THE SOUL OF BLACK LAND
Episode Three: A Hard Man or a Man Fit to Endure Hardness?
(Dashurai has a few weeks under his belt now. Man he would like to. He is pushing to know more. Dashurai knows that what he doesn’t know is waiting for him in the new territories. ‘SHOSHONE’ lands I heard haven’t even been plotted he remembered overhearing the White men speak about. Dashurai knows he is just as much a dreamer and future thief because he wants a piece of this land for himself. A land in which he didn’t have a choice to journey to, but he is here now and that’s it.
Dashurai is more careful now to catch his tendency to daydream about that future that he wants. He recalls a memory from his mother in those waking moments. A vision that his mother is running towards him with a look of disappointment on her face. Dashurai laughs to himself as he knows what this vision means because it seems to be a recurring event. An open handed slap that he knows will land across the left side of his head and face will knock him back to the moment. Dashurai says to himself every time this happens, ‘Thank you Ma’Rai’.
Enduring the times means not just living in them, but turning them to what they could be as the life you want for yourself. The Gods know Dashurai misses his mother. Her council kept at bay all the evil that swooped, swirled, dived down from the sky and up from the dark. Dashurai is responsible now. Dashurai, he says to himself, ‘must be strong of mind to scare off those forces of evil and despair.
Dashurai will always face this battle. This battle for his soul knowing he must win it. His thoughts begin to turn to helping others with their fears and uncertainty. ‘I know I am strongest now’, Dashurai says. I will help those who need help until they can fend for themselves as my Ma’Rai admonished me.
The truth Dashurai tells himself now is this, ‘there will not come a day of relief of that burden for me’. All those long days as a child before fortune found him. Before Ma Rai said ‘You will have a glorious life John’. ‘That is how it should be’, he says, ‘because strength of will must be used because strength itself has decided on him’. Time now to locate that trail. Time to endure on.).
Dashurai: (The wagon train has reached the edge of SHOSHONE territory. The first town, in the middle of this land grab, is perhaps a few days ride still. Let’s get on with it.). I’ve got to meet with the men to gather their thoughts on who is going to go further than the town we should hit in the coming days. (Dashurai is standing behind some trees discussing what are the next steps with Cleavur and Lissqui.).
Cleavur: Dashurai (John) I know your men are uncertain about what comes after this wagon train.
Dashurai: Wait, all ‘my’ men exist in a world that will never if that day ever comes, treat them like equal men. Are you telling me you don’t know what kind of ‘men’ I’m driving on this little trip?
Cleavur: None of them are truly free men. Don’t you know that?
Lissqui: Cleavur, we started this journey looking for different days than all those same days we’ve been living for over 2 decades now. You are the one that said we ‘need’ a change. Something that opens us up to testing our skills beyond what you and I think of each other. Cleavur, didn’t you say that testing our ‘wits’ only in our circle won’t prove anything until the circle is broken.
Cleavur: I know that!
Lissqui: No, that is all it is. Shit kicking it on a plantation with slaves who may I say won’t be slaves forever. Don’t look so shocked Cleavur. Even you remember all the stories we had to sit through from our father about Moses in the Bible. Our father was as stupid as all the rest of those dumbass bastards visiting him smelling like stale booze and week old outhouse.
Cleavur: My sister. Always talking out of turn. I must say your ‘mouth’ is cutting.
Lissqui: What? You think your little sister trusts her brother with her life? You really believe anybody associated with slavery is trustworthy to me? My future? I suggest you start thinking a little bit quicker and stop saying you already have because you sound stupid.
Dashurai: She’s right Cleavur. We all made a pact to receive counsel from each other. It seems Lissqui is keeping up with us step for step, and might even be running pass one of us in the ‘thanking’ area.
Cleavur: Oh, so I need to take a look around and realize where I am right? Maybe I’ve been talking to Mr. Vaterborne a little too much. His air of superiority seems to have my clothes smelling like stale booze and week old outhouse. Let alone the ease to which he’s had the run of things.
Dashurai: You’re thinking better just that quickly I see. Remember what you said Cleavur. You said, ‘We’re not riding out to a new life looking across at country bumpkins’. Isn’t that what you said?
Cleavur: Yes I did.
Dashurai: C’mon then man, do I need to look after you?
Cleavur: No. No. You two have the point now. I got to be alert when I’m not pulling my weight. Let the one who has a better handle on the situation in front of us take the lead. I know that. I got it. Apologies.
Lissqui: Step it up brother. We are all we have. Are you with us now?
Cleavur: Yes, I am with you now.
Dashurai: Okay, I’m going to meet with the other colored men and figure out who is going farther beyond the first town if a lot of the southerners decide to put down roots there. I’ll let you both know how many.
Lissqui: Good Dash, I’ll figure out what’s there in this town when we get to it. From what troubles they have with the Natives, good and bad, and what that means to supplies and riders coming through.
Cleavur: While you do that I’ll figure out if the wealthy with money are going to stay or keep traveling westward. If some do I’ll let you both know so we can decide to stay put or move on with them.
Dashurai: I think we have a plan.
—————————–On That Trail————————————
(Dashurai is meeting with the colored security to gauge what their plans are. Would they stay in this town or move on with the wagon train. Dashurai knows he needs to open a new frontier. A new frontier out West and also a frontier of his choosing now that he knows he will have to fight, literally and figuratively, for his freedom to remain his. Ahuudo has proven himself worthy of his help. Dashurai knows what helping another former slave in these cruel times means. ‘FOE WITH RIGHT’, that phrase he will use the rest of his days keeps his feet solidly on the ground. Ma’Rai told this to her son to speak. Speak a phrase that will swiftly get your head back on straight when you feel yourself being pulled into the world of the slave masters.
Ma’Rai said, ‘Don’t just do something because somebody has done it to you. Believe in what’s right, or you will be subject to the same judgment as them’. Dashurai has seen what slave masters do to their ‘property’ and he wonders when will this judgment come that his mother so softly spoke about. Dashurai falls into a space and time he remembers as ‘a time of imagination’. The stories his mother told him are what holds him in a captive audience. Stories that took his mind off the horrors happening in a country that said it was native after ‘God’s own heart’. Surely, this was as true as a slave master paying wagers or treating his slaves with dignity.
Dashurai remembers the stories word for word from his mother. Maybe Ahuudo will be able to save his woman, or maybe he will go back there and find her dead or worse sold to another slave master. Dashurai doesn’t have much hope in the first thought being true, but he does hope Ahuudo finds his woman wherever she is. ‘Don’t doubt ‘First Father’ John (Dashurai)’, his mother would say repeatedly. You must always believe in joy being alive in someone. When you find it just try to keep it alive, even if you never have joy for yourself.
Dashurai says, my Ma’Rai, never one to doubt her ‘First Father’.)
Ahuudo: Dashurai, is this the end of our job?
Dashurai: I don’t know if it’s the end for all the settlers. Maybe some will continue on West as far as they can. I heard there is a sea out there where the land ends too.
Ahuudo: Well, where there’s water there will be people or settlers as you say. This is as far as I can ride with you brother.
Dashurai: (Dashurai is stunned at the sound of that word directed towards him. He isn’t sure if he’s ready to call Ahuudo brother, but he is certain about helping him get his woman.). You have supported me like a brother Ahuudo and I thank you for that. Listen, I know your heart is clear on what you must do in short order, but let’s stay with the wagon train until we reach the town ahead, then I’ll take leave of my arrangement with Mr. Cleavur and Ms. Lissqui and help you get your woman.
Ahuudo: You want to help me do that. Why?
Dashurai: You had colored people you didn’t know help you stay alive I’m sure. What I can tell that a strong will comes at people when they’re around you, so I know you never took much if any mess from the White man.
Ahuudo: That you are right about.
Dashurai: (Now those skills are coming into play.). I got it brother. My reasons for helping you are the same, but I don’t go on posse rides. We are not the law. My help comes with conditions.
Ahuudo: What are conditions?
Dashurai: One condition is I don’t go anywhere to die, so if you’re just looking to go back there swinging at anybody that gets in your way I’m telling you now you don’t need my help.
Ahuudo: That sounds like what I had in mind. I want to hear more of your conditions.
Dashurai: (Stunned again by Ahuudo’s relaxing anger Dashurai continues his conditions.). In order to ‘get’ your woman back in one piece we need to know the people we might face when we locate her. Meaning how many hired hands this slave master his in his employ. When we know that we can create a strategy to get her out of there.
Ahuudo: You want to know where I last seen her and what is the slave master like?
Dashurai: Right. Then we can see if the two of us will be enough, or do we need to hire more help to get your woman back.
Ahuudo: I can tell you what I know.
Dashurai: Good, I’ll write it down then.
Ahuudo: You can write?
Dashurai: I can and I will teach you and whoever else wants to learn. I mean if they come with us when we go back to get her.
Ahuudo: Much I will owe you. Much that I cannot repay Dashurai.
Dashurai: I don’t like hearing you say that. Owing me money. I swore an oath. I made a promise to Ma’Rai. She told me this. ‘When you find joy in the heart of someone. Someone that loves and is loved. Just do your best to keep it alive’. I’ve earned money and will always earn money, but I don’t need money sometimes. Sometimes I need to be around joy and happiness. I need to see it for myself to know it is still in this world.
Ahuudo: Thank you brother.
————————–The Quest for Joy—————————-
(It is decided that Dashurai, Ahuudo, Cleavur and 8 of the colored men will travel back down South to help with this task. Dashurai has learned the name by which Ahuudo calls his woman. ‘Syghi’ pronounced ‘Sigh Gee’. What does it means Dashurai asks Ahuudo? It means to be blessed by the presence of her soulful beauty.
That is a good name to be called upon to read stories to children. I wonder does Ahuudo plan to have children. Well it’s none of my business if they want to have children. In any case a lot happened when they reached the town of ‘Stakeville’. I guess that was a play on words that meant to be a joke to the natives. Not a very funny one Dashurai thinks when you consider this is a continual trend. Stealing land by law and deception must be a way of life for this new country.).
Cleavur: (During a planned stop before crossing into the deep South. Cleavur and Dashurai discuss their plan with Ahuudo and the 8 other colored men that decided to come along on this little ‘rescue’ quest.). Ahuudo, I’ve got to have solid information on who this plantation owner is before I approach him offering to buy some of his slaves.
Ahuudo: He is your typical slave owner. Most think they’re right by White. He the White man. He makes the rules. Therefore as the White man rules everyone else obeys. That’s it. I wish I could offer a more clear picture for you.
Dashurai: (Dashurai is pleased for Ahuudo. Ahuudo is a quick learner which tracks what Dashurai always thought. Colored folks are just as smart as anybody else.). Good Ahuudo. We can use that. We can play to this White man’s ego.
Ahuudo: What happens when he says no?
Dashurai: Be ready to act, but act in a smart way. Don’t just look to kill or maim. A tool that could be just as effective is putting the fear of getting hurt or killed in a ‘master’s head’. (Dashurai sees the look of confusion on Ahuudo so he explains what he means by putting the fear of God in someone’s head). Scary moments are there for us to use too Ahuudo.
Ahuudo: Oh, I think I’m beginning to understand. Like when they threaten us with the whip or the gun. Whatever they can use to ‘harm’ us you say?
Dashurai: Right. In order for us to turn the fortunes to our favor we got to take some things back from them they’ve always had.
Ahuudo: What’s that?
Dashurai: Their absolute power of life and death over our lives. Think on it if you must, but now is not the time to waste on what was taken or lost. We got to narrowly focus on the simple task before us. We focus on getting Syghi back by price first. If that doesn’t sway Mr., what is the name of the slave master?
Ahuudo: Joseph Sceaturnds. I think he says it this way. ‘Sea’turns’, like the water moved to brings waves of fortune to the steps of his plantation. Yeah, that look, he fashions himself to be a religious man.
Dashurai: Good, good. We can use that. Look bro, this might be destined to get violent and messy, but I need you to keep your cool in the middle of it. I mean. Don’t get too emotional until after it’s over. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
Ahuudo: Yeah, don’t have eyes in the bedroom until the ‘front porch’ is built.
Dashurai: What? Where did that saying come from?
Ahuudo: It came from Ja’Nee. My mother, she said it. She told me, repeatedly, ‘Before you can have a home, you got to know where you will stand when looking out at the world’. I just made it simple. The ‘Front Porch’.
Dashurai: It is true then. ‘A man has to know on what ground he will stand, good or bad, so when the rain comes the water doesn’t wash him away along with the rest of the dirt’.
Ahuudo: Ah, dirt. I know ‘dirty’ is what we are about to get.
(Dashurai, Cleavur, and Ahuudo are shaping up to be quite a posse. Well the Gods know that any posse has to have a leader and a follower or two. This group of freed or former slaves with the help of a White ‘Devil’, just a saying, will know what real consequence and choices come with bucking the system.
Ahuudo is aware of the trouble he has chosen. He is not shaken by the consequences that will follow, but he hopes his woman, Syghi, will come the distance with him. What then? Ahuudo asks himself this question again and again. What will we go to or have from here? We don’t have a home of any kind. We don’t know of the ways of life beyond going out and scrapping for a money off the sweat of our brow.
How will we make a life for ourselves? All we know how to do is get out there in the field and work all the day long. Maybe, Ahuudo pauses his thoughts for a long moment, just maybe that will be enough to get us to the other side.
The other side of what he says to himself?).
Coming soon! Episode 4: The Other Side of Nothing