Friday, October 22, 2010

Dust of the Earth, chapter 21

Welcome to the continuing serialized version of Phantom Limbs' bassist Jim Parks' novel, Dust Of The Earth, a Tucson story about Tucson history, mystery, other worlds, desert mojo, forbidden love, and the fledgling Tucson music scene... (c) by Jim Parks, reprinted with permission

When we last left, our narrator was growning anxious being out in the wildness, as the embers of his campfire died out...what dangers lay out there?

Chapter 21
Caveman with bone

I reached and felt the religious medal that Ana Socorro had given me - St. John of God, patron saint of book peddlers and unfettered love. How comical -- and how touching. A.C. had said that the medal would guide me. And indeed, I began to feel my thoughts guided - to earlier in the day, Ana Socorro in her two-piece swim suit, her curves, her smile - not lascivious, just open and receptive. Responding to these images, I reached down and felt myself, wondering if I could squeeze one off without disturbing Ehmet. I decided no. But I felt a little better, lying there thinking of Ana Socorro, imagining that her thoughts were with me at this moment, as mine were with her. I wondered if cavemen on hunting trips had fallen asleep like this, their members in their hands, allaying fears of the night with thoughts of their mates back home - Venus figurines around their necks instead of St. John of God.
I was just beginning to fall asleep when I was startled by a loud noise near our campsite. I had never heard this sound in nature - but anyone who has watched TV commercials for the eponymous motor vehicle would recognize it - it was the roar of a cougar, or mountain lion as we called them.  I heard another roar, this time in a different direction from the first one. I poked my head out of my sleeping bag and looked around. A nearly full moon was illuminating our surroundings with a dim silvery light.

Ehmet was already out of his bag, squatting on his haunches, scanning our perimeter. He tilted his head back and appeared to be sniffing the air. I sat up and started to get out of my bag, but Ehmet motioned to me to stay where I was - I didn't require much convincing. The big Indian bolted off in the direction of the bluffs behind us, and the last I could make out of his form, he was skirting the bluffs, heading uphill towards Thumb Rock. He moved like an animal, quick and graceful.

I felt chills up and down my back, and I began to shiver. Wiggling back down into my sleeping bag, I zipped the top flap over my head. I knew that the bag would provide me no protection - I was lying there like a burrito - but I had reverted to a child-like mentality, hiding under the covers from scary monsters. I tried to master my fears and think the situation through. What did I know about mountain lions?

 To Be Continued....

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