King_Green_Grass_Running_Water_1

King_Green_Grass_Running_Water_1 - GREEN GRASS, d0 RUNNING...

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Unformatted text preview: GREEN GRASS, d0 RUNNING WATER i i i i i i BOOKS BY THOMAS KINGI | I i i Medicine River THOMAS KING A Coyote Columbus Story All My Relations: An Anthology of Short Fiction . by Native Writers in Canada: : The Native in Literature: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives (coeditor) ! Green Grass, Running Water One Good Story, That One HI H! Harp erPerennialeanada HarperCoHiusPubifibersLtd So. In the beginning, there was nothing. Just the water. Coyote was there, but Coyote was asleep. That Coyote was asleep and that Coyote was dreaming. When that Coyote dreams, anything can happen. I can tell you that. So, that Coyote is dreaming and pretty soon, one of those dreams gets loose and runs around. Makes a lot of noise. Hooray, says that silly Dream, Coyote dream. I'm in charge of the world. And then that Dream sees all that water. Oh, oh, says that noisy Dream. This is all wrong. Is that water we see? that silly Dream says to those dream eyes. It’s water, all right, says those Dream Eyes. That Coyote Dream makes many sad noises, and those noises are loud and those noises wake up Coyote. “Who is making all that noise and waking me up?” says Coyote. “It’s that noisy dream of yours,” I says. “It thinks it is in charge of the world.” {I} I am in charge of the world, says that silly Dream. “Perhaps you could be a little quieter,” says trying to sleep.” -‘ Coyote. “I am Who are you? says-that Dream. Are you someone important? “I’m Coyote,” says Coyote. “And I am very smart.” I am very smart, too, says that Dream. I mus “No,” says Coyote. “You can’t be Coyote. B dog.” Are dogs smart? says that Dream. t be Coyote. - “You bet,” says Coyote. “Dogs are good. They are almost - as good as Coyote.” Okay, says that Dream. I can do that. But when that Coyote Dream thinks about being a dog, it gets everything mixed up. It gets everything baekward. “That looks like trouble to me,” I says. “Hmmm,” says Coyote. “You could be right. I! - “That doesn’t look like a dog at all,” I tell Coyote. “Hmmm,” says Coyote. “You could be right. ' - I am god, says that Dog Dream. “Isn’t that cute,” says Coyote. “That Dog Dream is a con— trary. That Dog Dream has everything backward.” But why am I a little god? shouts that god. “Not so loud,” says Coyote. “You’re hurting my ears.” I don’t want to be a little god, says that god. I want to be a big god! “What a noise,” says Coyote. “This dog has no manners.” Big one! “Okay, okay,” says Coyote. “Just stop shouting.” There, says that GOD. That’s better. ' 1," -.“Now you’ve done it,” Isays. “Everything’s under conflol,” says Coyote. “Don’t panic.” iut you can be a' Where did all that water come from? shouts that GOD. “ . . Take it easy,” says Coyote. “Sit down. Relax. Watch some telev1s1on. ” But there is water everywhere, says that GOD. “Hmmmm,” says Coyote. “So there is.” “That’s true,” I says. “And here’s how it happened.” {a} WHERE DID ALL THE WATER COME FROM? says “I’ll bet you’d like a little dry land,” says that GOD. Coyote. What happened to my earth without form? says that GOD. “I know I sure would,” says Coyote. What happened to my void? says that GOD. Where’s my-darkness’?a “Hmmrnm,” says Coyote. “Maybe I better apologize now. “You can apologize later,” I says. “Pay attention.” Okay. There are two worlds, you know. One world is a Sky World. One world is a Water World. “Where do the Coyotes live?” says Coyote. “Forget the Coyotes,” I says. That Sky World has all sorts of things. Sky things. They got Sky Moose. They got Sky Bear. They got Sky Elk. Sky Buffalo. “And Sky Coyotes?” says Coyote. I v This is all wrong, says that GOD. Eyerybddy knows there IS only one world. “Listen up,” I says. “I only want to do this once.” {38} V In that Water World, they have all sorts of water things. Water Turtles. Water Ducks. Water Fish. Things like that. So, in that Sky World is a woman. Bi First Woman. First Woman walks around, says, straighten up, and she says, mind your relations, and she walks around that world with her head in the trees, looking off in the distances, looking _ for things that are bent and need fixing. So that one walks off the edge of the world. So that one starts falling. Oh, oh, First Woman says, looks like a new adventure. And she is right. Down below in that Water World, those water animals look up and they see that big, strong woman falling out of the sky. Those Ducks shout, look out, look out. And they fly up and catch that woman and bring her to the water. What’s all that noise? says grandmother Turtle, and when grandmother comes up to see what all the fuss is about, those Ducks put First Woman on her back. Ho, says grandmother Turtle when she sees that woman on her back. You are on my back. That’s right, says First Woman. I guess we better make some land. 50 they do. First Woman and grandmother Turtle. They get some mud and they put that mud on grandmother Turtle”s back and pretty soon that mud starts to grow. That’s a pretty good trick, says Old Coyote, who comes floating by on that air mattress. Maybe I can help. Straighten up, says First Woman. Mind your relations, says grandmother Turtle. So that mud gets big and beautiful all around. That is beautiful, says Old Coyote, but what we really need g woman. Strong woman. _is/a garden. Exactly, says that backward GOD. “Look, look,” says Coyote. “It’s Old Coyote.” {39} a: “Calm down,” I says. “We got lots to do. A garden is the last thing we need, says grandmother Turtle. No, no, no, says Old Coyote. A garden is a good thing. Trust me. Oh, oh, says First Woman. Looks like another adventure. “30 that’s the way the story starts,” 1 says. “That’s the way it is beginning.” - No, no, says that GOD. That’s not the “way it starts at all. It starts with a void. It starts with a garden.i “Stick around,” I says. “That garden will be here soon.” Hallelujah, says that GOD. “Is Old Coyote going to make that good garden?” says Coyote. - “Not likely,” I says. “Can we continue?” First Woman’s garden. That good woman makes a garden and she lives there with Ahdamn. I don’t know where he comes from. Things like that happen, you know. So there is that garden. And there is First Woman and Ah- damn. And everything is perfect. And eyerything is beautiful. And everything is boring. So First Woman goes walking around with her head in the clouds, looking in the sky for things that are bent and need fixing. So she doesn‘t see that tree. So that tree doesn’t see her. So they bump into each other. Pardon me, says that Tree, maybe you would like some- thing to eat. I That w0uld be nice, says First Wor'nan, and all sorts of good things to eat fall out of that Tree. Apples fall out. Mel— ons fall out. Bananas fall out. Hot dogs. Fry bread, corn, pota- toes. Pizza. Extra—crispy fried chicken. Thank you, says First Woman, and she picks up all that food and brings it back to Ahdamn. ' {4o} Talking trees! Talking trees! says that GOD. What kind of a world is this? “Did someone say food?” says Coyote. “Sit down,” I says. “Boy, this story is going to take a long time.” So that good woman brings all that food back to Ahdamn. Ahdarnn is busy. He is naming everything. You are a microwave oven, Alidamn tells the Elk. Nope, says that Elk. Try again. You are a garage sale, Ahdamn tells the Bear. We got to get you some glasses, says the Bear. You are a telephone book, Ahdarnn tells the Cedar Tree. You’re getting closer, says the Cedar Tree. You are a cheeseburger, Ahdamn tells Old Coyote. It must be time for lunch, says Old Coyote. Never "mind'that, First Woman tells Ahdamn. Here is some- thing to eat. Wait a minute, says that GOD. That’s my garden. That’s my stuff. “Don’t talk to me,” I says. “You better talk to First Woman.” You bet I will, says that GOD. So. There is that garden. And there is First Woman and Ah- arnn. And there are the animals and the plants and all their relations. And there is all that food. “Boy,” says Coyote, “that food certainly smells good.” They can’t eat my stuff, says that GOD. And that one jumps into the garden. Oh, oh, says First Woman when she sees that GOD land in her garden. Just when we were getting things organized. {4I} “BOY ” says Coyote, "that silly dream has everything mixed upto. “Fliat’s what happens when you don t pay attention what ou’re doing,” I says. “ . ‘ - a, “It”; not my fault,” says Coyote. I believe I was in Toronto. 50 that GOD jumps into that garden and that GOD runs around ' ' ’ hat he yells. ' Bad busmess! Bad busmess! Thats w ‘ WERE: got to put all that stuff back, that GOD tells First Woman. F W i Who are you? says itst oman. ‘ I’m GOD, says GOD. And I am almost as good as Coyote. ' ' ‘ dmeofa dog. 11 sa 5 Flrst Woman. You renun I ' . :Urid jyiist lio we keep things straight, says that GOD, this 15 world and this is my garden. I myYour garden, says First Woman. You must be dreaming. And that one takes a big bite of one of those nice red apples. ' - hat GOD. Don’t eat my mce 1ed apples, says I’ll just have a little of this chicken, 1f I may, says Old Cogote. Your apples! says First Woman, and she gives a nice re ap~ le to Ahdamn. ' P Yes says that GOD, and that one waves his hands around. , i All this stuff is mine. I made it. {68} and all that food company.” News to me, says First Woman. But there’s plenty of good stuff here. We can share it. You want some fried chicken? “Fried chicken!" says Coyote. “That certainly looks delicious.” “Never mind the chicken,” I says. “We got to see what happens.” What bad manners, says First Woman. You are acting as if you have no relations. Here, have some pizza. First Woman and Ahdanm eat those apples and that pizza and that'fry bread. Old Coyote eats those hot dogs and the melon and the corn. That GOD fellow doesn’t eat anything. He stands in the garden with his hands on his hips, so eyerybody can see he is angry. Anybody who eats my stuff is going to be very sorry, says that GOD. There are rules, you know. I didn’t eat anything, says Old Coyote. Christian rules. Iwas just loo ‘ 'g'around. Is that chicken I see hanging out of your mouth? says that GOD. No, no,/says Old Coyote. It must be my tongue. Sometimes it looks like chicken. What a stingy person, says First Woman, and that one packs her bags. Lots of nice places to live, she says to Ah— damn. No point in having a grouchy GOD for a neighbor. And First Woman and Ahdamn leave the garden. All the animals leave the garden. Maybe I’ll leave a little later, says Old Coyote. You can’t leave my garden, that GOD says to First Woman. You can’t leaVe because I’m kicking you out. But First Woman doesn’t hear him. She and Ahclamn move west. They go looking around for a new home. “Maybe I should stay in the garden with Old Coyote,” says Coyote. “Somebody should keep that GOD and Old Coyote {69} “We can eat later,” I says. “Right now, We got to catch up with First Woman and Ahdamn. ” ' So First Woman and Ahdanm go west and they look all over and pretty soon they find a really nice canyon and at the bot— tom of the canyon are a bunch of dead rangers. Oh, 011, says First Woman to Ahdamn. Here we go again. And she is right. There is that canyon. And there are those dead rangers. What are we going to do with all these dead rangers? says Ahdamn. I Better yet, says First Woman, what are we going to do with all those live rangers? What live rangers? says Ahdamn. First Woman is right. Pretty quick a big bunch of live rangers ride into the canyon. All of those live rangers have guns. ‘ Yes, says those live rangers. We are live rangers, and we have guns. Now what are we going to do? says Alhdarnn. Maybe we should have stayed in the garden. 50, those rangers ride up, and those rangers look all around. They look at the canyon. They look at the dead rangers. They look at First Woman. They look at Ahdamn. Say, they says, Who killed these dead rangers? Who killed our friends? ' Beats me, says First Woman. Maybe it was Coyote. “Ah, excuse me,” says Coyote. “I was asleep at the time.” “What time was that?” I says. “When were the rangers killed?” says Coyote. It looks like the work of Indians, says those live rangers. Yes, they all say together. It looks just like the work of Indians. And those rangers look at First Woman and Ahdamn. {70} ' Definitely Indians, says one of the rangers, and the live rangers point their guns at First Woman and Ahdanm. Just a minute, says First Woman, and that one takes some black cloth out of her purse. She cuts some holes in that black cloth. She puts that black cloth around her head. Look, look, all the live rangers says, and they point their fingers at First Woman. It’s the Lone Ranger. Yes, they says, it is the Lone Ranger. ' That’s me, says First Woman. Hooray, says those rangers, you are alive. That’s me, says First Woman. Boy, says one of the live rangers, that’s good news. Fll just shoot this Indian for you. No, no, says First Woman. That’s my Indian friend. He helped save me from the rangers. You mean the Indians, don’t you? says those rangers. That’s right, says First Woman with the mask on. His name is Tonto. That’s a stupid name, says those rangers. Maybe we should call him Little Beaver or Chingachgook or Blue Duck. No, says First Woman, his name is Tonto. Yes, says Ahdamn, who is holding his knees from hanging together, my name is Tonto. Okay, says those rangers, but don’t say we didn’t try to help. And they gallop off, looking for Indians and buffalo and poor people and other good things to kill. “What happened to that GOD?” says Coyote. “He’s still in the garden,” I says. ' “He’s missing all the fun,” says Coyote. “That’s the truth,” I says. Boy, says First Woman, that was close. And she takes off the mask. Yes, says Ahdamn. But who is Tonto? {71} Just then, some soldiers come along, and be fore First Woman can put on her ranger mask, those soldiers g-rab First Woman and Alidarrm. I You are under arrest, says those soldiers. What’s the charge, says First Woman. Being Indian, says those soldiers. Not another adventure, says Ahdamn. Yes, says First Woman, and it looks like a one, too. very nice day for THE TROUBLE HAD STARTED IN THE SPRING, seven years before. There had been a blight and all the ehn trees in the garden had died. Even the huge oak that stood at the center of the grounds had been affected. Several large branches had turned gray, and though the tree was still alive, the leaves were sparse and dull. - It had grieved Dr. Hovaugh to watch the men in yellow uni- \ forms with their silver and purple chain saws slice each of the f- elms into short, round blocks and cart them away. The branches were fed into a square leaf green machine and ground into , Sawdust. It made a terrible wailing noise. The stumps were ripped out of the ground, and in two days you could hardly tell that the elms had ever been there. New trees, thin and fragile, were brought in to complete the illusion, but the death of the old trees, which were almost as old as the garden itself, left Dr. Hovaugh burdened with inexplicable remorse and guilt. “Dr. Hovaugh, Sergeant Cereno is here to see you.” Dr. Hovaugh pressed the button on the intercom and, -_braced himself behind the desk, hooking his feet under the .'_crossbar. “All right, Mary.” He placed his hands on the desk, ffolded his fingers together, consciously willed his shoulders to ._ drop. “Show him in.” {.73} ...
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King_Green_Grass_Running_Water_1 - GREEN GRASS, d0 RUNNING...

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