to Joshua's thirst, they drive to a bar called The Wounded Knee for
buffalo burgers and beer.
is where we want to go," said Josh, rubbing his hands together, face flushed
and red like a tomato. Thomas pushed his hands deep into his coat pockets,
straightened his Robertson hunting tartan and took a deep breath, intestinal
fortitude waning. He wasn't crazy about going into an Indian bar wearing a
kilt, but an occasion deserves an extra effort.
I didn't ask before but if you're tired and want to go to mine to mellow-out,
then that's groovy." He can see the gravity of exhaustion creeping into his
joints but Thomas shook his head.
not everyday my brother becomes a real sundancer. Seriously, that was fantastic
what I saw today. Those buffalo skulls!"
"Thanks Tommy. You know that means a lot to me." He
patted him on the shoulder and saw a crossbow in his truck.
"It is. Great piece."
"For when the grid goes down in 2012."
"You really think-"
"When did Noah buld the Ark?"
"Before the flood."
took a table in the corner of the patio and relaxed. The unusual brightness of
the stars caught his eye.
so clear here. In Tokyo the sky is always polluted. I don't think I've seen the
stars like this since I was last in Canada."
a waxing gibbous moon in the prairie big-sky tonight so it should be all
right." He lit two cigarettes, handed one to Thomas as the waitress arrived.
Indian, long scar along her temple.
here he is. My twin brother Thomas."
one you keep talking about?" Her hand to her mouth, Charlotte put her tray down
and looked closer at the mythical brother. "Let me have a look. I never-"
She stared wide-eyed and smiled, revealing a stadium of perfect teeth. Her
bashful look made him feel at ease.
to have you here Thomas. Rainbow Thunderbird's brother - twin
brother." Cheeks flushed, teeth like pillars of the Parthenon.
Charlotte. Poor guy's thirsty from all that flying. Straight from Hong Kong you
know. Any specials on tonight?"
never a special, but I could extend happy hour just for the two of you - as a
way of welcoming you home." Missed the way Josh was friendly and
good-hearted with everyone. "He speaks of you all the time. Half the people
here don't believe he even has a twin." He saw surprise in Josh's eyes.
I'll have a Hoegaarten if you have it."
drink the same beer too?"
Nice one. Make that two." She snuck a look back at them as she walked through
leaned back, flung his long hair off his forehead and stretched his legs out.
Two blood stains were on his shirt, scar across his eye pink, eyeglass lense
twice as thick as the other. Thomas rubs his eye, his stitches recently
removed, the opposite eye to Joshua's.
"I should have worn a red shirt like yours," said Josh.
did it hurt?"
"No, not really. It's intense but they hurt now."
"So you have four lines of scars down your chest, in
"Those are no big deal but the new ones on the back of my
shoulders are hurting."
"Dragging the buffalo skulls is optional. Not every
sundancer is required to do it."
"Because what you're doing is purifying the sins of your
family through your own suffering." A bolt of guilt jolted Thomas in the solar
plexus. "But you have to make it around the Tree of Life. Otherwise you aren't
worthy to purge the sins."
"Exactly. All your sins are gone."
"Because I love you, man. You're my twin brother."
His eyes clouded with water; fatigue was affecting his heart. Usually stoic to
the point of having a wooden heart.
"Thanks Josh. You know, you're so...so un-"
"I know Tommy. I am."
"And I'm such a selfish bugger."
"I wouldn't say that. You're on your own life path,
that's all." For a moment the thought of his life in Japan made him sick. "Do
"No, I don't. Not anymore. I guess the novelty has worn
"You can always come back." He looked away, his arm
working hard on his legs.
"That's one thing we don't have over there."
"Welcome to Manitoba. The mosquito is our national bird."
"Yeah, why don't we?"
tables and chairs missing arms, the beer posters on the walls were stained from
smoke, but the smell of stale beer brought Thomas back to his university days
is that?" he asked, pointing above the bar. He ignored people gawking at his
Kokopelli - the Indian God of Mischief."
"Quite a hairpiece."
"Yes, a unique hat." They kept drinking Hoegaarten that
Charlotte placed in front of them as if it was against the law to be sitting in
front of an empty pint glass.
why wouldn't people believe you have a twin brother?" It was Thomas's turn to
stretch out his legs and open his jacket.
twins are highly respected in Indian culture. Almost every creation story among
the Indian tribes has something about twins." Remy placed his cigarette pack on
the table. "Twins are always depicted as heroes who overcome great odds to
protect people from disaster, and illustrate the duality in life. Twins are
used to show that everything exists in balance - good and evil, light and dark,
Father Sky and Mother Earth."
I ask you-"
exactly are you studying that you couldn't get from a book?"
thought you would ask that." He took a drink before he answered. "You know I'm
studying the spiritual beliefs of the First Nations people, but instead of
learning from a book I'm learning from one of the most respected Elders in
know, I know. This may sound weird but I'm learning how to increase my
spiritual powers. First I learn how to open my chakras so I can get my energy
flowing. Then I can absorb all the negative energy around me. I heal those
weighted down by negative thoughts - that's what I'm learning to do."
people are crippled by resentment. Negative sentience is something I can sense.
And it actually hurts my heart."
hurts us all," he said. "But why do you care?"
want to help others if I can - like a minister of the spirit."
being a human vacuum cleaner?" A feeble attempt at a joke.
know it sounds silly, especially in comparison to your job in Tokyo. But you're
my twin brother so I can say exactly what it is I'm doing. Nurturing positive
energy is man's preferred state of being. He only loses it when he regards
himself as a victim of life's bad bounces, thwarted in noble deed,
caused by a system that doesn't work and relegated to the dog pile of the
embittered and cranky!" He started smiling at the word ‘thwarted.' Thomas
has heard it before but Josh has managed to tailor it in new clothes.
what are you getting out of it?" He wanted to show compassion but couldn't.
Felt as if he were made of wood.
mean the profit?" The word hung, motionless, ugly and unwanted between
them. "I suppose I end up with a greater sense of well being from the knowledge
that I've increased someone's level of happiness. Basically, in the big
picture, I believe all those who can help others should."
OK. I can see that." Thomas, with his short hair and moustache felt cheap,
shallow, not because it was noble but because it had been what he had once
bar had filled up, and Thomas noticed the Indian he had met at the airport.
"Hey, who is that guy at the
bar in the moccassins? I saw him at the airport."
"That's Grandfather's son," he replied,
lighting a smoke. "He doesn't get along with his father that well but I like
him." Thomas told him about the tobacco at the airport and what he said about
being the twin of Rainbow Thunderbird.
always alone," he said, surprised. "I think he's a Wendigo Spirit:
someone who doesn't answer to anyone. He lives by his own rules and won't let
himself be governed by anyone."
Wendigo Spirits are loners who traditionally have lived in the forest."
like you actually."
get me wrong. Wendigos are highly respected and have their own medicine. For
their strategic social orbit they tend to hang out with other Wendigo Spirits."
Mischief in his eye. "I think you're a Wendigo. But I'm not; I'm a shaman."
said it was honor to meet me."
never thought he liked me. Or actually, it's not that he's never liked me it's
just that I don't think he accepts me in the sweat lodge. He's a full-blooded
Indian and I think he's skeptical about me because I'm only Métis, and
for that matter just one-sixteenth Red Indian. I think he's suspicious
of my intentions. But maybe he saw a kindred Wendigo spirit in you."
think I'm a clown?"
no. A sacred clown who operates by his own code." He shruuged his shoulders.
"Anyway, I suppose it proves to him that I do have an identical twin brother.
He didn't believe me for years."
must say, he did seem respectful when we met, especially when he said something
about prophecies." Remy sat up in his chair with his eyes wide open.
did he say exactly about prophecy?"
said something about you having a twin brother and how ‘the prophecies may come
true,' I think." Remy's eyes widened even more.
that's it. Hopi. He said ‘Hopi.'" Remy raised his glass with noticeable zeal,
which softened Thomas's stubborn countenance of indifference.