Logan's Last Day

Logan Miller is a 16 year old Lakota Native American, drowning in abject poverty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Seeking comfort in sex and beer, he pushes through each day, ignoring the pain inside. When he loses his uncle, and guardian, at age 31 to cirrhosis, Logan decides he wants a different way to live, but he doesn't know how to change. His answer comes when he awakes to find he's been given a second chance to live differently. A chance offered in a world called Enova.

Logan is a character in my first novel, "Tenderfoot". This novella is about his life before he arrives in Enova ,and extra scenes about his early days adjusting to life in a world across the universe.
www.abbydrinenwrites.com

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6. Falling In Line

"Okay, let me get this straight, you don't speak English?" I've paused mid chew, and talk with my mouth half full of griddle cake.

"No, I speak Harawak." Ma Fala adds chopped vegetables into a steaming pot.

I chew and swallow my food. A ball of doughy cake gets caught in my throat. I wash it down with cold milk. 

"But it sounds like English," I say.

She tousles my hair, and pours me another full glass of milk. “Yes, and to my ears you’re speaking my language.” A big smile.

“Because of the chip? The computer chip?” I scratch behind my left ear. There’s no bump or line there.

“Yes, a translator chip was inserted into your brain while you were in the Deep Sleep,” she says.

I start choking on mzoo bacon. Ma whacks me on the back until it clears. She is so strong for a woman! Of course, she’s also really tall for a woman, at least the ones where I come from. I’m 6’2”, and she’s got at least three inches on me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to looking up at her.

“You guys stuck this thing in my head while I was sleeping?” I rasp, my neck still tight from choking before.

“It’s perfectly safe, Lovey. We all have them.”

“All Harawak have them?”

“All Enovians have them.” She whisks into the pantry, whistling while she pushes jars aside.

            “It’s a painless procedure,” she calls from the pantry. “We get our chips during infancy.”

“But you didn’t ask my permission. You didn’t get my consent.” I itch the place behind my earlobe where she told me this thing went in. While I was unconscious! The skin under my fingertips begins to burn. I shudder at an image of me, lying naked on a steel table, while aliens poke and prod, and jam things into my skull.

“I didn’t give consent for mine. How could I have, I was six months old.” Ma Fala laughs as she stomps back to the stove, and adds yellow contents from a jars into the pot. “Even if you had been awake, how could we have gotten your permission? We can’t speak Ingrish, and you can’t speak Harawak.”

“But still, it’s my brain!” I push my half-full plate away, and lay my head down on the table.

“Logan,” Ma sits beside me, and runs her fingers through my hair, “think of how frightening it would have been for you, to wake up in a foreign place, with foreign people speaking a foreign language.”

“I wasn’t scared when I woke up,” I say to my lap. I’m just being a brat now.

“I know, you thought you were in a chemical dependence detox place, right?”

I smirk, remembering my mistake. “Yeah, Rehab.”

“Well, that should have been frightening, too.”

“Whatever,” I sigh and pick my head up. “I’m going to go find Chayton and the guys.”

“Don’t you want to finish your breakfast?”

“Nah Ma,” I stand and pat my belly. “Three and a half plates, is plenty.”

“All right. It’s almost lunchtime anyway.”

I grin, and kiss her on the top of the head before heading out the back door.

***

“There You are! Finally!” Chayton tries to frown at me, but his smile springs back up. “Have you fed the kernys?”

I nod.

“Collected the eggs?” He asks.

Eldred, one of our brothers standing near him, snickers. Chayton joins him.

“Yeah, Yeah, I know. Getting the eggs is a little girls job. Frickin’ hilarious!” I tag Chayton in the shoulder, and then snatch a hoe propped up against the fence. I move dirt around in the vegetable garden, copying their movements.

We work through the late morning hours, forming rows upon rows of dirt mountains. Then we poke holes in our mounds, and drop in seeds. By the time the sun is high, we’re only about a third of the way done. Our sana jug empties quickly with three big guys drinking from it. And I could definitely use a snack.

“Whew! Are we going to feed the whole town?” I stop to mop my forehead.

“No, just the family,” Eldred says.

I look at the huge area we’ve been working. I know it’s a big family. Pa and Ma, plus ten kids, plus me. But still, I’m looking at half a lacrosse field of garden here. They do eat a lot I, guess.

“Almost time for a break?” I ask. I’m feeling a little dizzy.

Three girls approach us with their arms linked together. A basket hangs from the arm of a girl on one end. A jug hangs from the fingers of the girl on the other end. The one in the middle just carries a big smile. She’s really pretty. I want to get to know that one.

“Hey ladies,” I say when they get close enough, aiming my charming eyes at the center one. “Is there anything to eat in that basket?”

“Hello Logan,” the say, but their eyes are on Eldred. “Hello Eldred,” they chorus and bat their lashes at him.

Eldred doesn’t say anything or even smile at them. He wipes his brow with a handkerchief, and hold out his hand. The one with the jug hands it to him, and he drinks.

“Are you ready for lunch?” The one with the basket asks.

I’m working to make eye contact with the hot one, but she hasn’t even glanced my way.

“Yep,” Eldred says and leans his hoe against the wall.

“Well, I just finished breakfast, but I could eat,” I say.

Three frowns over blinking green eyes.

“This is my lunch basket,” Eldred grins and slaps me on the back. “Yours is on its way.” He points with his nose to a nearby ridge. Five girls, taller than Christmas trees, follow their long shadows down the slope towards me. The Bumbles. My Bumbles. They have a basket and a jug, too.  

Eldred follows the girls to the shade of a tree where a blanket is laid out for him, and the girls busy themselves with whatever he needs. Oh I get it; those are Eldred’s Bumbles!

And mine are closing in. What about Chayton? Shading my eyes, I look in every direction for another group of chattering chicks. But the land is empty.

“Where are your Bumbles?” I ask.

“My what?” he stops working and leans on his hoe.

“Where’s you’re . . . lunch! Where is your lunch basket?”

“It’ll be along soon.” He winks at me.

The Bumbles take me to another tree, near Eldred’s group, and feed me lunch. They tuck a napkin into my shirt, load a plate up, and pour me a glass of sana from the jug. I’m only on my third mouthful when four more ladies crest the ridge, and come down to the garden. Chayton’s Bumbles take him for a feeding, too.

 “Did you get enough to eat?” Yana asks.

“Yes, darlin’. I’m full.”

The one who’s always giggling wipes my mouth with the napkin folded in at my collar. The tallest one directs me to lay my head down into her lap. Yana and another one fan me from the noonday heat. And the last one sings a song while Giggles plays a stringed instrument.

This is the weirdest. Or the best. I haven’t decided which yet. Pretty girls, serving me all day long. Of course, they talk an awful lot while they do it. All day long. And the constant fussing smothers me at times. But still, it’s just because they care about me. A man could get used to being waited on by lovely young ladies who want what’s best for him. A man could get used to being loved like this.

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