The Dinner Party Chapter 11

Dinner Party Chapter 11 – Stuber

Catherine the Great was now not the only suspect in the killing of Running Bear. The investigation was centered on a proud old Mohawk named Crow. Crow has never hidden his ancestors hatred of the Onodowaga. He often held up decisions by refusing to ally his beliefs with the wishes of the nation if the Onondowagas had thought of them first.
The elders did not know that Crow was really a spy for the Hurons. The Hurons were a devilishly smart band from north and west of Lake Ontario. They had run into Mohawk and Onodowaga for many Centuries before the Peacemaker visited. While the Peacemaker made friends naturally, Crow had to swallow pride to befriend the people who his followers still hated. So clever were the Hurons, that they not only had a respected elder of the Haudenosaunee in their pocket as a spy, but they also posed him as a rebel reactionary who still held on to the Mohawk /Onodowaga feuds. This way he could release his hatred, thereby making his cover that much more realistic.
Apparently Catherine was able to detect the type of warrior she was used to in Crow. The accusers were wrapping the murder of Running Bear in the cloak of high intrigue by floating their conspiracy theory over the fire as our wandering eye swooped down from the clouds on a late August night to catch and report their abrupt conversation:

Big Deer: You know that Crow has always hated the Onodowaga. It is easy for me to believe that Catherine could convince him to murder Running Bear.
Flying Owl: Easy to believe, but neither Bobbing Tail nor her clan want the wrong man accused. Your theory is not proven, and would lead us to give up other possible killers.
Big Deer: We need to send word to our spies to watch Catherine and Crow as they head east. Crow is hot-headed. He will brag, or falter and we will have our proof.

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Marley: Sure, and if you get your proof, what will you do, sneak in and kill him? Don’t you think that will piss them off enough to send people after his murderer?
Big Deer: Not if we send someone willing to give up his life.
Marley: A kamikaze?
Flying Owl: A candidate who is brave and who will kill Crow and then be killed in return before leaving their camps.
Marley: Are you kidding?
Flying Owl: No. They will not have the resources to split off a troop to send back here, and once the murder is revenged, there will be little hollering for more killing.
Marley: I can’t support any type of martyrdom. It is hard to believe someone would volunteer for such duty.
Big Deer: You don’t realize how much reverence our people have for their brothers. Especially the leaders who are as brave as Running Bear was.

THE END

The Dinner Party Chapter 4

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The meeting of the Onodowaga is coming together around a fire the next day. The tribe has four clans: Snipe, Turtle, Bear and Wolf. Running Bear is from the Turtle clan, but he is also the chief of The Onodowaga as a whole. 2 Their form of democracy was a demanding one. If anyone in the clans disagreed with a decision,
it was argued over and amended until a unanimous vote could be made. The problem of the visitors had caused too much panic to let sit until a normal meeting, so the corn festival became an impromptu meeting. First came a Thanksgiving prayer. Then:
R.B.: “This meeting of the Onodowaga is in order. The stress we are all feeling, and the nasty rumors and fear amongst our people has to come to an end. It is obvious that we are being visited by people from the future. This seems absurd, but these people are not gods. They also want to protect us from what must be a bad fate. But do we believe them? I am here to gain our position on this matter. Do we trust these people with magic, or do we banish them?”
Running Bear’s political prowess is in full force, as he has his tribesmen believing that there was still an option. Deep inside, he knew he would convince his clan, and the rest, that taking the advice of the outsiders is the best.
“We must remember that outside visitors can have a lasting positive influence on our tribe. Did not Ayonwatha take the advice of the Peacemaker, a Huron, of all things? Without that trust in an outsider, our alliance of nations would not exist.”
Running Bear was fully aware that the method of the Peacemaker was simple: Condolence.
When Ayonwatha had no friends, the peacemaker offered him comfort. From then on, they were an unstoppable team in the pursuit of peace. Sure the peace meant that the Hurons would no longer fear the wrath of Mohawks, there was far more to be gained by the Hurons at first.
But the peace that lasted for centuries amongst the Haudenosaunee ended up
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the greatest achievement any civilization could strive for. The dilemma for Running Bear was that the group of visitors was divided about how to handle the inevitable invasion of Europeans. He sided with Catherine.
Most of his tribe sided with the peaceful alternatives. It had been generations since a full scale war was planned. The clans had neither the experience nor gumption to defy the laws that had been in force so long.
Sooner or later, Running Bear knew it would become an issue of gender. He knew the kettle boiled under many men in the tribe. He also knew the women had long since dominated the economy with corn production, and that to threaten their crops with war could lead to his removal as chief.
Typical Onodowaga meetings had issues tossed around until a decision was made, or the issue put aside until more information was learned about the subject. (Remind anyone of the lengthy decision-making process we’ve got going in the 1990s?) This way no major changes were going to take place overnight, unless everyone agreed on them. The following quotes are ideas that flew “over the fire” at Running Bear’s meeting. Names are not attached to these ideas, genders are. (M=male, F= female.)
F: “We need to hear all that these white-skins are saying, no one knows everything, we just hear rumors.”
F: “I have heard that these people have strange powers and possess items that
Can not be explained.”
M: “We are talking about details, when the real issue here is one of war. Half the white-skins say we need to stay here and keep to our traditions, and show the invaders that peace is the way. The other half say that if we do that we will be destined to give up our land, and our way of life will be forgotten.”
M: “If so, I say war is not so bad an option.”
F: “I say you are fanning a flame that has been dead a long time in this region.
If you men start a war in which all the tribes fight, the women will revolt. You will have no more sleeping privileges until you stop this crazy talk. Isn’t that right women?”
Most women murmur in agreement.
M: “I say we learn more from the white skins. I say we invite them to a
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meeting!”
F: “Are you crazy? If they know our secrets, they will gain too much power over us.”
M: “You have made my point for me. They can gain power over us. First we need to control these visitors, then, if more of them arrive, we need to go to war before they own us.”
F: “I think if we listen to the whites who are here to warn us, we can agree that they are here to help. Even the ones who suggest war are probably doing so because they realize our way of life is worth saving. If they are from the future, maybe they know outcomes that we do not want to face.”
F: “Such talk from a woman, it sounds like you favor war.”
F: ” Absolutely not, I just think we should hear them out.”
M: “If we do hear them out, then we will still say our Thanksgiving prayer in private. We shall not divulge any of our secrets. These people seem to have very little knowledge or care for the natural world. It may be our strongest point, that we
worship natural gods, they should never hear our prayers. We will do it at a different meeting.”
Running Bear: “I think that is the best policy. We shall have another meeting of the clans tomorrow. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I invite my fellow clans to send runners back to their villages. We shall have a day of fun here at the lake, and continue this meeting, with the whites in attendance tomorrow. That means we need to have as many people here as possible. The more people who witness their powers and hear their beliefs, the better the vote will be. Until then I suggest that we have sports on the fields, canoes on the lake, demonstrations of water skills, and, of course, love making.”
This last comment gets a scowl from Flying Owl, a woman who then suggested no sleeping privileges, which got laugh from the men. With the meeting
about to change back into a corn festival, the Thanksgiving prayer was repeated.
In the prayer, thanks is given to: human beings, earth, water and plants. As well as the three sisters (corn, beans, squash) animals, trees, winds, birds, thunder, the moon, the sun, the stars, the “Four Beings” (sky dwellers who guide the natives) and the creator. The tribes put their faith in these things, and many others.
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After each section of the prayer, they feel at one with the item being honored, and as a mind of one among themselves. The key to their beliefs is that all things yearn to be accepted for what they contribute to life. From the ant all the way to the creator, this desire to fit in must be fulfilled by others who show reverence and offer condolence.
If we are all tuned in, the author might be able to whip up an entire Thanksgiving prayer.3 But it would only be an estimate, it would come from the wrong perspective, and would not have the guidance that years of oral history have offered the Onodowaga.
Running Bear took a quick scan across the fields and saw that the games had begun. The visitors, seeing the breakup of the meeting, had gathered in a field to show the natives how their magic worked. Here’s what the visitors had come with:
Corcoran (having been yanked from her dorm room at Hollins College) had on sandals, cutoff dungaree shorts, a red, yellow, green and blue tie-dye shirt, a pair of John Lennon spectacles and a backpack. In the backpack were a lighter, cigarettes, a notebook, two textbooks, two tampons and a rubber-band style hair tie. The textbooks were on biology and logic.
Garcia (having disappeared just after that Galax jam session) had on jeans, Jack Purcell sneakers, a T-shirt commemorating some blues festival in San Francisco, wire-rim glasses, and was amazingly clean shaven. He carried an acoustic guitar in a case that also included extra strings, a few picks and a bag of pot. He had a zippo lighter in his front left pocket.
Marley was in shorts a red and yellow shirt with Johnny Nash’s picture on it and sandals. He disappeared from a 1974 tour of America, and had with him a suitcase full of clothes, trinkets and a Kodak Signet camera from the 1950s.
Katherine B. was in her Steeles Tavern, Virginia garden in 1991 when she disappeared. She was wearing keds sneakers, a pair of faded jeans, a white T-Shirt with a blurb for Joe Jackson’s Love & Lust tour on it. She also toted a bag of pot, and had a hand shovel and a plastic watering jug, as she had been tending her flower garden when dispatched to the dinner party.
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Rodgers and Jack were in bars on different sides of North America when they got yanked. Both are in normal 1987 garb. Rodgers showed up with a beer in his hand (long gone) and Jack had a bottle of Jack Daniels, half gone.
Tolkien was in his library, and arrived with “Falconer ” a novel by John Cheever.
Martin was having sex with her roommate and a sophomore from Washington and Lee University when she “flew” out of her room. She arrived naked and had been wearing borrowed native clothes ever since.
Woolf had been painting a seascape, so she arrived with brushes, an easel, a canvas, a bottle of gin and a pet Westie. She was wearing a skirt, blue blouse, a hat. Her yapping little dog was a pest, but her lively conversation already had the Onodowaga women crowding around her at times.
Nostradamus was in monk’s clothing, including a goofy little hat that looked a lot like the thing the guy from the Spin Doctors wears, only made of a grungy brown wool with raw wool earmuffs and leather thongs for a strap. He carried his carefully protected journals.
Catherine the Great had on an informal dress with tight bodice. She too came from a drinking party and was loaded with a bottle of Vodka.
Kandinsky wore drab clothes, leather work boots that were almost a size too small. He had a pocket watch in his front right vest pocket, two canvasses and six bright colors of paint.
Tad carried a boom box that had batteries that were fading fast. The box had a compact disc of “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp loaded in it. He was wearing blue shorts, a Buffalo Sabres replica sweater with the name Mogilny on the back, and the number 89 all over it. He wore wire-rim glasses. He carried with him an oxygen supply that was hooked up, via Heimlich Micro-Trachea directly to his lungs when he first arrived. But a lucky combination of his oxygen supply running out, and his no longer needing it hit at the same time. The natives were still mighty interested in his machine.
Stephanie and Jessica were backstage at an R.E.M. concert being held in a gym at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia in 1988 when they were whisked away. Stephanie had on tight pants and a skimpy shirt. She had a tattoo of a rose and a tiger-lily on the inside of her right ankle. Jessica had on jeans and a tied
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button down shirt, kind of like a young Patsy Cline might wear back in Winchester, Virginia when she was be-bopping around. They both had a ton of make-up on, and in purses.
Larsen had on a brown shirt, a vest and wire-rim glasses to go with the manual typewriter, full box of typing paper and twelve pages of prose bundled under her arm. She was in the field to demonstrate the contraption. Now that everyone was speaking the same language, it was her intention to teach people how to read and write it.
Finally, Duane Allman had been picked off while riding a Harley Davidson, full blast down a highway in Georgia. The motorcycle was the talk of the town, and Duane had plenty of gas in his tank, so a demonstration was still in the cards. He had arrived with the hollow body Gibson strapped over his back `a la Johnny Cash.
Kandinsky started by explaining that it seemed a group of artists, musicians and writers had been gathered to protect the natives from the coming onslaught of Europeans.
Woolf: I don’t know how long we have before the French show up here, but a united front in dealing with them should be our goal.
Tolkien: I agree with Jeanne, we have to find a way to teach them the language, translate their words into written form and preserve their culture.
Larsen: It’s a long project. Maybe we should just have a field day with our friends for now.
Nostradamus: I couldn’t agree more.
Two young women walked up to him, looking inquiringly at his hat. The threesome snuck off together.
Allman, bored by the whole thing, fired up his bike.
Running Bear: Could you explain this thing?
Allman: It’s a motorcycle. You want a ride?
Running Bear didn’t have to think long about that one. His bravery was being tested, so he agreed. Allman put him on the back, and they went for a slow cruise around the field. As they were riding, Running Bear had an inquiry.
R.B.: What makes this thing move?
“ Gasoline and this engine,” Allman said as they made a corner, narrowly
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missed a tree and stopped at the top of a rise. The crowd watched attentively as Allman quickly put his hand on the muffler and took it off.
Allman: The exhaust makes the pipes hot see?
R.B.: I feel the hotness, but I still don’t understand how it works.
Allman: Well, maybe it is beyond my teaching, but it is pretty good proof that we are from the future isn’t it?
R.B.: Maybe you are from a star? Maybe you are from the Underworld. I don’t know, but we have to make my people comfortable with your presence, or they will vote to banish you.
Allman: I don’t care about the vote. It’s good to be alive.
R.B.: You would not survive if we banished you, but I am on your side.
The two returned to the crowd where Corcoran was trying to explain her lighter. She lit up a cigarette, and two young Onondowagans come to her with a pipe in their hands.
Corcoran: Here, let me light that for you.
She lights up a huge bowl of hemp, and the boys take a drag and pass the pipe around.
The crowd is amazed at a simple Bic disposable.
R.B.: There is nothing strange in what these people bring. They are from the future. They claim to be from Earth, and I say we believe them.
Bobbing Tail: You believe them because you were making love with one of them last night.
R.B.: What do you mean crazy lady?
B.T.: You were playing games with that one. (She points to Catherine the Great.)
R.B.: That is crazy, where did you hear that nonsense.
B.T.: Everyone but you seems to be spreading it around. You were missing at the same time she was missing.
R.B.: I was preparing the boys for the lacrosse match against the Cayugas
next week. We had to go over terrain, and the quick routes through the woods to their village. Isn’t that right?
Two or three young men chirp up to lie for him.
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Catherine the Great: Even if we were love-making, what difference does it make to you?
B.T.: I am his wife, this is his daughter. If you don’t confess to it right now, I will seek refuge in my cousin’s house.
R.B.: There is nothing to confess. This lady from the future is trying to stir things up.
C. the G.: He’s right, there is nothing to confess. I was swimming last night. There was a rustling in the bushes as I swam, but I think it was a deer.
B.T.: I’ll bet it was my husband watching you. Were you naked?
C. the G.: Of course.
B.T.: You will have to come to my house and undergo a test to see if I believe you.
As Running Bear, Bobbing Tail and Catherine the Great headed for the village, Fawn was left with Garcia, who was explaining his guitar.
Garcia: This is an instrument played by many people in my century. We even have ways of making the noise very loud so thousands of people can listen to us at the same time. People come to our concerts and tape the songs so they can listen to them over and over again.
Tad: Here’s an example of recorded music from our century.
He cranks on the Supertramp, and the less frightened natives come up to listen to it.
A few yards away, Stephanie and Jessica are explaining cosmetics.
Others have liquor bottles to look at, and clothing to go through.
Meanwhile, the troika has arrived at Bobbing Tail’s ganohsot.
Bobbing Tail: You will sit facing each other please, as I question you both.
Running Bear is not pleased with the idea. He grunts, but sits down about eight feet away from Catherine, not quite facing her directly.
There are two masks hanging from the inside wall of the ganohsot. They are scary looking to Catherine, but are the masks of joy and rain to the Onondowagas. They are made of wood and stained with red and black, with rocks for eyes and ears. There are other trinkets in the room, including two wampum belts, a condolence

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cane4 and a piece of smoothed wood that reminds Catherine of a phallus she once knew.
Bobbing Tail: So, your name is Catherine. Were you making love with my husband last night?
C. the G.: No.
B.T.: Running Bear, were you disgracing your position as husband and tribal leader by making love with this woman without my consent?
R.B.: No.
Catherine really gets to thinking now. What the hell did Bobbing tail mean by “without my consent.” Did she mean that with her consent it would have been all right? Was this something the whole tribe agreed on, or was it between them?
B.T.: Take your clothes off.
R.B.: I know what you are up to Bobbing Tail. In know the test you women put us through in these situations, and I strongly disapprove.
B.T.: You will submit to the test, or lose your wife, daughter and power as chief.
R.B.: Fine.
Running Bear takes his leather off and reveals a flaccid penis. He then sits down with his legs crossed, pretty much hiding his penis from view.
B.T.: Now you do the same Catherine.
C. the G.: You are out of your mind. I will not submit myself to this kind of ridicule.
B.T.: You will do it, or I will make sure you are banished. No one will listen to your ideas, you will be expelled, and by January, you will die I am sure.
C. the G.: Boy oh boy this is tough stuff.
She’s thinking this may go beyond any crazy night she’s ever had, when Bobbing Tail instructs her to remain standing.
B.T.: You will walk back in forth in front of my husband. I will watch your eyes and his. If anything happens to arouse his penis, I will suspect you both.
C. the G.: You know, as a woman that is unfair. No man can stand to be teased by a naked women without getting hard.
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B.T.: That may be true where you come form, but our men better learn how
to keep a soft penis at a young age. They also know how to keep a hard penis, but I’m sure you’ve already found that out!
C. the G.: I’m being exploited here, and I don’t like it.
R.B.: Do as she says or all of your friends will end up as dead as you.
C. the G.: They aren’t my friends.
B.T.: Shut up and start walking.
Catherine prances around on tip toes. Her breasts jiggle up and down, and she starts to get hard nipples. This does not please Bobbing Tail in the slightest.
B.T.: This is a test to see if my husband responds to your sex, but if you start to get horny on me, I will assume that you are after him!
C. the G.: The cool breeze has made me this way. The only test of horniness is whether my lips get wet, and you know it.
B.T.: We’ll see about that.
Bobbing tail walks over to Catherine and sticks a finger in her vagina. She smells it.
C. the G.: Why you gross heathen.
B.T.: This is the only way to test. So far you have passed. Now keep walking. Only tease him more. Get nearer to him, hang your tits in his face, move your ass around.
C. the G.: Again, I must protest. Do you think I am one of those prostitutes!
R.B.: Just do as she says. This will be over soon, and then we can make our case for war to save our people.
B.T.: You two are already in cahoots! I can not accept your philosophical convergence, even if there is no proof of sex between you. I am going to stay with my cousins until the tribe decides which way it is voting on the subject of war. If you and this white god have a new marriage, and the war wins out, you are out of my life as a lover, do you understand that Running Bear?
R.B.: What I understand is that the women of the tribe have blackmailed you into making the war subject also the last subject of conflict between us personally. I

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am determined to make the best decision for everyone, if that means we are never together again, then so be it. If we decide on peace and hiding from the white onslaught, I assume we have passed your test and that you and I will remain together.
B.T.: I am too upset to think about all of this. I still suspect you two because you were both gone for so long. If this white skinned lady is truly only a human from the future, then why would she risk being off alone in unknown territory? We may stay together if the tribe decides on peace, we will have to see. Go out and play husband.
C. the G.: You don’t mind if I get dressed do you?
B.T.: I hate your tone. I was going to sit and talk with you. If you can be at peace I still will, so get dressed and we will talk.
Running Bear leaves the tent and heads toward a pick-up game of Lacrosse. Catherine, stepping into silk panties, a thick cotton skirt, a long sleeved shirt and boots, decides to stick around to hear this native out.
BT: The last time my husband was fooling around, he never admitted it, but the tramp he was around with ran off and became the scapegoat of another tribe just so she could be warm in the winter.
C. the G.: I am nobody’s scapegoat. You may not think I am up to scouting a region on my own, but that is exactly what I was doing the other night. I ruled the mightiest nation on earth, walking around these lakes is a walk in the park for me, at night or during the day.
BT.: Why are you so enamored with war?
C. the G.: I am not enamored by it. I know how to win battles, I know how to fight because our country often has struggles. But I would much rather enjoy the conveniences of peace than the horror of war. If a war is necessary to save your people, why would you oppose it?
BT: You white-skins are split about whether war is needed. If you are from the future and cannot agree on what is the best direction, how are we supposed to trust decisions made with your advice?

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C. the G.: Make the decisions yourselves. We know that Europeans will come here and take over your land. The other people, who come from times much farther into the future than myself have seen what this country will become once land is owned and people become greedy profiteers. If your way of life is worth a war to save, I say fight.
BT: But some say even if we fight we will lose!
C. the G.: Then I say find a way to negotiate on the white man’s terms. But you have to realize that the white ways are my ways, and I know they will come to dominate this area no matter what you do.
BT: So why fight?
C. the G.: Because you don’t want to give up your way of life like cowards do you?
BT: Cowards we are not. I can see that this argument will be difficult to resolve.
(Before that spirit hits, the backbiting, tongue-lashing female war games begin.)
C. the G.: I understand you have loose rules about letting your husbands make love with other women.
BT: Whoever told you that was full of malicious lies. If we have lovers they are pre-approved. We talk about the merits of wife-swapping with all the parties involved. The secret agreements made, and nightly wanderings may be numerous, but they are not done in the rude way you subscribe to. Running Bear has never been unfaithful to his dreams, but he has never ran after a dream without consulting his family. You have managed to cause great problems for my family, my tribe, and you might lead five peaceful nations to a war against people we don’t even know.
C. the G.: Well, and what have you done to further the causes you believe in?
BT: I’ve made sure my husband didn’t make a fool of himself with the tribe.
With a strong leader we’ve been able to resolve differences with our neighbors, keep strong a system that involves everyone in the fate of the tribe and make a fun life for our children. One free of war!
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C. the G.: Well, I’m leaving. Your husband may follow my lead, or make up his own mind, but your envy of our friendship will not help the situation any.
BT: No one need know about your wanton love of my husband. I do not approve of it, but if you continue to display these attacks on my family for all to see, you will pay.
C. the G.: Good-bye Running Bear. Good luck dealing with your wife.
Catherine bent over and showed an ample buttocks as she lifted the leather away from their door.
BT: You have a terrible eye for beauty. If you are attracted to that, you must think me quite ugly!
RB: You know I did nothing to disgrace you or our tribe. The whole chaos created by the white gods arrival has caused wild dreams for everyone.
BT: Don’t fall back on that old prop. If you went off with her, or if you didn’t, it is obvious she is in love with you. She desperately wants to lead you off into war.
RB: Please leave me alone to deal with this.
BT: OK, but you know the talk is already around the Turtle clan, the Heron clan has plenty of connections to ours, and more than one set of ears. That means everything you have done the last two days is now known by all Haudenosaunee that matter. Ponder that before you fire-up the youngsters for war!
With that Bobbing Tail leaves the ganohsot and spots a gathering of women around a fire about 50 yards form the lake. Actually, the women are gathered around talking to peacenik whites about things other than war.
Woolf: They tell me you are an artist.
Kandinsky: Yes I painted, but went a lifetime barely noticed in my own country.
Woolf: Shall we show these folks how you painted? You could paint over the canvass I was working on.
Kandinsky: No, I think a much bigger project than art is teaching about the times we came from. I have no idea what is was like for you in England. Why don’t you let us in on it.
Woolf: I was a spoiled brat really. Daddy used to bring by a lot of famous writers, who mostly encouraged me to become one of them. I’m not sure I
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succeeded, but having Tennyson around certainly made a fun summer of it.
Two women start to snicker and yawn. The party looks like it’s about to break up when Bobbing Tail comes over to the fire to a murmur of some magnitude.
BT: What are you going on about this time Virginia?
Woolf: I was talking to Wassily about art and negotiations.
BT: Well, I just had a negotiation, and it looks like I’ll be staying with my cousins in the Heron clan for a while.
Woolf: What the heck is going on.
A general agreement amongst the women hanging around encourages Bobbing Tail to spill the beans.
BT: I tested Catherine the “great” to see if she was lusting after my husband.
A howl of laughter rises up from the group.
Woolf: Why are they laughing.
BT: Probably because they know that the test is not really a test, but a way of humiliating the two adulterers. I stuck my finger into Catherine while Running Bear watched. He knew what was going to happen. It could have been worse, but I did not dissuade Catherine from continuing her adamant war ranting.
Kandinsky: I don’t understand, was there some type political maneuvering involved in this love-making?
Woolf: Apparently!
BT: If she has her way, the Haudenosaunee will be stuck in a war against the white people who have landed east of here.
Now the crowd is more interested.
Kandinsky: We will need your help to attract people to peace. I will talk to the other artists that are here. Perhaps we can come with a celebration that will take their minds away from war.
BT: Make sure you get Nostradamus involved. My clan is particularly swayed by his oration.
Woolf: I don’t think a diversion is as important as the decision at hand.
Kandinsky: But we will draw a bigger crowd if we offer some music.
BT: maybe so, but I insist we have arguments about his.
Woolf: Arguments are for the day. Maybe Kandinsky is right, maybe tonight
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we should just party.
Jessica: I agree.
Stephanie: Hey Wassily, are we up for some more art lessons?
Kandinsky: I presume so.
BT: You are no different than us. I can see it by the way you spend your free time. I will never understand how you goofy white humans from the future can sway the best men of our tribe. If you’re willing to help us tomorrow, then tonight we party.
She leads Woolf, Kandinsky, Jessica and Stephanie away from the fire.
BT: Are we set for the night?
Jessica: I don’t understand what do you mean.
BT: I left my husband to brood at our ganohsot, it is a wonderful night. Are we set as a group to find a place to have our party?
Woolf: Sure, but I’m with Jessica, I don’t quite understand what you mean.
BT: Well, Kandinsky here seems to have an eye for Stephanie, that leaves the three of us to roll around with each other, unless you want me to introduce you to some single men in the clan.
Woolf: We’re fine as a threesome by me.
Jessica: I’m not so sure about any of this.
BT: Let me take us to a patch of early hemp. We will sit around looking at the stars, smoking the mystic herb and see what happens.
Jessica: You’re a compelling hostess.
The five headed away from a semi-rambunctious crowd of women, some men and sparks being thermalled into the night air.

 

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Dinner Party Chapter 3

Dinner Party Chapter 3 Stuber 3.1

And just what did those two daredevils get into the night before anyway?
Few of our invitees are campers, or even inclined to put up a tent in the back yard for their kids, so, nestled around a fire they were all wondering what the heck to do when, in a flash, Catherine the Great was gone. She had stepped out back to pee, then Larsen noticed she was missing.
Larsen: Where the heck is Catherine, I really wanted to talk to her about Asian customs in her era. I think she must have had some contact with Asians during her reign.
Stephanie: I think she had to take a leak.
Larsen: Blast. Well, what do you think about our situation here?
Stephanie: I don’t mind being out in the woods for a while, but if I’m stuck here the rest of eternity, it won’t be much fun.
Virginia Woolf, who had been pondering a porridge that did not remind her of oatmeal, couldn’t help but slide over and talk to the two.
Woolf: What are you complaining about? Didn’t you have a full life before?
Stephanie: I should say not. I wasn’t even 35 when I died.
Larsen: Who said you died. I think I was about 45 when I got dropped in here. But I don’t see why we wouldn’t live our entire lives back in the 20th Century.
Stephanie: You mean this isn’t a form of hell?
Woolf: Hell? Are you kidding me, even Dante couldn’t come up with a hell as ironically twisted this. If anything this is only a slightly disappointing heaven.”
Larsen: She’s right. Would you be dancing topless in hell? You got into the native feel right away. How cold that be hell? Do you realize you already have enemies among the women here?
Stephanie: I figured if this is hell, and I’m dead, I might as well try to have fun.
Larsen: Fun’s one thing, but I think we’ve hit an area and time that is completely unique in history. If my guess is right, the natives have never heard of or seen white-skinned people before. Imagine how Bob Marley must be going over in the gossip circles!?
Woolf: I heard some women say they think he is a shaman. Some type of

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special medicine man.
Stephanie: Well, he’ll certainly be comfortable with a peace-pipe in his hands.
(General laughter.)
Larsen: There is already a big split as to what to do here. Should we just hang out and become part of their community, or are we really here to help them?
Woolf: There’s no way you’re going to stop the Europeans from coming here. I don’t know what year we’re in, but, unless we have a twenty year head-start, we’ll never be able to get enough natives together to make a stand.
Larsen: You mean a war?
Woolf: How else would you keep the Europeans out?
Larsen: How about negotiating better treaties, and making them stick?
Woolf: No way that would work, they already had treaties back then, each one was trampled on.
Stephanie: You think I kind find someone to find me a peace-pipe?
Larsen: Why, you think they smoke pot in it?
Stephanie: One can hope.
The blaze of the bonfire sent a pure flame three feet off the ground. The natives were just as comfortable on the dirt around the fire as you or I would be on a davenport in the lobby of the Boston Ritz Carlton.
Just out of earshot, Catherine, breaking twigs and rustling leaves, squatted in a patch of poison ivy to urinate. Meanwhile, a humored native jabbed the ribs of his friend and motioned him to leave. The native wore deerskin shorts, thick-soled moccasins a quiver with four arrows and a bow. Catherine, having been in a bar when whisked away into the past is dressed informally for her time. Long dress, tight bodice. Her purse and vodka bottle remained in the ganohsot.
The native got within two feet of her. He was behind a small maple tree. When Catherine fell in a combination of poison ivy and her own pee, the native could no longer stand it. He laughed. This startled Catherine. She pulled up her bloomers, and began to run. He tackled her, yet her first instinct (to yell) was somehow quelled. The native, of course, was Running Bear.
R.B.: Enihe. Akhnigoeye das.
This means, “Stop. I understand.” She didn’t have any clue what it meant,

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but still she didn’t scream.
Running Bear acted kind and offered her a hand up. He inched closer, still smiling. They circled like two curious dogs. She scowled and grunted, hiding curiosity, standing firm. Rage boiled through her. She would kill any man who dared such action in her own country, but she got a whiff of a new scent.
The body odor of this native caught her in a weak moment. She pushed him, he smiled and pushed back. He walked up to her and first gently then firmly grabbed her elbow. She didn’t know what to expect, and readied another scream, as he led
her down a steep wooded hill to Canandaigua Lake. Now Catherine had been around some mighty cold lakes in Siberia, but this one seemed far colder. He pointed to his canoe, but they had to walk knee-deep in the water to get to it. When he noticed that she didn’t like the water temperature he shoved her in. This made Catherine even more mad, especially since her left breast popped out as she is coming up for air.
It wasn’t just his laugh that got to her, but her dress, bloomers and petticoat became a strangling dead-weight when soaked. Running Bear offers her a woven
blanket. As she sat down in the canoe, she purposefully tipped the boat over. Now Running Bear was mad. A full basket of corn was lost. Laughter and rage counter-balanced each other which allowed Running Bear to feel the heat of lust creep in.
He had spotted her and rated her the best catch of the gods, even though Stephanie and Jessica danced topless. Now he was paddling across the lake with a god he knew nothing about. But he also knew that it is a long swim in a deep lake, and this god didn’t seem to take to water.
After half a mile, Catherine reluctantly picked up a paddle and helped the trek across the lake. The night air felt like rain was moving in, and Catherine would rather not get caught in a thunderstorm in a canoe, with a native, in a time and place she knew very little about. They make the western shore at “Seneca” Point. Who knows which pioneer named the Onodowaga the Seneca, but it must have come from their rich oral traditions. Maybe some informed pioneer had been taught about the Latin orator, who knows.
Straight up, these people loved to talk. Anyway, the two romantics were now
speaking a language they could both understand. (Not love-making you perverts, the spirits gave them a common language due to their unbridled love of life and sense of

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adventure.) Mind you, Running Bear didn’t realize Catherine could understand him when he said:
Gonohgwa onogwa khoh gwehdae ohsohgwa.
Which came out to her: I love your breast and red lips.
She didn’t realize she could understand an English translation of Haudenosaunee until it hit her that he was making a pass at her.
C. the G.: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
R.B.: Here you go.
She had no idea the natives were so quick to disrobe, so all she showed him was her breasts.
R.B.: Wait just a minute there. This is entirely unfair.
C. the G.: Oh come here you big baby, I’ll show you what’s unfair.
As he stepped across shale and fossilized Trilobites she admired how water dripped from his body. He firmed his resolve to make this woman his. She slid her
fingers through his hair, bit his nipple on the way down and showed him a trick her fellow Russians were never to pick up on.
Known as the nurturing doorbell push to its followers, the trick amused Running Bear to the point of a smile. A heart palpitation, even.
Running Bear, being from the tribe fortunate enough to control corn production, knew many pass times as well. After explaining in slow, delirious detail, the details of his trick, he gracefully put the blanket over Catherine, hung her bloomers out to dry, and performed his magic. She was startled to see that this man
Had the power of a horse. His trick proved fateful. He had become the first man to amuse Catherine with slight of hand. Her desires for more tricks and his desires to learn how a woman could have such large but firm breasts kept them up all night. and they talked.
R.B.: I want to know more about where you come from.
C. the G.: I guess we have come from different parts of history. I myself am returning from hell, where I’ve been for some time now. I know of Nostradamus, but most of the rest of these people you call gods are from what appears to be the
20th Century. That would be a solid 400 years from now.
R.B.: You mean some of what they say will happen, actually will happen!?

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C. the G.: I’m afraid that’s correct. But you haven’t heard any of what they said.
R.B.: No, but the god Tolkien has tried to tell us stories the best he can. Maybe this new magic that allows us to talk will also give us a better picture of what he means when he says our Turtle world will be shattered.
C. the G.: It may be true, but don’t you think the strongest people should rule?
R. B.: Maybe they will, but we have come to peace about all of that. The wars
we had in the past have been narrowed down to skirmishes caused by petty jealousies, and chiefs that cannot hold their tempers. If you gods are so advanced, why would you bring more war to us?
C. the G.: Because by being so advanced, people like us can take advantage of gentle people easily, and we will. Look, we have to develop a plan to unite even more natives so you can keep your place here. Many of us think you won’t be able to talk out a peace with the Europeans. We think you should band together and fight them with the unified purpose of getting rid of them. There are idiots, however, who will try to tell you that the best thing to do is sign firm treaties. Problem is, I believe your people will end up signing treaties anyway. And those treaties end up being broken one by one, until the Europeans control this whole continent. So, if we know that any treaty you sign with these people will be broken, I say the best way for you to save your Turtle world is to fight the newcomers back. That way they won’t want to return for some time.
R.B.: I will take what you have said to the council, we meet at the end of this moon.
The Haudenosaunee Turtle world is simple and complex. Simply, the earth is seen as the back of a turtle riding between the Overworld and the Underworld. The stars, moon, planets and heavens make up the Overworld and the Underworld is all that is beneath the realm of the human beings. Lakes and seas are cracks in the Turtle’s back, and lead directly to the Underworld.
Like so many other mythologies, things that are above humans are generally good. There are three types of gods in their mythology: Air, Earth and Animal. Most of the Air gods are good, most of the earth gods are good, and most of the animal gods go both ways. The creatures that “live” in the underworld are not so good.

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C. the G.: The council’s one thing, but if we make a pact, I will be able to use your influence to gather more support for the correct action, and you will be able to use my status as a visiting goddess to help convince your people that your way is the right way.
R.B.: But I have no decision on this yet. Our tribe makes decisions by a vote.
C. the G.: Well, it won’t be hard to get the men behind us. Women here don’t have the right to vote do they?
R.B.: The women don’t vote, but they are the only people who have the right to nominate who their leader will be.
C. the G.: What!?
R.B.: In major decisions, like who will be chief, the women argue about who the best chief may be. They then nominate possible chiefs. Then the men vote.
C. the G.: What sense does that make?
R.B.: It makes perfect sense. Men often create deals that lead to bad decision making later on. You must have seen this where you come from.
C. the G.: Yes. In fact, the decisions made in my country were so bad, I had to take over myself. I led our country out of misery and into enlightenment.
R.B.: So, women can be effective chiefs? I would not have guessed that.
C. the G.: Why not, you give women the exclusive right to nominate your leaders.
R.B.: Yes, but they are never the warriors or chiefs.
C. the G.: Why not?
R.B.: Their job is more important: they are the keepers of the corn crop. They raise our children, and their dreams usually warn of warring tribes coming our way.
Your arrival was foretold by dreams I, myself had.
C. the G.: You knew I was coming? Did you also know you would seduce me?
R.B.: I was hoping to seduce one of the white skins for political reasons, but I hadn’t expected to go against my wife’s word this quickly. I knew I had to get close to the women in your group emotionally. The men, I can always talk with.
C. the G.: You people are awfully confident.
R.B.: You seem a little bold yourself.
The two had no fears. Running Bear, still naked, threw a rock into the water. Catherine picked up a piece of shale and lobbed it at him. He caught it, by feel,

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and the last-second sight the moonlight afforded. They laughed. He skipped the rock. They embraced for, what seemed to Catherine, a long time.
Running Bear thought about the significance of his dreams coming true so fast and so materially. He knew it was one of the most important times the Haudenosaunee faced since the peace under the great white tree.
The two found shelter and fell to sleep. The warmth of Catherine’s arms erased the throb of guilt Running Bear had been feeling.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* * * *
The Chosen Place glimmers in 7 am sun that delivers strong messages to the participants. Catherine and Running Bear are halfway across the lake on their way back to Bare Hill. The return trip finds Catherine fully paddling the bow. Still, Running Bear is humored by her style.
Garcia, 18 again, helps women harvest beans, tend to corn, stretch deerskin. He throws a dirt ball in the air, chuckles and wonders what type of heaven he’s fallen into. Is it a really intense dream, or a flashback of a trip taken 340 years in the future?
What will he do without an amplifier and a crowd?
Garcia: Tell me ladies, how bad are the winters in this area?
Fawn and her mother Bobbing Tail (BT) try to respond. (Fawn’s
14 Bobbing Tail’s 30)
Fawn: We have more celebrations in winter, and more meetings, and more stories and we live together in the houses. Winter cleanses the earth it is not bad.
BT: We build fires at the end of the house to stay warm. Everyone hates the smoke, but what else can you do? What a strange question – the weather is beautiful, who wants to remember winter?
Garcia: That says a lot. Our being here must seem very strange to you but we come from a time in the future. I lived over 3,000 moons into the future from now. Can you understand that?
Fawn: We have been told you are demon Gods. You are too white, you have magic fire, evil drinks, strange moccasins, unnatural furs and weird face-paint. We were told not to talk to you, and if my father, or any of the elders catch us talking to you without men present we will be punished and you will be tortured and teased.

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Garcia: I don’t want to get into to trouble, but most of us believe in non-violence. Why is it that you torture people?
BT: You are naive Garcia. We fought battles with the same tribes we are now at peace with. We still fight battles to protect land to the west, in order to secure such a place here. If you win a war then treat your enemies as friends, they will laugh at you, and come back to destroy you. That is why the Peace under the Great White Tree was such a miracle. Do you know our customs, or are you a god that knows nothing? Garcia: I’m not a god, just a man from the future. I play music, I like to dance. I’ll show you later, but please tell me more.
BT: Our customs are simple. We plant in order to survive, the men are the hunters, fighters and chiefs, but the women decide who the chiefs will be. We are the Onodowaga tribe, in our house only the women vote, and the chiefs are not always passed down from one generation to another. No man can fool a whole tribe of women into giving him power. We also talk out each decision. If there is one vote against anything, the decision is not made. It took many years to get the Mohawks to agree to stop slaughtering their neighbors. They usually beat everyone they fought, but rarely the Onodowaga. We have retreated very few times. Two other Tribes that met under the tree were easy to persuade: Cayugas, and Oneidas were the first to feel
The pain from Mohawk raids. The Onondagas were tricked into joining the nation by the peacemaker and his friend Jikohnsaseh.
He was a man from the west (a Huron it is believed). She was the strongest women of the Cat Nation. Jikohnsaseh proposed offering a high position in the new nation to the Chief of the Onondagas, and he finally persuaded his people to join, knowing he had a good position secured.
The Gayanesshagowa is the Great Law of Peace that keeps the Haudenosaunee together. I heard your friend call us Iroquois. As five, we are strong. The Onodowaga protect the west. We are through collecting new fishing areas, and hunting grounds from the Hurons to the west, while the Mohawks still toy with weaker Tribes to the east. What do you think of all of that Garcia?
Garcia: I know something of the Iroquois. Did you know that yours was the first lasting peace amongst warring people anywhere on earth?
BT: This is earth, what do you mean, anywhere on earth?

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Garcia: This land stretches 200 times as far as any Seneca has ever seen. And there are two other lands that are even larger. There are many different types of people in this land. There are places that are never cold. There are groups from the south that will join you in years to come. The Tuscarura will travel north to make your nation one of six Tribes, not five. But my purpose is to warn of the white-skins who will come and spread disease, and war. They will beat your best Mohawks. You will join with them to fight mighty wars and they will pay you back by stealing your land. They do not believe that the earth is one. They split it up and “own” it.
BT: Stop this foolishness, no one owns the earth. No Human Being could ever claim to own part of the earth. There could be no such evil tribe. The peace under the great white tree set out one main cause: Universal peace. We better ourselves, without having to kill each other. If you, Garcia, man of the future, claim that this will come crashing to an end, then I say that all of this will be ruined by men like yourself.
I will tell this to my leaders, and you will be tortured and teased. In days past we would have killed you for such a remark. We have lived many generations without such talk, and we don’t need to hear it now.
Garcia: It is my intention to warn you, whether you want to hear it or not. I am living a second life now. There is nothing for me to gain or lose in trying to help a tribe that should be prepared.
Fawn: If you keep this up until the squash harvest Garcia, we will make you sit on an oblong gourd for such a remark, but now last year’s are hard, it will not be as pleasant.
Garcia sees a little bit of mountain girl in this young Fawn. This gets him dreaming of a life in Canandaigua. Wouldn’t it be tremendous to be in the finger lakes before they were overrun with boats, cottages, rich snobs and lunatic daredevils.

* * * *

One such daredevil caught the spirit of the long white snake between 1968 and 1985. He lived at Menteeth point, about eight miles south on the western shore of the lake. He was a normal kid, then went on a 17 year tear through motorcycles, 100 MPH

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boats, cliff jumps and some of the wildest parties little old Cheshire, New York has ever seen.
He was electrocuted.
I hadn’t seen him since about 1976, so I don’t know when he died. The story was relayed by a man who had no sense, but who had pure emotion and heart. He wrote religious songs, and said he knew of the daredevil’s sister, Toby. The last I knew
She was riding horses, and throwing dirt bombs back on Tremont Street. Legend says the snake lived in Canandaigua Lake.
Its presence is hard to ignore, which is why, to this day, so many people around the lake go on spiritual rampages. Such spirit and courage comes at odd intervals, and remains short times. Here’s to the whisper of that spirit.
Most will never tap the long white snake the way that man did, but Canandaigua has a way of pulling it out of you. It is hard to deal with, and gets people into all kinds of jams. But life could not be more exciting than it is when you allow the spirits of Canandaigua to inhabit your body. The daredevil’s parents knew this on some level, as they bagged the city for this chosen place years before moving out of jobs and into life became the vogue.
(I guess this is the author’s way of nudging Garcia to stick around, if possible.) Fawn: You seem to know so much, but then so little. Now that mother is gone, let me ask: why is it you white men think that your arrival will hurt the Peace nearly as much as our chief’s jealousy of the Hurons, Algonquins and Mohawks? Garcia: The diseases we carry you will not survive, the weapons we kill with are accurate from long distances. There is no time for jealousy now. Without a big effort, the white men will take over this land and ruin your traditions.
Fawn: Honoring the land and the law are not just our traditions. All human beings feel this way.
Garcia: That would be great if it were true, but men are greedy, you have seen it in your own warriors. Now imagine warriors with greater weapons, no respect
For nature, and the desire to earn great fortunes by enslaving others to work on their behalf.
Fawn: This has happened after our wars. The winner gets what the loser once

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cherished.
Garcia: It may be true, but your peace was set up to respect people and avoid these massacres. The white men from across the ocean have not come so far in their thinking. They will build great empires by twisting nature and enslaving the weak. {But why let Garcia have all the fun.}
Running Bear and a few other tribesmen had been listening to the conversation. They snuck up on the two, intending to let them talk as long as they wanted to, but they felt compelled to interrupt. Running Bear emerged from trees.
R.B.: We don’t like this talk, but we have also forged an alliance with you crazy people from the future. The one called Catherine has convinced me to listen to your stories which we will do tonight. Until then, I suggest that you stay clear of my wife and child.
This takes Garcia back a few steps because he knows perfectly well what Catherine and Running Bear were up to the night before. Now he wonders what to do with the information. Recalling experiences in his own band, he decides to keep it under his hat for now.
Meanwhile, Larsen was eager to pump Catherine for her knowledge of local Asian customs as practiced in Russia. Larsen was already drawing parallels to the “Turtle” world in the Haudenosaunee mythology.
Larsen found out that Asian traditions either have, or she made up, a similar underworld in which strange gods devise plans and the fate of man. Speaking of Larsen, she was at the campfire wondering whether everyone was safe, since at least Catherine was missing.
Larsen: We’ve been in this dream a couple of days, and I still don’t feel very safe. How about you Duane?
Allman: It’s obvious you’ve never been dead, so don’t talk to me about safe. Life is way too short to play it safe, but if you ask me, the people leading these Indians into war are doomed to get them slaughtered even quicker than history. We’ve got to help these folks save their own ass or their culture will die quicker than they do. Their history is oral, and language doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore, so why don’t we try to get them involved in self-preservation?
Larsen: That’s a good idea. I happen to have a typewriter and some paper,
maybe I could come up with a lesson plan that could help them.

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Dinner Party Chapter 2

Dinner Party Chapter 2 Stuber

Bonfires raged as Stephanie and Jessica danced topless in quest of that native feel. More Indians arrived in Birch Canoes to make the trek up Bare Hill. This festival, celebrating corn, included dancing, music, and storytelling. It went on for days.
Fire surrounded the lake, a tradition Europeans named Ganundua and copied with flares. It must have been late July, as the early corn was already being carted around. Canoes rarely crossed the lake without a few ears tucked away somewhere. The visitors, at least those who feel, cried for the losses yet to come. Rodgers kissed Martin, certainly not in the plan. Orgies followed.
Tad was still going on about bigger and better wars, so, with the encouragement of newfound native alliances, Jack popped him one in the nose. (Thus ends the war argument for this paragraph.)
Tad reveled in the story he could tell fraternity mates. {Have you noticed that NASA suggests the ozone problem is worsening twice as fast as we had once thought. By my count, that means, instead of being uninhabitable by 2092, earth will be food-free by, say, 2040.}
Anyway, a fun time was had by all. Most of the invitees found friends or lovers to start up with. Some natives even risked talking to the “gods” that came by. So many important dreams had already taken place about white-skinned visitors, that “god” was the only status the natives could think to give these strange looking humans.
Talking was done with hand signals at first. The more academically inclined took to learning the Iroquois language. The clever natives looked at their guests very closely. Even though most did not decipher much on their first night together, the visitors remained highly prized guests.
The timing of the corn festival and their arrival could not have been better. The Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk and Onodowaga tribes were gathered in Onodowaga country to celebrate the beginning of another fine corn crop. By this time it was known that the crop would be one of the best ever.

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Runners made their preparations to move the corn west and east, south and north, as the crop passed for money in these parts. Sure their were bead belts that were more sacred, more sought-after, more valuable, but for the Iroquois, it was their ability to raise and transport corn that kept them head-and-shoulders above their neighboring nations.
The peace that was created when five warring tribes dropped their weapons allowed them to live in the near-perfect world where play was encouraged. Hard winters made the fall a busy time. The work in the fields was generally done by women and their children. This festival was to help, prepare the women for the hard work ahead. It was a kind of a pregame psyche-up session that lasted for days.
“Oh La La,” Tolkien blurted out as the last spooge for the night combined with clay hunks to form crystal. (Some conference.) “I have a friend who says technology is the only way to save us. He says we should rocket out of here. Well, we certainly have the right people to start new generations by last night’s display,” he said, as the party started waking up.
“Sadly we’re a few generations short of rockets,” Martin said, “and nature isn’t going to run out on us while we’re visiting.”
“How sophomoric. I was referring to our ability to procreate,” Tolkien replied while looking for fire wood.
“I wonder what month we’re in, feels like fall setting in,” Larsen said.
“I think this is August. Maybe we’re in Canada, it is surely a cold morning for August,” Tolkien said.
The large white snake looms, “My Blue Lake” is seen by some, hovering a foot over the water. The great law of peace oversees a sycamore that stretches out over untapped fields. Only the unforgiving miss the moment in their brains.
“Why was this century such a mindless one for this continent?” Catherine the Great mused.
“These people know more about nature than most of your ministers did,” Woolf pointed out.
“I had the world’s most culturally advanced court.”
“So? You still never accomplished all that you wanted to. And your beloved Russia fell back into marauding Cossacks quicker than you could imagine,” Woolf

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responded.
“If we’re here to save these people, our arguments will get us nowhere. We need a war to drive out the stinking English. It was the English who broke up the partnership between the French and natives around here. If the French had won that war, this continent would have been much more laissez-faire.”
Sounds like she’s a changed woman. (One last orgy before the rebirth of war?)
“And the whales cry,” Garcia said. It’s a bit early for Garcia , but, just as dogwood’s leaves lead to blooming Rhododendron, the dark branches of rain soaked trees provide contrast for watercolorists.
“So you want to find a solution? Find yourself,” Jessica suggested.
Woolf laughed.
This crazy off-camera muse “Ed” keeps suggesting the addition of detail. He doesn’t know me and my penchant for abstractions, but, the night before the “orgy”
the participants ate dinner. It consisted of bear and venison as well as green beans, corn, lima beans and ample rounds of hemp smoking. There were also sips of C. the G.’s Vodka and Stephanie’s Amaretto. No twinges of infecting the natives with firewater, since they had the peace pipe to start with.
Let’s interrupt last night’s supper during the conversation part.
Allman: I don’t know whose dream this is, but I’m sick and tired of playing puppet. The least we can do is write songs about the forthcoming Indian decimation. Maybe it will help them or warn them.
Marley: If we could figure out their language, it would be better to save them with songs they could understand.
Garcia: They’d have to be memorable songs, maybe we could rework some of your songs with that native beat Bob.
Larsen: Hey, I was killer on bass, and I never played before!
Garcia: You want to be a part of our band?
Larsen: That would be great!
Corcoran: Shush Jeanne, let them write their tunes.
Of course Corcoran didn’t realize the enormous potential she had for writing

Stuber 2.4

tunes. But, Kandinsky, still next to Allman, talking with Tolkien, Nostradamus and a reborn C. the G. broke in:
Kandinsky: Why don’t we try to save a small area. Where was that place Columbus landed?
Tolkien: San Salvador, it’s one of the Bahamas. Actually quite a bit Southeast of what they called the West Indies.
Kandinsky: Why don’t we try to save San Salvador then.
Tolkien: Well, the natives left or were breaded out, but, believe it or not, San Salvador remained resort-free, except for one little inn, throughout my lifetime. Kandinsky: So let’s save the whole Bahamas then.
Tolkien: The islands incorporated a large African population because of the rum traders, and you should know, that, except for a group of snobby British bankers and the occasional pamphlet publisher, the Bahamas are mostly natives. From a long-term perspective, the most you’d ever want to change there are the tacky tourist hotels.
C. the G.: I’ve always wondered what type of fun you could have with Africans, but I think I’ve found a man in Running Bear that could fulfill all my desires. I hope this dream doesn’t end, maybe I can sneak off and avoid going
back to Hell.
And if pigs had wings they could fly. But C. the G. introduced the first native nicely for us, which could bend us around to a less Philistine approach to continent-saving.
Sadly, Running Bear was not only not hanging around the official “Day-After-the-Orgy” proceedings, he wasn’t at dinner last night either. Running Bear, skeptical, took refuge with Catherine across the lake at Seneca Point. (That’s Seneca the Indians, not Seneca the Latin quipster.) {Note , they called themselves Onodowaga} That leaves us nowhere, so, waiting for the burst into native thinking, we’ll have a lyrical passage.
This jump also puts us back into the author’s experiences in the 20th century, for those scoring at home.

Stuber 2.5

Waves lap birch, flow north. The West River,
Overgrowing with algae, barely supports the vineyards
Once thought to be valuable. Some wine monger
Invents a sweetened cooler which saves the concord
Growers: the last farmers in these parts are the
Only real people around. There’s no living fishing
These lakes anymore. Beauty succumbs to
Cigarettes cruising 200 feet above leery Lake Trout.

Dropping a heavy line to the fishes preferred
Temperature, and feeling a bite from that far
Away, then carefully reeling is a boring but noble
Way to snag a meal. Only fierce winters could
Possibly cleanse so much motor oil. “You have to look
Both ways when leaving your dock for Christ’s sake!”
No, not for Him, but for the geode left alone,
The undug trilobite snuggled in shale perfectly

Piled in the age old tradition of moraine damming.
Mostly stop for the trout, pike, walleye. Even the memory
Of Running Bear should drive any human being to get
The hell off the lake. An adolescent murmur,
A “boo lake” of childhood, a white capped sail in
Creaking sunfish, wind 60, boat 30 knots, a
Full hike required, hair slapping waves, rain moving in.
The last tearful memory of any dying man who’s ever

Had the luck to be around it. Hills diving to cliffs
Under a picnic lunch served off the end of a
1962 Chris Craft go slightly unappreciated
In the mouths of 8-year-old birthday party attendees.
Croquet on the lawn now being sold by the square foot,
38-round badminton volleys kept up even though
Your half sister insists on running through the game.
Sixty three degree water plunged-into on a hot day.

Stuber 2.6

Dandelion puff-balls competing with the
Just-combed hair of Brandy, the world’s
Quintessential retriever. Small white, large red
Puffs, dodging squirrels: one trying to hang
On to life, the other, seeking new generations,
Both bothering persnickety lawn manicurists
Whose second goal in life is the perfect rose
Garden, first being a sterile household. Oh my.

Winds interfere, ducks lead confused offspring,
A ten-slap skipper goes unrecorded except
By the tosser. Occasional craw dads escape
Persecution by their evil captors who race
The rest across land. And dad tugging five-year-
Olds down to Rosenthals where retribution for
Dislodged fence rocks comes in the form of
Two weeks labor. Remember those days?

Days of warm days, cool nights. Now,
In less than half a lifetime, its sweltering
All the time. Winter. What happened to that
Cleansing month? Snow, flood, mud, clean:
Used to happen every March. You would
Hope it still happens at least in Asia
Where tradition has allowed billions to
Snake a living out of so little. Movie stars

Are not the thinkers to save our planet,
But thinking is only optional in the
Money-first world. Here Running Bear
Takes over the thinking, his diatribe
Is listed under number one in the
Endnotes. So flip back to number one
And find out how he looks at things.
C. the G. has good taste.

 

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Dinner Party, a Novella in 11 Chapters, with Endnotes, Chapter One

Chapter One

Dinner Party

Monica Corcoran, Jerry Garcia, Bob Marley and Katherine B. were sitting next to James Rodgers, Jack, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ashley Martin at a dinner party. They had been invited by Corcoran, to sit in a ganohses (longhouse) halfway down the east side of Canandaigua Lake. The year was 1622. Blue Lake stories pervaded as Virginia Woolf walked in with a subdued Nostradamus, Catherine the Great and Wasily Kandinsky. Tad Stuber and “Stephanie” lounged in with Jessica, Jeanne Larsen and Duane Allman.
The pow-wow was set to see who could do the most to stop Europeans from coming across the ganyodeowaneh. Or, at least insert the native culture deep within the collective psyche of the oncoming tribes of explorers. News of men from the ocean arrived before this party. Scouts on the eastern edge of the Haudenosaunee nations had already heard of the Puritans landing in a place they named Plymouth.
Corcoran was amazed that no natives were around to greet them. She decided to explain a little more about her intentions for the dinner party.
“I can’t believe this party is happening, but you should listen up. My friend and I decided to have this party in order to help the natives fend off the Europeans. We’re here to save this place for them,” she said.
A few invitees started to grumble. James, Ashley and Tad in particular were anxious about their surroundings.
“I was just sitting around my dorm room one day when this crazy bass player asked if we had ever played the game ‘dinner party’ before. I told him I never heard of it. Anyway, the game is simple: we invited some of our favorite people here so we could get to know them. The thing is, we got to invite anyone from history that we wanted to.”
“So why on earth did you invite me?” Stephanie asked.
“I don’t know. I thought you were one of his better choices actually,” Corcoran responded.
“Well, at least we came with the stuff we had on us. I think the whole thing is
bullshit. I’m going outside to play, anyone interested,” Jack said as he waived a lemon-sized sack of bean-bag beans in the air.
A few followed him our the door. Jack rested the hacky-sack on his forehead then started a round with Jessica, Katherine B., Kandinsky and Allman.
Amidst errant volleys, Jack suggested a conspiracy. “Pirates, only equipped with cigarette boats and huge chains. Just turn them away.”
“A peaceful thought but it won’t work,” Katherine B. interjected.
“Maybe a war would keep them away,” Tad said. “We could borrow some toys from the Pentagon and keep this place safe forever.”
“Unless you’re better at time jumping than I am, I don’t think that will work out,” Allman said. “Who are you anyway?”
“Tad’s the name, and I say that the only way to conserve this space is to bomb the heck out of the invaders. The technology will blow them back into the dark ages.”
Bob Marley overhears from behind a birch branch in the house. He’s unimpressed. “Look, it’s not the people, it’s the greed, and the technology itself that stink!”
“We need to make sure the continent remains agrarian,” Martin said, peering over smashed beans and corn meal.
(Not knowing Martin, the author assumes she knows what she’s talking about. But she said it, so that’s that.)
The ganohses they have landed in is one set up for special meetings. Highly decorated mats make sitting on the ground a little more comfortable for the 20th century visitors. Nostradamus sat in a corner meditating. No mat needed.
Now Duane Allman was not a good hacky player. The poor boy tried, and after being teased by Kandinsky, quit. Wassily quit too, opting to take Stephanie and Jessica behind the bushes for an artist/model strategy session. Because he was so used to painting abstracts, Kandinsky had to remember how to instruct the Russian methods of posing before teaching it. He hadn’t used a model in years, but their figures were compelling. He only had a few colors and two canvasses, so he knew each stroke would have to count. The session didn’t last long.
Catherine the Great, now free to ponder the fate of America, suggested: “A new
poverty. That’s what this continent needs. Mindless serfs with pure loyalty to our ideals. The natural resources should only be in the hands of those who know how to use them.”
“How obvious,” Marley quipped.
“There has to be a way to get to the heart of the problem. We need to meet with these people and get them motivated as soon as possible,” C. the G. suggests.
“Motivated to do what?” Woolf asked.
“To fight to save their homeland!”
“It doesn’t matter what they do. The enslaving tactics of the Europeans will either wipe them out, or use them like they used the Africans. I don’t think our little band of do-gooders is going to be able to win a war against all of Europe,” Marley said.
Tad, overhearing all this added: “Look, around here I think it was the French who came in first. We wouldn’t have to hold off all of Europe.”
Marley, not wanting to stay involved in war talk, meandered over to Allman. He recognized Duane from the album cover of “Live at Fillmore East”. It was one of the albums Marley cherished.
“Aren’t you Duane Allman?”
“Sure am.”
“What do you think about all of this?”
“I can’t believe I’m in the middle of some ancient times. Why did I show up with my motorcycle and electric guitar, when they are useless?”
“Don’t know, but I’d trade ten cups of this tea for just one cup of coffee,” Marley said, trying to tip off his identity.
“‘One Cup of Coffee,’ wasn’t that an obscure Bob Marley side from the early sixties?”
“Guess so. Who do you think you’re talking to?”
“Oh my God! I’m sorry man, I didn’t recognize you. Your hair should have given it away,” Allman said.
“This is great, we can have a serious jam.”
“I saw a teenager with a guitar walking around too,” Allman said. “He’s got an old Martin, a real beauty. Maybe we should get together.”
“Sounds good to me, let’s go find the guy with the guitar,” Marley said, smiling.
While the two musicians went in search of Garcia, Tolkien was holding court with Mr. Rodgers and Ashley Martin.
“To limit the free choice of America’s inhabitants is unfair, yet allowing Europeans to wipe out the Indians is also unfair. It seems to me that the Indians could have lived here indefinitely without spoiling the place. We need to find a way to let them have it,” he said in a rather thick French accent.
Martin and Rodgers were speechless.
Jessica and Stephanie, accompanied by Kandinsky, returned to the ganohses and interrupted Nostradamus’ meditation.
“Hi, I’m Stephanie, what’s your name?”
No response.
“Excuse us for interrupting your meditation, but we were wondering why you weren’t introducing yourself,” Jessica said.
“My name is Nostradamus.”
“Nostradamus!?” Kandinsky exclaimed.
“Not the guy Orson Welles went on and on about?” Stephanie asked.
“Excuse me, but I am simply a French monk. I have studied the stars and meditated about the future. Apparently, I am now in the future.”
“The future? What century do you come from?” Stephanie asked.
“Not even one-hundred years ago, by my guess. This must be some type of second life, but I do not recognize the way you dress, or the area we are in.”
“My name is Jessica. I was a housewife living on the outskirts of a city called Charlottesville, Virginia in the 20th Century before I died.
“I was a model,” Stephanie said.
“No doubt about that,” Kandinsky confirmed.
Nostradamus, struck by their beauty, pondered cashing vows for a four-way. This type of kinky thought rarely infected the brain waves of Nostradamus, but everything was weird to him at this point. He had predicted he would return in the future, but hadn’t thought it would be so soon after his death.
Wassily, looking at fate from the monk’s perspective, wondered if it was worth it to try to help, as he was invited to do, or whether painting and living life to the fullest were a valid response to the place he had been put into.
At the main meeting table, Garcia, a 20th century minstrel ponders the situation.
He had lived an entire life in the 20th Century. He can almost remember that, but he feels and acts much younger now. All he can distinctly remember about the 20th century was taking a trip with a friend to attend a bluegrass festival in Galax, Virginia.
They had started out in a broken down car from California. His friend got more and more disgruntled as they drove through the desert, blew the transmission and had to start hitch-hiking. Somewhere around Las Vegas, his friend had given up. Undaunted, Garcia continued the trek, guitar in hand.
He remembered arriving a day late, but instantly started jamming around a huge tent with Doc Watson, the blind bluegrass legend who was the most legitimate incarnation of the music that had been transported to the hills of West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky from Ireland in the 18th Century. Garcia realized the importance of the occasion. It was as a teenager, with guitar in hand that he arrived in Ganandauguay.
Garcia: “People will follow their hearts no matter what we do. Earth is here to respond to those needs. It will make the adjustments as necessary. If humans waste their chance here, earth will dispatch them.”
“Dispatch, dispatch, the question here is what to do with Europeans,” Woolf clarifies. “It’s not fair for me because the people from my island escaped injustice and followed their hearts. Then they wiped out the Indians, as if that was what God wanted.”
This statement caused a stir in Nostradamus, so he walked over to the table.
“God!” Nostradamus screamed, “what you know of God is minimal, but listen to this theory: planets around the universe go through relatively the same cycle. First, the animal life finds a way to use up the resources. When and if the inhabitants escape, they try to warn the next planet. Thus, the bible, me, and the inevitable. About 10% of the idiot planets don’t develop far enough before they’re used up. You can count on earth being one of these, and it all started with the greed of the United States, dear Virginia.”
{I saw an Eskimo walking with a huge pack in an ethereal fog the other day, right
here in Roanoke, Virginia, Virginia.} (1991)
Meanwhile, Duane began to shape extra guitar-like instruments from cat-gut and

crafted sticks he borrowed from newfound Indian friends. Duane’s own guitar, a red hollow-body 1956 Gibson was meant to be played through an amplifier, but the hollow
body made it almost loud enough to hear over the loud singing blues of Garcia and Bob Marley. Larsen sat in on a homemade bass, with Corcoran on drums.
Larsen’s playing could be described as rhythmic. The correct pitch was hard to come by, as her instrument was less effective than the old washtub-broomhandle-string set-up made famous in bluegrass jug bands.
Corcoran’s “drumming” made reggae out of the question, but she at least kept up. She was using three ceremonial drums borrowed from the back of the meeting room. Garcia lead the singing of the ad-libbed first song, with Marley harmonizing with a vocal howl a third above in the verse and a third or fifth below in the chorus.
Garcia played rhythm guitar on Allman’s Gibson, while Allman used Garcia’s 1952 Martin to play lead slide guitar.

Ganandauguay

There’s a special chosen place that’s caused some nasty wars.
We dropped in from all over, this place isn’t like before.
And if you love your good neighbor,
We’ll let you stay here some more.

Chorus: I’m going to get back to the Ganandauguay blues.
I’m going to jump back in to the Ganandauguay blue.
My mind is blown by the beauty,
Won’t you come and join me too?

We got pretty little ladies, such wonderful sights to see.
We got nature in our souls and our minds are finally free.
And if you think you’re happy now,
Wait until you come in swimming with me.

Chorus

(Here Duane took a major lead, drawing looks of awe from some natives who had just emerged from the woods.)

We got to keep the place as clean as it was before.
It’s been so long since this place has seen a war.
So why don’t you join me,
And we’ll find a way to even the score.

Chorus

There’s a special chosen place that’s caused some nasty wars.
We got people from all over we never met before.
And if you love your good neighbor,
We’ll let you stay here some more.

* * *
The song ended, with natives apparently howling their approval. They had snuck in unnoticed.
They didn’t understand a word of the lyrics, but the primitive music fit their style.
The reason the natives were howling had nothing to do with the music. They were screaming to drive these white ghosts away. Two bows are drawn before Darting Sparrow, an up and coming young fighter, stepped in to stop what would have been an instant massacre of the invitees.
“Enihe!” Darting Sparrow shouted. {It means “stop”.}
The evening is setting in, which makes the tension between the two groups increase with each passing firefly.
Larsen starts to work out a sign language with Darting Sparrow.
“Look, I think he understands that we have come from the future,” she said to Virginia Woolf.
“As long as what you are saying keeps him from turning on us, we’ll be all right,” Woolf responded.
“He’s too young to have any authority,” Kandinsky pointed out.
“But if he’s a scout, we need to convince him we’re on his side, or we could all get killed before we even know what year it is, no less where the heck we are,” Larsen said.
Larsen pulled out a handkerchief and made it into the shape of a heart. She opened her hand and closed it on the hanky to make the representation of a beating heart. She then held the beating heart to her chest and made a motion like she was pulling her own heart out of her chest. She danced around with bent knees and showed the heart to all the natives. Again they howled.
“He eh ni ye” Darting Sparrow said. {Loosely translated – don’t do that.}
It really was scaring some scouts, other were just mad that she was able to one-up

Darting Sparrow. He had to get her back, but then Larsen offered him the hanky.
Again the crowd howled.
Larsen bent on her knee, kept the heart throbbing, and again offered it to Darting Sparrow. Darting Sparrow smiled and accepted the heart. He even showed the cloth to his companions, and pretended to keep the heart beating.
This display lasted long enough for more natives to arrive. The meeting house was the destination of the Turtle clan. The Turtle clan ran through the Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawk and Onodowaga. Even though they had previously had wars with these other tribes, the members of the Onodowaga, Turtle clan had a closer relationship with other Turtle clan members from the other tribe, than most of the members of other clans in their own tribe.
Since Larsen and her friends had arrived in the Snipe clan’s meeting house, it was going to be up to the Turtle clan to accept them, banish them, torture them or kill them.
Darting Sparrow repeated the heart demonstration to the elders of his clan. Larsen again tried to explain in sign language that they were from the future. The clan decided to take their discovery to the entire meeting that night.
Jessica, Stephanie and Katherine B. were already getting some attention from their native hosts. The men were smiling at them. The women were pawing at their clothes.
“Agwas do ges ogethae henoyo goh ganoohgwa sha,” Darting Sparrow said. {It’s really true, I talked [to them] they come in love.}
The elders talked about their guests and seemed to trust Darting Sparrow’s faith in their peaceful intentions. Jack almost ruined it for everybody when coming inside from his hacky-sack game.
“What’s going on here, for Christ’s sakes,” Jack said in a rough sarcastic tone.
“Cool it Jack, Jeanne went through a pantomime that convinced the Indians we were coming in peace. I don’t think they like your tone,” Jessica said.
“Tone!? They’re the ones howling all the time! Here we are stuck out in the middle of the woods in God knows which century and you’re going to knit-pick about tone? You’re more uptight than your hoity-toity Charlottesville neighbors!”
“Look Jack,” Katherine B. interjected, “first of all, don’t get on the Shenandoah valley, I live there too. Secondly, keep it down. If the natives get the idea that we’re not united then they won’t treat us all the same. the way I see it, we have the upper hand. They may even treat us as special guests as long as we remain calm and act like mature adults.”
“All right then, it’s starting to get dark, who’s going to sleep where, and with whom?”
“You’re a pig, Jack,” Katherine B. said.
The argument humored the natives. Jeanne walked over to the combatants.
“Look, we’ve got to be a little more civil. These people are now laughing at you. We have a chance to impress them with our knowledge. Our first goal has to be to communicate with them. If we can’t impress them, we’ll be dead.”
“We don’t have to impress anybody. This is like a second life for me. I’m going to have fun at it. I don’t give a rat’s ass about why we were “invited” here by some sophomore. I mean she’s fairly cute, but I don’t have to date the hostess. You seem like you’ve got your head on straight. What do you say we blow this meeting house and go out by the fire?” “No thanks.”
“Fine,” Jack said as he turned to Jessica and the others. “Anybody up for a little sing around the campfire?”

 

 

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dinner Party Chapter One

Chapter One

Dinner Party

Monica Corcoran, Jerry Garcia, Bob Marley and Katherine B. were sitting next to James Rodgers, Jack, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ashley Martin at a dinner party. They had been invited by Corcoran, to sit in a ganohses (longhouse) halfway down the east side of Canandaigua Lake.  The year was 1622.  Blue Lake stories pervaded as Virginia Woolf walked in with a subdued Nostradamus, Catherine the Great and Wassily Kandinsky.  Tad Stuber and “Stephanie” lounged in with Jessica, Jeanne Larsen and Duane Allman.

The pow-wow was set to see who could do the most to stop Europeans from coming across the ganyodeowaneh. Or, at least insert the native culture deep within the collective psyche of the oncoming tribes of explorers.  News of men from the ocean arrived before this party.  Scouts on the eastern edge of the Haudenosaunee nations had already heard of the Puritans landing in a place they named Plymouth.

Corcoran was amazed that no natives were around to greet them.  She decided to explain a little more about her intentions for the dinner party.

“I can’t believe this party is happening, but you should listen up.  My friend and I decided to have this party in order to help the natives fend off the Europeans.  We’re here to save this place for them,” she said.

A few invitees started to grumble.  James, Ashley and Tad in particular were anxious about their surroundings.

“I was just sitting around my dorm room one day when this crazy bass player asked if we had ever played the game ‘dinner party’ before.  I told him I never heard of it.  Anyway, the game is simple:  we invited some of our favorite people here so we could get to know them.  The thing is, we got to invite anyone from history that we wanted to.”

“So why on earth did you invite me?” Stephanie asked.

“I don’t know.  I thought you were one of his better choices actually,” Corcoran responded.

“Well, at least we came with the stuff we had on us.  I think the whole thing is

bullshit.  I’m going outside to play, anyone interested,” Jack said as he waived a lemon-sized sack of bean-bag beans in the air.

A few followed him our the door.  Jack rested the hacky-sack on his forehead then started a round with Jessica, Katherine B., Kandinsky and Allman.

Amidst errant volleys, Jack suggested a conspiracy.  “Pirates, only equipped with cigarette boats and huge chains.  Just turn them away.”

“A peaceful thought but it won’t work,”  Katherine B. interjected.

“Maybe a war would keep them away,” Tad said.  “We could borrow some toys from the Pentagon and keep this place safe forever.”

“Unless you’re better at time jumping than I am, I don’t think that will work out,” Allman said.  “Who are you anyway?”

“Tad’s the name, and I say that the only way to conserve this space is to bomb the heck out of the invaders.  The technology will blow them back into the dark ages.”

Bob Marley overhears from behind a birch branch in the house.  He’s unimpressed.  “Look, it’s not the people, it’s the greed,  and the technology itself that stink!”

“We need to make sure the continent remains agrarian,” Martin said, peering over smashed beans and corn meal.

(Not knowing Martin, the author assumes she knows what she’s talking about.  But she said it, so that’s that.)

The ganohses they have landed in is one set up for special meetings.  Highly decorated mats make sitting on the ground a little more comfortable for the 20th century visitors.  Nostradamus sat in a corner meditating.  No mat needed.

Now Duane Allman was not a good hacky player.  The poor boy tried, and after being teased by Kandinsky, quit.  Wassily quit too, opting to take Stephanie and Jessica behind the bushes for an artist/model strategy session.  Because he was so used to painting abstracts, Kandinsky had to remember how to instruct the Russian methods of posing before teaching it.  He hadn’t used a model in years, but their figures were compelling.  He only had a few colors and two canvasses, so he knew each stroke would have to count.  The session didn’t last long.

Catherine the Great, now free to ponder the fate of America, suggested:  “A new

poverty.  That’s what this continent needs.  Mindless serfs with pure loyalty to our ideals.  The natural resources should only be in the hands of those who know how to use them.”

“How obvious,” Marley quipped.

“There has to be a way to get to the heart of the problem.  We need to meet with these people and get them motivated as soon as possible,” C. the G. suggests.

“Motivated to do what?” Woolf asked.

“To fight to save their homeland!”

“It doesn’t matter what they do.  The enslaving tactics of the Europeans will either wipe them out, or use them like they used the Africans.  I don’t think our little band of do-gooders is going to be able to win a war against all of Europe,” Marley said.

Tad, overhearing all this added:  “Look, around here I think it was the French who came in first.  We wouldn’t have to hold off all of Europe.”

Marley, not wanting to stay involved in war talk, meandered over to Allman.  He recognized Duane from the album cover of “Live at Fillmore East”.  It  was one of the albums Marley cherished.

“Aren’t you Duane Allman?”

“Sure am.”

“What do you think about all of this?”

“I can’t believe I’m in the middle of some ancient times.  Why did I show up with my motorcycle and electric guitar, when they are useless?”

“Don’t know, but I’d trade ten cups of this tea for just one cup of coffee,” Marley said, trying to tip off his identity.

“‘One Cup of Coffee,’ wasn’t that an obscure Bob Marley side from the early sixties?”

“Guess so.  Who do you think you’re talking to?”

“Oh my God!  I’m sorry man, I didn’t recognize you.  Your hair should have given it away,” Allman said.

“This is great, we can have a serious jam.”

“I saw a teenager with a guitar walking around too,” Allman said.   “He’s got an old Martin, a real beauty.  Maybe we should get together.”

“Sounds good to me, let’s go find the guy with the guitar,” Marley said, smiling.

While the two musicians went in search of Garcia, Tolkien was holding court with Mr. Rodgers and Ashley Martin.

“To limit the free choice of America’s inhabitants is unfair, yet allowing Europeans to wipe out the Indians is also unfair.  It seems to me that the Indians could have lived here indefinitely without spoiling the place.  We need to find a way to let them have it,” he said in a rather thick French accent.

Martin and Rodgers were speechless.

Jessica and Stephanie, accompanied by Kandinsky, returned to the ganohses and interrupted Nostradamus’ meditation.

“Hi, I’m Stephanie, what’s your name?”

No response.

“Excuse us for interrupting your meditation, but we were wondering why you weren’t introducing yourself,” Jessica said.

“My name is Nostradamus.”

“Nostradamus!?” Kandinsky exclaimed.

“Not the guy Orson Welles went on and on about?” Stephanie asked.

“Excuse me, but I am simply a French monk.  I have studied the stars and meditated about the future.  Apparently, I am now in the future.”

“The future?  What century do you come from?” Stephanie asked.

“Not even one-hundred years ago, by my guess.  This must be some type of second life, but I do not recognize the way you dress, or the area we are in.”

“My name is Jessica.  I was a housewife living on the outskirts of a city called Charlottesville, Virginia in the 20th Century before I died.

“I was a model,” Stephanie said.

“No doubt about that,” Kandinsky confirmed.

Nostradamus, struck by their beauty, pondered cashing vows for a four-way.   This type of kinky thought rarely infected the brain waves of Nostradamus, but everything was weird to him at this point.  He had predicted he would return in the future, but hadn’t thought it would be so soon after his death.

Wassily, looking at fate from the monk’s perspective, wondered if it was worth it to try to help, as he was invited to do, or whether painting and living life to the fullest were a valid response to the place he had been put into.

At the main meeting table, Garcia, a 20th century minstrel ponders the situation.

He had lived an entire life in the 20th Century.  He can almost remember that, but he feels and acts much younger now.  All he can distinctly remember about the 20th century was taking a trip with a friend to attend a bluegrass festival in Galax, Virginia.

They had started out in a broken down car from California.  His friend got more and more disgruntled as they drove through the desert, blew the transmission and had to start hitch-hiking.  Somewhere around Las Vegas, his friend had given up.  Undaunted, Garcia continued the trek, guitar in hand.

He remembered arriving a day late, but instantly started jamming around a huge tent with Doc Watson, the blind bluegrass legend who was the most legitimate incarnation of the music that had been transported to the hills of West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky from Ireland in the 18th Century.  Garcia realized the importance of the occasion.  It was as a teenager, with guitar in hand that he arrived in Ganandauguay.

Garcia:  “People will follow their hearts no matter what we do.  Earth is here to respond to those needs.  It will make the adjustments as necessary.  If humans waste their chance here, earth will dispatch them.”

“Dispatch, dispatch, the question here is what to do with Europeans,” Woolf clarifies.  “It’s not fair for me because the people from my island escaped injustice and followed their hearts.  Then they wiped out the Indians, as if that was what God wanted.”

This statement caused a stir in Nostradamus, so he walked over to the table.

“God!” Nostradamus screamed, “what you know of God is minimal, but listen to this theory:  planets around the universe go through relatively the same cycle.  First, the animal life finds a way to use up the resources.  When and if the inhabitants escape, they try to warn the next planet.  Thus, the bible, me, and the inevitable.  About 10% of the idiot planets don’t develop far enough before they’re used up.  You can count on earth being one of these, and it all started with the greed of the United States, dear Virginia.”

{I saw an Eskimo walking with a huge pack in an ethereal fog the other day, right

here in Roanoke, Virginia, Virginia.}  (1991)

Meanwhile, Duane began to shape extra guitar-like instruments from cat-gut and

crafted sticks he borrowed from newfound Indian friends.  Duane’s own guitar, a red hollow-body 1956 Gibson was meant to be played through an amplifier, but the hollow

body made it almost loud enough to hear over the loud singing blues of Garcia and Bob Marley.  Larsen sat in on a homemade bass, with Corcoran on drums.

Larsen’s playing could be described as rhythmic.  The correct pitch was hard to come by, as her instrument was less effective than the old washtub-broomhandle-string set-up made famous in bluegrass jug bands.

Corcoran’s “drumming” made reggae out of the question, but she at least kept up.  She was using three ceremonial drums borrowed from the back of the meeting room.  Garcia lead the singing of the ad-libbed first song, with Marley harmonizing with a vocal howl a third above in the verse and a third or fifth below in the chorus.

Garcia played rhythm guitar on Allman’s Gibson, while Allman used Garcia’s 1952 Martin to play lead slide guitar.

Ganandauguay

 

                                    There’s a special chosen place that’s caused some nasty wars.

We dropped in from all over, this place isn’t like before.

And if you love your good neighbor,

We’ll let you stay here some more.

 

 

                   Chorus:   I’m going to get back to the Ganandauguay blues.

I’m going to jump back in to the Ganandauguay blue.

My mind is blown by the beauty,

Won’t you come and join me too?

We got pretty little ladies, such wonderful sights to see.

We got nature in our souls and our minds are finally free.

And if you think you’re happy now,

Wait until you come in swimming with me.

Chorus

 

                                    (Here Duane took a major lead, drawing looks of awe from some natives who had just emerged from the woods.)

We got to keep the place as clean as it was before.

It’s been so long since this place has seen a war.

So why don’t you join me,

And we’ll find a way to even the score.

Chorus

 

                                    There’s a special chosen place that’s caused some nasty wars.

We got people from all over we never met before.

And if you love your good neighbor,

We’ll let you stay here some more.

*   *   *

            The song ended, with natives apparently howling their approval.  They had snuck in unnoticed.

They didn’t understand a word of the lyrics, but the primitive music fit their style.

The reason the natives were howling had nothing to do with the music.  They were screaming to drive these white ghosts away.  Two bows are drawn before Darting Sparrow, an up and coming young fighter, stepped in to stop what would have been an instant massacre of the invitees.

“Enihe!” Darting Sparrow shouted.  {It means “stop”.}

The evening is setting in, which makes the tension between the two groups increase with each passing firefly.

Larsen starts to work out a sign language with Darting Sparrow.

“Look, I think he understands that we have come from the future,” she said to Virginia Woolf.

“As long as what you are saying keeps him from turning on us, we’ll be all right,” Woolf responded.

“He’s too young to have any authority,” Kandinsky pointed out.

“But if he’s a scout, we need to convince him we’re on his side, or we could all get killed before we even know what year it is, no less where the heck we are,” Larsen said.

Larsen pulled out a handkerchief and made it into the shape of a heart.  She opened her hand and closed it on the hanky to make the representation of a beating heart.  She then held the beating heart to her chest and made a motion like she was pulling her own heart out of her chest.  She danced around with bent knees and showed the heart to all the natives.  Again they howled.

“He eh  ni ye” Darting Sparrow said.  {Loosely translated – don’t do that.}

It really was scaring some scouts, other were just mad that she was able to one-up

Darting Sparrow.  He had to get her back, but then Larsen offered him the hanky.

Again the crowd howled.

Larsen bent on her knee, kept the heart throbbing, and again offered it to Darting Sparrow.  Darting Sparrow smiled and accepted the heart.  He even showed the cloth to his companions, and pretended to keep the heart beating.

This display lasted long enough for more natives to arrive.  The meeting house was the destination of the Turtle clan.  The Turtle clan ran through the Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawk and Onodowaga.  Even though they had previously had wars with these other tribes, the members of the Onodowaga, Turtle clan had a closer relationship with other Turtle clan members from the other tribe, than most of the members of other clans in their own tribe.

Since Larsen and her friends had arrived in the Snipe clan’s meeting house, it was going to be up to the Turtle clan to accept them, banish them, torture them or kill them.

Darting Sparrow repeated the heart demonstration to the elders of his clan.  Larsen again tried to explain in sign language that they were from the future.  The clan decided to take their discovery to the entire meeting that night.

Jessica, Stephanie and Katherine B. were already getting some attention from their native hosts.  The men were smiling at them.  The women were pawing at their clothes.

“Agwas do ges ogethae henoyo goh ganoohgwa sha,” Darting Sparrow said. {It’s really true, I talked [to them] they come in love.}

The elders talked about their guests and seemed to trust Darting Sparrow’s faith in their peaceful intentions.  Jack almost ruined it for everybody when coming inside from his hacky-sack game.

“What’s going on here, for Christ’s sakes,” Jack said in a rough sarcastic tone.

“Cool it Jack, Jeanne went through a pantomime that convinced the Indians we were coming in peace.  I don’t think they like your tone,” Jessica said.

“Tone!?  They’re the ones howling all the time!  Here we are stuck out in the middle of the woods in God knows which century and you’re going to knit-pick about tone?  You’re more uptight than your hoity-toity Charlottesville neighbors!”

“Look Jack,” Katherine B. interjected, “first of all, don’t get on the Shenandoah valley, I live there too.  Secondly, keep it down.  If the natives get the idea that we’re not united then they won’t treat us all the same.  the way I see it, we have the upper hand.  They may even treat us as special guests as long as we remain calm and act like mature adults.”

“All right then, it’s starting to get dark, who’s going to sleep where, and with whom?”

“You’re a pig, Jack,” Katherine B.  said.

The argument humored the natives.  Jeanne walked over to the combatants.

“Look, we’ve got to be a little more civil.  These people are now laughing at you.  We have a chance to impress them with our knowledge.  Our first goal has to be to communicate with them.  If we can’t impress them, we’ll be dead.”

“We don’t have to impress anybody.  This is like a second life for me.  I’m going to have fun at it.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about why we were “invited” here by some sophomore.  I mean she’s fairly cute, but I don’t have to date the hostess.  You seem like you’ve got your head on straight.  What do you say we blow this meeting house and go out by the fire?”                                                       “No thanks.”

“Fine,”  Jack said as he turned to Jessica and the others.  “Anybody up for a little sing around the campfire?”

 

 

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.