by Raji Singh
…a pistol-whipping slave hunter who had the gun-butt turned on him, his slave stolen, then freed to board the Underground Railroad. The ‘retributioner’-liberator: Willamina, but at that time he was William.
NOW: The hunter stalks Willamina at a pro-slavers picnic. Confused, his memory a blur from the beating, he wonders, ‘Once we kept company, I‘m just sure of it?’
Willamina’s little worried the stalker will recognize him: makeup and corset separate, like a chasm, Willamina from the leather-booted-chapped-vested, William. – Raji Singh, editor/archivist/archeo-apologist, The Fiction House
* * *
Following the picnic basket ‘vittelin’ and the band’s ‘fiddlin’, Willamina writes mentally as he promenades on escort Jake’s arm.
‘Everything’s going fine,’ you tell yourself. “All Jake’s male kin think you’re the cat’s pantyloons. All the female kin coming at you cat clawed. That’s to be expected. Can’t win over both sides of your dress in one afternoon. Though, wouldn’t mind lettin’ that one sweet sisteren’ a Jake’s go cattin’ about inside your pantyloons some night – exceptin’,then you’d be’ lovin’ up’ a lousy pro-slaver. ‘That’ll never happen.’
~ ~ Editor’s note:The more writings of Golden Boy I discover the more I see the unique chances good writers take. For instance, following this second person inner monologue done in such a mellow-dramatic ‘dime western’ fashion, he will immediately change voice, becoming almost Flauberian prose. The reader will sense it, even come to expect it now and then, because Golden Boy stays so consistently with his William-Willamina characterization. ~ ~
Besides your harvesting of the ever-burgeoning array of malicious vicissitudes for any race other than their own that blossom in their pro-slave garden of poison ivy and oak, you’ve unearthed dozens of leads about their heinous plans (to murder Free-Staters emigrating to ‘Bleeding Kansas’).
Your compatriot in abolition James Thaddeus would tell you,
“You have a bounty of information to fill our basket, brother William. Depart this evil garden at once. Turt awaits you at the river. Upon his shell you must hasten northward, to the Eden abolitionist encampment.”
‘Oh, no Blackjack. That is why you are the office gland and I the garden hand. You mark success by an endeavor’s safety. Nay, if not for risks, nothing would flourish. I will gather a dozen more leads before my time comes to hasten my departure. Besides, the gooseberry pie is yet to come, and I’ll not forgo a righteous goose or…’
“Gander at…” Willamina shouts suddenly as he sees a diamondback rattler far in the distance. It slithers out from under a bush, and wonders to itself, ‘Should I join my slimy two-leg compatriots in picnic.’
The eyes of the picnickers – on the contemplating serpent just briefly – quickly shift to Willamina, when, from behind, the stalker approaches. He spins Willamina around.
‘That’s the second time you’ve done that today. What do you suppose me to be – a dreidel?’
~ ~Raji note: Now see how Golden Boy’s suddenly mixes voices, momentarily, to create a language bridge so the reader isn’t confused. ~ ~
‘You face the whiskery, whiskey-ed wretch. If you spit upon him you’d only make him cleaner. Thin as a whisp. Pliable as a willow. You could knot him into a bug in three shakes. In two you could squarsh him like the dung beetle he smells like. No need to act in haste, fair damsel, Willamina, you assure yourself – you are in the arms of your mighty protector, Jake.’
“Pard, it’s time you stop pesterin’ my sweet little legume,” demands Jake.”
Pard ignores him. “Where you fum, Willamina? You not fum around here? You fum one of those stinkin’ abolitionist holes ain’t ya? John Brown’s Osowatomie? Maybe Lawwww-rence?”
Jake lifts him straight up in the air, by his hair. “Pard, yer rilen’ me. Her ma and pa hail from St. Joe across the border in the holy slave state. Their preachin’ the ‘right way’ of the way the lesser races should live, from amongst our sympathizers in Atchyson.”
“Let him down Jake, darling. He’s no match for you.”
You stroke Jake’s arm, and coo ‘ooh, ooh.’
The biggest of grins cracks across Jake’s face. You know men! This one’s wondering how ‘far’ he can get with you. Yes, another date with him is in order. Something moonlit, on the river. Not, un-chaperoned, as he will believe it to be, of course. Captain Polly’ll be flying reconnaissance – early warning. Turt’ll be a few feet away, just under the water. Ready. Waiting, in case he’s needed. And Luny Mum will be squinting protectively at her Willamina, to let you clearly see Jake’s movements.
Oh, the information you’ll romance from him before, “PLUNK”, you’ll make him disappear permanently beneath the water.
Jake lowers the pard, and then winks at you.
“Pard’s jealous, My Little Legume. ‘Cause all he’s got is his filly, Bessie, and she won’t share her oat bucket like you did your picnic basket with me.”
Here’s the test. Here it comes. Jake’s pard is either a little drunk, a little stupid – or a lot of both. You brace yourself, as he pulls you close and plants a hot, wet one on your cheek. He holds his mouth there for one, one-thousand, two- one thousand. It feels like 40-, 80-, a zillion- one thousand.
Ack, yach, ack. Even nuzzling up to stinky ol Turt, be better ‘n being touched by this lout. But you take it, and he doesn’t pull away.
YES! It’s one thing you know all about – men.
You can almost smell Jake’s testosterone rising in those two seconds. You’re home free with Jake. To the river for your next date, you think, as he commences lambasting the pard, churning the soft willowy wisp into softer lard. Jake, he’s practically announcing his engagement to you to friends and family via the violence.
You’re home free you think, until the little dickens who thought he shot a jayhawk earlier in the day, rushes in carrying Hawk’s cold, limp body.
~ ~ Raji note: In an earlier posting – A TALE OF TWO BIRDS – I reprinted Golden Boy’s accounts of how pro-slavers utilized hawks to carry information, and to kill messenger birds used by abolitionist to deliver their plans. ~ ~
“Hawk had an important message for us,” moans the little dickens. “I just know it. Some stinkin’ abolitionist done him in afore he could deliver it.”
You recognize – by the crescent gouges along Hawk’s neck and head – it’s Captain Polly’s deadly handiwork. You get a little jittery. Jake puts his arm around you, and mumbles something about,
“Don’t be afearin’ a little dead bird, My Little Legume.”
You know Captain Polly has a message for you. One that may be a matter of life and death. Your own. Somehow you’ve got to find out what it is.
Next week’s final episode of this sequence of Willamina undercover – SHOOTOUT AT PETTICOAT JUNCTION
©Raji Singh 2012