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The Last Dance of the LakotaChief Ghost Wolf watched through pensive and blurry eyes as his people danced against the firelight, like they had done for as long as time remembered. Like blades of grass set in motion by the tranquil prairie winds, so too did the Lakota people sway in rhythm with the pounding of the drums and the enchanting cadence of the proud and once mighty tribe. Dressed in their elaborate and colorful traditions passed down through the ages, his people opened up their troubled hearts to the Great Spirit in the sky.
He watched as the elders danced.
He remembered when the buffalo once thundered across the grasslands.
He watched as the tribe warriors danced.
He remembered when the rivers once ran clear and free of hatred and intolerance.
He watched as the women danced.
He remembered when his people once roamed the lowlands as free men.
He watched as the children danced.
He remembered when the vast open skies once held promise and hope.
He watched as the U.S. Calvary assembled in great numbers from
Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 6Chicago South Side Liberty Motel
"Pull yourself together Dan. Feeling sorry for yourself ain't going to help matters none," I whispered, soft enough that only gods and the dead could hear.
I leaned down and picked up the only sock of mine that wasn't soaked in blood, then picked up the gun that was on the floor. It was a Colt 45 model M1917 revolver , serial number 193224. As I had suspected, it was mine. Its brushed blue carbon steel was cold in my hand. I checked the cylinder; one shot spent and there was black powder residue present in the chamber. No visible prints. I'd have to confirm later once I had my snooper gear. I laid the gun on the bed, and took a whiff of my shooting hand. As I feared, it smelled of gunpowder.
"Damn it Dan, you really done it this time." I'd hoped the gods hadn't heard that.
Set up? Like hell.
This was an open and shut murder case and as it stood, I was suspect number one. Who was I kidding? I was the only suspect.
Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 5Time and place unknown...
I decided the need for quick cash out-weighed any suspicions I might have of Mrs. Gladys, so I took the job. Pretty dames and the devil's currency are every man's weakness. Even a seasoned veteran like myself isn't totally immune to their powers.
We shared a few more drinks and conversation that night, and that's the last I remember of that evening
I woke up suddenly to find myself in a small, dark room. The sound of the furnace kicking in woke me from my sleep. My head was pounding, and I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. A red flashing glow was streaming across the bed from the only window in the room, providing some faint lighting. As my eyes adjusted
Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 41927 - Chicago West Side Late Evening [continued...]
That kind of bread could help a man out of debt, this man in particular, but I needed some more information before I went and got myself into something I wasn't prepared for. Gladys seemed overly convinced that her husband had been murdered, yet according to her, the cops saw it as an open and shut suicide case. There had to be more to it than this dame was letting on.
"Before I give you an answer, Mrs. Gladys, I'd like to ask you a few more questions if you don't mind." I made sure my eyes were focused on her and not on the wad of cabbage rotting in front of me. Her finely tuned chassis eased my torment.
She nodded while casually exhaling a plume of smoke into the air. "I'll do what I can to help you, Dan," she replied. Although her words sounded promising, her demeanor seemed reluctant.
"Why are the cops dead set on this being a suicide case?"
"They found a note," she said, then took another draw fro
ViolinI remember the day
you told me violins
were strung with cat gut
and that is why
you hated music
(who says that to a child?)
I followed you
all that summer.
I watched you
grow away from mother -
your whiskey held better conversations
and all she did was cry.
We'd sit cross-legged on the porch
and count the horseflies
settling on our lunch.
You would drown tadpoles
in a bucket
surprised they could not swim
and I would dream
of cherry popsicles.
And when night would gather
on the sidewalk
I'd hold my breath
until a star appeared.
Don't bother making wishes
you'd tell me -
stars are dead weight in heaven
and God has cloth ears.
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