"This is not going to work, Chief."
"Yes, it is. This one is foolproof."
"Are you calling me a fool?"
"Jim, you're bigger, taller, an ex-everything, would I be stupid enough to call you a fool?"
"OW!, That's too tight! Explain this again, Sandburg?"
"You know, this isn't Rocket Science, it's not even VCR programming....."
"So, explain the elastic. How does elastic fit into this?"
"I tie one end here.....See?"
"Uh, uh...and it's too tight."
"Okay, then I tie the other end here....See?"
"This end could definitely be tighter....oh, yeah, like that...uh, Chief? Why purple?"
"Oh. I needed "glow in the dark" and couldn't find any, then I remembered a pair of old purple glow in the dark boxers..."
"This elastic is from a pair of - your - old - boxers?"
(sound of jeans material scraping and rubbing together)
"Jim, stop squirming, man. What's with you?"
"Now you're ready. You do understand the dynamics here, right?"
"Well, VCR's? No problem. Rockets? They go up, they come down. But this? How is this elastic going to improve my performance?"
"Jim? I'm going to say two words: Think Yo-Yo."
"That's three words."
"Two. One is hyphenated.
"Nope, don't get it, Chief."
(deep breath) "Okay. Close your eyes.....good. Now, you did play with yo-yo's when you were growing up, right?"
"Well, then, where was one end of the string?"
"On my index finger."
"And the other end?"
"On the yo-yo."
"And when you let go of the yo-yo, what happened?"
"It came back.....oh. Got it."
"So now, when I drop my gun...."
"It comes right back to you. See?"
"Cool, Chief, cool."
(sound of metal bouncing off the floor)
"Hey, this is fun! I wonder.....can I do "walk the dog?"
Series episode #2:
"Chief, we gotta talk."
"Jim, it's "Von Ryans Express" here..."
"It's important, Sandburg."
"There's been some talk at the station, Chief, and....well.....we've got to make some changes."
"Am I losing my observer pass?"
"Hell, no. Nothing like that."
"Well, I'm stumped. What's the talk and what do we have to change?"
"Ummm, the talk? It's about us..."
"Jim? College graduate here, I naturally assumed the talk was about us...since we have to change...duh."
"You're not making this any easier."
"There seems to be a lot of talk, well, speculation, really, about our...relationship."
(silence and patient waiting)
"It seems....you touch me too much. And this, touching...has given rise to the idea that you and I......are....you know."
"Are you being deliberately thick here, Sandburg?"
"So. Because I touch you all the time, you touch me almost as much, because you always invade my space and I live in yours...everyone suddenly thinks we're lovers?" "Succinctly put."
"And this just now started? I mean, we've been "living" together for three years come March 20th...."
"Three years? Hadn't realized....I mean, seems like just yesterday......"
"Yeah, well, time flies when you're having fun...which explains why the last five minutes just crawled into the millennium..."
(long pause, uncomfortable)
"So, Jim. Do you have a problem with people thinking that we're lovers?"
"Not for me....I worry about you. I don't want anyone harassing you."
"Jim, look at me. I'm short. I wear my hair long. I wear earrings. I wear native jewellery. I'm a science geek. Get the picture?"
(silence. Long "longing" look)
"Jim? What are you staring at?"
"Just you......So. You're not bothered by the talk?"
"No. But if it hurts you...endangers your career."
"This isn't going to hurt me. And I know how you are....you're a touch/feely kinda guy. You touch everyone."
"Let's review a little history here, okay?"
"Yeah, Sandburg/Ellison history."
"Whatever. Here goes. How much did I touch Christine?"
"I assume you mean outside of...."carnal knowledge"?"
"Couple of hugs? Some kisses?"
"Maya? And there was no carnal knowledge, Jim."
(long surprised pause)
"Jim, snap out of it....I don't have sex with every woman I date."
"Do you date every woman you have sex with?"
(hurt pause...followed by very angry pause)
(deceptively sweet tone) "Jim? Do you remember your twenties?"
(long, embarrassed pause)
"So....you were asking about Maya...couple of hugs, couple of kisses."
"How about Molly?"
"Now I know you had...carnal knowledge with her."
"Twice. And we're not talking..."
"Yeah, yeah....lots of hugging, kissing and handholding."
(exasperated whine) "Jim, think back. Who did most of the what to whom?"
(thud....pace. pace. pace)
"I do seem to recall...she was pretty...forward? Pretty touch-feely herself."
"Thank you. But I'm charging you $75 for that extraction!"
"Now, how about Sam?"
"Touched her in self-defence, Chief?"
"I've got one for you....your little pick-up drug dealer....I personally believe "she" jumped your bones five minutes after she met you."
(granite hard silence)
"Okay, Chief....did you "voluntarily" touch her at all?"
"Yeah, when I held her at gunpoint....and then when I stuffed her in the trunk.....that was fun!"
"Jim, before I move on....are you seeing a pattern here?"
"Not yet, but I'm sure you're not going to let me sleep until I do...."
(deep long sigh)
"Okay, Jim. How about Henri?"
"Henri! You dated Henri!"
"You don't touch Henri....but he can't keep his hands off of you!"
(sound of surprised breath being expelled)
"Oookkkaay....how about Rafe?"
"You bumped him once. Slapped him on the back...But he's always getting his hands in your hair."
(rapid eye blinking)
"This is fun Chief...let me do one....How about Simon?"
"Hey! That pillow could have poked an eye out here!"
"Okay, Jim, have it your way....what about Simon?"
"Well, you've patted his arm...tried to hug him...you know...I really "don't" like the way he looks at you when he thinks I'm not looking."
(wsh-wsh) *This denotes a very exasperated shake of one guides head.
"How about Joel?"
"Playful punches....couple of hugs. You know, Joel is the only one I'd allow to babysit."
"Babysit? Babysit who?"
"You of course....uh....uh,oh....I mean...I *didn't* mean.....NOT THAT VASE!"
(sound of one large man clammering away from one smaller man and the larger man running up stairs)
"Jim, so help me...."
"I can hear you up here."
"Jim...you think about all this...and when 2 + 2 finally equals 4....well, you know where I sleep."
(sound of muttering)
"Jim, I'm not a sentinel....I *can't* hear you."
"WE STILL HAVEN'T SOLVED THE PROBLEM AT THE STATION!"
"Jim, there isn't a problem at the station."
"Steady there, Chief. Don't want you to fall."
"Jim, I'm sitting down. You're the one standing and swaying."
"Chief? How did you get down there?"
(sound of scratching head)
"I think I just....folded my legs."
"Bend your knees now....that's it...now lower your butt...."
(thud and squish)
"You didn't tell me the grass was wet."
"Jim, it's 2:30 in the morning...this is Cascade, Washington, Pacific Northwest...and January."
"How long should we sit here, Chief?"
"I'm staying until they fix the elevator."
"Yeah, or until the stairs stop looking like Mt. Everest. And their crooked. We could get lost."
"I noticed that. Very crooked. And did you notice? They would go up...then down?"
"Yeah, I think it was trick photography."
"We should sue."
"Yep. Everyone knows stairs should go straight. Up. Or. Straight. Down."
"Think we had too much to drink?"
"We're sitting outside our building, on cold, wet grass at 2:30 in the morning because some stupid architect can't build stairs. No, we didn't have too much to drink, Jim."
"Simon had to drive us home."
"Because your truck had too much to drink."
(several minutes later.)
"Chief, why do you wear your hair long?"
"We're talking about my hair?"
"Well, Joyce couldn't keep her hands out of it tonight."
(sound of real hard thinking)
"Don't think so, Jim. I'd remember if I had a date with someone named Joyce."
"Then who was in your hair?"
(sound of even harder thinking)
"No one. Except you."
"So, why is your hair long?"
"Cause I don't cut it?"
"Cause I don't want to?"
"Cause I want it long?"
"Jim, have you ever been around three year olds?"
"When you drink, you regress. About 37 years."
"Why do you have long hair?"
"Because of my grandfather."
(sound of hard sentinel thinking)
"You have a grandfather?"
"Had. Had a grandfather. Have a wet butt."
"You had a grandfather? I thought you said Naomi's parents died before you were born?"
"I'd still have had a grandfather."
"I must be really drunk. How could a dead man influence you?"
"Not that dead grandfather. The grandfather who was alive first."
"But died last?"
(wh-wh) *Denotes a buzzed cut sentinel shaking his head in confusion.
"I've lived with you way too long....I understood that. Wait! A second grandfather who lived first and died last means you had a father!"
"Thought that was a given. Test tubes. After my time."
"This means you know who your father was."
"Yes, since I was about ten years old."
(long silence. Very long)
"So then....all that talk about who your father could have been..."
"No one knows I know."
"Naomi doesn't know?"
"That I know? No. She knows tho'."
"I have a very cold butt here, my head is splitting, you're looking like a mexican jumping bean and you're not moving....Naomi knows what?"
"Who my father is."
"He's my grandfather...and my grandfather is my great-grandfather and *he's* the reason I have long hair."
"Crystal clear, Chief. Just two questions: Why do you have long hair and who is your father?"
"My father is Chief Sam Running Bear. My grandfather is George Two Feathers. Mom met Joe Standing Elk and she joined him on the reservation."
"Who's Joe Standing Elk?"
"Sandburg, your life is a soap opera."
"No, that would be Naomi. All I do is follow the Sentinel of The Great City around all day."
"How's your headache, Sentinel?"
"Twisted. How did this elk guy get to be your brother if your mom was dating him?"
"Naomi fell in love with Running Bear and they had a passionate fling, Elk left the reservation and died in Nam, I was born and....."
"And?" (gently prodding)
"And Running Bear won't acknowledge me... he....hates me."
"How did you find out?"
"Mom loved the reservation and she loved Two Feathers like a father....when I need....when we needed a place...she took us there and we stayed with Two Feathers. I was about six."
"Chi...Sandburg, maybe we should try those stairs...you're shivering. How about we finish this inside?"
"Guess we shouldn't sue after all."
"No. Those stairs really straightened out. Miracle of modern science, hey Chi...Blair."
(sound of wood falling into fireplace and spitting as moisture and heat collide)
"Good idea, the fire. And you don't have to stop calling me Chief."
"I...it must have bothered you all this time?"
"No, I lov...like it when you call me that. Floored me the first time you used it tho'....People sometimes say....if I have indian blood or something...Personally, I don't see it."
"Actually, you're very exotic looking....I mean.. umph...harumph...so, you went to the reservation?"
"Oh, yeah, anyway...we stayed with Two Feather...he was one of the most incredible men I've ever met. Taught me everything...about man and nature.....how they must co-exist, how we have to respect the earth, that it's a living thing...he spent hours with me..we'd walk.. And sit..he was the only one who could get me to sit still. I'd sit and listen to him for hours. I loved him."
"What about Running Bear?"
"He never looked at me..never talked to me...he was ashamed of me...I didn't understand at first...but I was used to that kind of thing...most men didn't have much time for a bouncing, inquisitive, non-stop talking six year old. Of course, the first time we were there....I had a broken arm...not so talkative...not so bouncy. But lets face it...I was never a normal kid."
(sound of snapping fingers)
"Falling out of that tree!"
"I never fell out of any tree. Never even climbed a tree until that magpie nest with you."
(sound of crackling fire and material sliding over a body)
"Warmer now, Chief?"
"So, how did you break your arm?"
"You were in Little League?"
"Michael Sandburg. My stepfather. From January, 1976 to June, 1976. Naomi left him in June....after he left me on top of a silo...wanted to make a man out of me."
(sound of body jumping to their feet...pacing)
"Jim hitting the wall won't help....it was a long time ago...Jim? Oh, man...dial it down...come on Jim?"
(sound of another body rising, refrigerator door opening, ice tinkling.)
"Jim, come on back to the couch, put this ice pack on it."
"He hit you with a bat?"
"Threw it. I didn't duck. Told mom I fell out of that tree. Two weeks later...the silo. Said a man could get down...and if I was gonna be a man....I could climb down. I wasn't and I didn't."
"You were six years old. How long Blair? How long were you up there?"
"Paramedics said 7 hours."
"Heights. That's why you're afraid of heights."
"How could Naomi...Blair, what else did he do?"
"Mom didn't know...she was working two jobs...he lost his. I didn't tell her...he mostly just picked on me....threw things. Never actually touched me.....never touched me ever...no hugs, pats...nothing."
"You should have seen me afterwards....You'd have been amazed....I didn't say a word for weeks...scared mom to death...that's when we went to the reservation....playing one day...running around the house, Two Feathers house....saw mom and Running Bear....heard them..she was asking him to acknowledge me...he said no, there was too much shame. He said if she told anyone, he would deny it. I ran to Two Feathers....he helped me....got me to talk again...haven't stopped since...." (chuckle)
"Why did you keep the name?"
"He adopted me...before he found out I was such a nerd. Too much hassle, she just left it alone."
"Why haven't you told Naomi?"
"Why? No need to hurt her. She had fun coming up with all the wild possibilities....gave me a wild streak...."
"He was a fool. You know that don't you?"
"Years of therapy, man, years of therapy." (chuckling again)
"Oh, yeah. Two Feathers spent a lot of summers teaching me the way of the warrior...I'd let my hair start growing about May and let it grow through my summers with him, then cut it in the Fall."
"Why cut it?"
"Jim? I had enough problems? Okay? (snicker) But in 1981...Two Feathers died. And.....I let it grow. I wanted to be a warrior for him...brave and strong...Okay, I was silly looking...how many indian braves have curly hair? Never could get a decent braid going....And when I hit puberty?"
"Ah, yes. Chest hair?"
"Yeah, made a silly looking indian. So I kind of adapted a little of this, a little of that....for him."
(long companionable silence)
"I think you make a great looking indian, Chief. And you're one hell of a warrior."
"Hung over warrior."
"It's Saturday....we can sleep in."
(sound of gentle snoring)
"Good night, warrior chief."
(sound of footsteps going upstairs)
Finis til next series.