by Raji Singh
These whispering cries of joy and sorrow rise from the bookshelves and portraits in the Fiction House.
I cannot refuse.
LAST TIME – Golden Boy as Willamina, escorted by ardent admirer Jake, a beau in hoping and pro-slaver, infiltrates the pro-slavery picnic. He is attempting to ascertain their plans to take over the government of ‘Bleeding Kansas’ via his Willamina guise and his clandestine activities.
As, nearly always, his partners-in-abolition, watery Turt and airy Captain Polly, aren’t far away.
“Ma, Pa. Got me a bead on a jayhawk,” the gap-tooth, ten year old little dickens shouts from amongst the picnickers.
“BAM!” His rifle blast stings the calm air.
“EEE,” Captain Polly screeches, expelling blue and green bird poop onto the delinquent-to-be.
She falls-swoops from the azure sky and lands with a discernible “PLOP,” in a pond hidden behind a grove of trees. The picnickers “ohh, aah, and gah” – not only for the marksmanship, but at the feathered thespian’s aerial death scene worthy of Madame Defarge.
‘Good fade. Fine acrobatics, Captain Polly,’ Willamina thinks. ‘A water burial is a nice touch for your audience.
‘Who ever said reconnaissance work is easy, eh Captain?’
“Jayhawk stew for me and you,” the little dickens chants. He dances about, not even thinking to wipe the ‘foo’ from his hair.
As he runs to retrieve the carcass, Willamina grabs him.
‘You’re well aware everyone’s eyes are upon you – a stranger ‘a touchin’ one ‘a there’ns. But, here’s an opportunity – a golden one – to ingratiate yourself to them.
“That bird’s meal for the turtles already, young ‘un. But, here, just try a breast of my jayhawk. It’s all plucked, fried and just right to gnar on.”
You open your basket.
The spicy and sweet aroma of chicken wafts out.
“Jayhawk galore,” the boy shouts, grabbing a piece.
He can’t eat it fast enough, so you thigh and leg him too.
The crowd’s all smiles for your gentle kindness, then when the little dickens tugs at your wrist and blurts, I want a wife just like you when I grow up – Jackpot!! You know you’ve won most of them over – and all because they taught the tyke to hate so well.
You grit your teeth when he mumbles through a foul, fowful-ful mouth,
“I kilt that damnable jayhawk, didn’t I ma’am. Iffen I come across a wingless variety, I’ll kilt him too.”
Enough of all this fal-de-ral. You know Captain Polly has a message for you – even sopping she’ll find some way to deliver it.
You take Jake’s arm, to shed yourself of the young admirer. Hmm. You’ve got to find a pleasant lady-like way to excuse yourself and go meet your Captain. Just when you think of one, you feel a cold hand on your shoulder and hot breath on your neck from a man saying,
“Well well if it’s not Willamina. But I do believe I know you from another place, and by another name, and looking a tad different.”
He spins you around. You know him. As William, once upon a time, you beat him unconscious for pistol-whipping a slave in Missouri – then you stole the young woman and booked her passage to freedom aboard the Underground Railroad.
STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK as A TALE OF TWO BIRDS continues – with a bird battle so intense it will take days for the flying feathers to settle.
© 2012 by Raji Singh