Pioneer Spirit

Feeling giddy I was up afore the cock crowed. Pa said a boy like me weren’t likely to make such a journey ’cept for once in his lifetime. ’Twas true I was about to see sights my schoolmates hadn’t—a great continent with its wide rivers, bountiful plains, and gigantic mountains.

My good mood weren’t to last, though. Soon as we got to the check-in line, an arrow stuck in Pa’s laptop.

“Indians!”

We circled our roll-on bags right there in the departure suite and returned fire ’til we drove them off. Sure was mighty glad we brought along our Winchester repeating rifles. Darn shame them TSA agents confiscated ’em at security. Had to build a campfire in the departure lounge to keep the cougars and coyotes away. Ma fried up some Johnny cakes. Pa set out some snares and came back with a poppy-seed bagel and cream cheese.

About an hour into the flight Ma started to feel right poorly. Pa ain’t no doctor but he seen enough sick folks to know a case of swamp fever. We tried to make Ma comfortable with the tiny pillow and airline blanket and all. But when we was over Death Valley, she started begging for water. Only we didn’t have no credit cards to buy no beverages or box lunches.

“Hold on, Ma.” Pa held her hand.

I tried to cool her brow with a bandana soaked in urine but it weren’t no good. We asked if there was a preacher on board but there weren’t none. So Pa said a few words from the Good Book afore we laid Ma’s body to rest in the aft galley.

That flight seemed like to last forever what with them tiny seats, Adam Sandler movies, and all. By the time we was over Ohio I’d have rather wrestled a pack of rabid opossums in my long johns that sit through another one. When we made our final approach, we bowed our heads and Pa thanked the All Mighty.

But our trials weren’t over. Pa killed a rattlesnake over by the baggage claim and a masked man with a six-shooter tried to rob us at the Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza. If it weren’t for Pa thinking fast and putting back that Caesar salad, we wouldn’t have made it out of there.

We rounded up a bunch of drovers to carry our bags but one of the mules got washed away in the torrent from a busted water main on the way to the hotel courtesy van.

I’ll never forget my first look at our new home—the Marriott Hotel. It had the prettiest red roof but them big picture windows made us sitting ducks if the Indians decided to attack. Lucky for us there were plenty of trees we could cut down to build proper defenses. Pa said we could do that on the morrow afore planting sorghum on the divider in the parking lot. For now all he wanted to do was set out his bedroll and watch HBO.

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Jon S. Wesick has stories appearing in journals such as Space and Time, Zahir, Tales of the Talisman, Blazing Adventures, Bracelet Charm, Metal Scratches, CC&D, American Drivel Review, The Aphelion Webzine, Lullaby Hearse, Oracular Tree, MiniMAG, SamizDADA, Sunken Lines, Tabard Inn, Tidepools, Today’s Alternative News, and Words of Wisdom. He’s also published close to two hundred poems in small press journals such as The New Orphic Review, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.

Other works by Jon S. Wesick