of it, I DID overhear something about him. You're right, Despina. It wasn't his mother. It was his father. He's really the son of that fellow who ran the Indian Agency and paid for his college. A love match, I think the men said," contributed Nancy.
"I see what you mean about repercussions, even though he's been dead for quite a while. Isn't he Mickey's uncle?"
Last updated 11/18/15 Added second space after end punctuation; 3/20/10 Corrected backhoe. Added back history on Phoenix lawyer; 3/5/10 Switched this version to the only one retaining the Pidgin English. 2/28/10 Added “tells”. Changed Adriana into pidgin English. 2/13/10 Changed Cheryl to Adriana. Added Despina's self-defense against PP's wet blanket comment. 12/17/09 Fixed Nancy's speech. 8/7/08 Added quote. (8/5/08 Cheryl looks thoughtfully at Despina. 9/29/04.)
Word Count: 1211
May 1, 2002 16:57
http://pandemo.livejournal.com/66486.html (Pidgin English version)
http://summercircles.livejournal.com/25678.html (Spanish mostly version)
http://summercircles.livejournal.com/31519.html (English mostly version)