Chapter Fourteen of Samuel Light, Spiritual Detective: The Shasta Caper, is now posted on www.johnpirillo.com
Samuel Light, Spiritual Detective: The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
Samuel found himself standing at the edge of a frontier town, with a hammer and saw in his hand. The hammer was heavy, a huge piece of wood with a crude piece of metal squashed over the head of the wood. Obviously hand made and forged metal. The saw was very rough, and about four feet long, touching the bare dirt at the foot of his boots.
A very tall man stood over him, looking down his nose at him. "Jebediah, you are not wanted here anymore. Your work stinks. You stink. Get out!"
Samuel found himself answering for the man's body he now inhabited. "But sirs, I have no other way to feed my family. The three of us depend on the money I get...not that it's so much..."
The very tall man grew angrier. "Now you're trying to blackmail me as well!"
"No sirs, not at alls. I just wants to make a living for me and my family. My little girl is hurting, sick, I don't know why and without money to get the pain killer Doc prescribes I'm afraid for her life."
The very tall man shoved his cowboy hat back from his forehead, revealing a nasty scar just below his hairline. It looked like an axe had been taken to it.
"I don't care if the lot of you rot in hell. You're done in my city. In this state. Move back to the hell hole you came from!"
"Sirs, wasn't no hellhole, it was Arkansas's."
"Join the Okies then. See if they want you back!"
"No sirs. They don't like us blacks either."
"You calling me a bigot!" The very tall man cried out.
Now other town citizens were slowing down to watch the argument. A fight was brewing. Many some blood. None of it white.
Samuel felt his heart grow cold. He knew that look. It was why he and his family had moved so many times. Why did people hate people just because they was different? He thought.
Just when it looked like the crowd was ready to hang him, he heard his wife shout for him. "Jebediah, you get your skinny ass over here and help our daughter!"
The crowd burst into laughter when he blushed a deep red. He hurried between them. They actually made way, thinking his wife was going to give him more hell than they ever possibly could. And she could. She was one big Mama. She stood over him by a foot and was built like a barrel of molasses.
He stopped next to her and his daughter was clinging to her right leg, looking pale as a ghost, but frightened as well.
"I'm ah gonna smack you to kingdom come!" She swore at him, winking at the same time so no one could see it.
He backed up, knowing what was going to come next, and she took a punch at him. Just close enough to his stomach so he could feel it, but without it connecting.
He fell to the dirt and screamed in pain.
The crowd burst into laughter.
"Give it to 'em, Big Mama. A cowboy yelled, taking a draw from a liquor bottle afterwards.
Big Mama pretended to kick Jebediah and he flew to his other side, as if struck hard and balled up into a fetal position. "Pulease, Big Mama, don't hurt me any more or I'm gonna die!"
She towered over him, fists on her large hips. "You ever anger these people again and you're gonna wish God was killin' you, cause no mercy will be coming from me, that's fer certains."
She hoisted him up as effortlessly as a sack of potatoes and flung him into the back of their beat up old wagon. She put her daughter beside him, who flung herself over him, wrapping her arms about him, crying.
Big Mama climbed into the driver's seat of the buggy and urged the horse pulling it to hurry off. "Get yer fat ass movin', horse." She cried out.
The town people all cheered, laughed and applauded as they drove off.
He could hear them and it made him fill with so much anger and remorse he felt like he was going to explode.
He put an arm round his daughter, Blinka, and hugged her close. "Don't pays no mind to all this silly business, little one, it's all an act!"
She stopped crying and wrapped her arms around him tigher. He held her close.
Big Mama didn't bother driving home. There was no more home there and she knew it. The town people laughed now, but the very tall man would anger them again and they would come for them, just as they had in the last town. She kept the horse pulling them, until they vanished in the desert sun.
They went on for days that way, not stopping, fearful they were being followed, but luckily they were not. But now they were in another problem. They had no provisions except the potatoes in back Big Mama had bought with his last wages. No water. No vegetables. No grains.
Seven days went like that and he knew they were going to die out there in the desert. Texas was a huge place and plenty of room for graves there. Soon, they reached a semi-covered huddle of rocks and Joshua Trees, and made camp for the last time.
He peeled several potatoes. Their last and squeezed them for liquid to give to their daughter. She had been feverish the last several days. Finally, she looked up into his eyes and smiled. "It's all right, Daddy. I'm going home now. And it's beautiful." She whispered.
He hugged her and cried as she whispered her last breath into his ears.
Big Mama sat on the other side, too weak to move or comfort him or her daughter. She lay down beside her dead daughter and enveloped her in her huge arms. "Is all right, tiny baby, I'm gonna walk right up that sunlit path wit yous."
She closed her eyes and died then too.
He managed enough strength from the remaining two potatoes to bury them with his own hands. On the last day he heard horses coming and looked up from where he lay.
The very tall man rode up on a very large horse and looked down at him."You better pray God has a place for you to stay, because you ain't staying on my lands!"
He hefted a rifle and shot him in the head.
Chapter Fifteen Samuel slumped down beside the outhouse, his head hurting and tears swelling up his eyes. He wept a long time. He had felt all the pain of poor Jebediah and the family. He had felt everything they had went through.
The outhouse was quiet.
Jacob and Jimbo gave him wary looks, then hefted him to his feet.
Samuel nodded. "It's done. I feel suddenly, very, very tired."
Even as they helped him, he collapsed into their arms and went to sleep. An oblivion free of pain and suffering that our world is so deeply immersed in. For a few brief moments he floated in a mist of white light and he saw the family again, but this time he could see Jebediah clearly. They smiled at him. They were at peace. He was at peace.
Then everything faded into darkness.