Dear friends and family,
Here’s the third and final excerpt from upcoming Moojie Littleman Trilogy, Book 2: The Boy Who Killed Time. I’m finishing the novel and other projects, so I’ll be posting occasional interviews and articles for a while. But for now, I’d like to introduce you to Abu, Moojie’s sidekick…
An account of the sage discourse that passes between Moojie and Abu, wherein much is revealed to complicate our ingenious hero’s plot
A long time ago, a holy man from Spain told Abu the map of his life could be found on his palms. When he looked at Abu’s hands, his brow furrowed and his left eye twitched. “You are leading a double life,” he said. The next time they met, Abu said, “Tell me something I don’t know.” To this the holy man said, “You will father a new race.” Abu grinned. “Either that,” said the holy man, “or you will grow fat.” Disgruntled, Abu asked if there was anything else? The holy man said, “There is no future in goats.”
Abu never could remember the holy man’s name. Anyhow, it was not important, he was long gone before Moojie came along. They met when the young Moojie was living in the village, a foundling adopted by Henry and Kate Littleman. Abu was a salesclerk at the grocery and dry goods store, at least until the pandemonium demolished the village. He and a handful of villagers took refuge in emergency shelters they erected in the fields of St. Isidore’s. By the time San Miguel was rebuilt, everyone but Abu had left the dairy. He helped dismantle the emergency shelters in the South field of the sprawling ranch, and soon moved into the barn quarters where he slept in the tack room on a roughhewn hammock. His walls were lined with musty-smelling books, stacked floor to ceiling, and his illustrious wardrobe of vests, breeches, and hats hung amid bridles and halters.
Apart from an insatiable appetite for food and literature, he had taken up knitting—spinning and knitting. He made goat-hair cushions stuffed with straw, which he used as cushions to keep the fainters from hitting his book stacks. He had never confided in anyone regarding his true origin. His almond-husk complexion and dark eyes advertised a mysterious foreign ancestry, and, in keeping with the times, he knew he must never let down his guard. Family? He never spoke of it.
Long after the Thanksgiving guests left the dairy, Abu was lounging in his hammock, swinging slightly, letting his beloved pigeon, Teresa, peck pellets from his hand.
Moojie knocked on the door and entered with a milking stool to sit on. “Driftin’, it’s kind of like a wing and a prayer, isn’t it?” He was weighing in on whether or not to trust the ranch hand to take him to Uta.
Abu made a “maybe” face.
“Faintin’ goats were never what I had in mind for the future,” Moojie said. “The poor things cramp up and topple over every time the wind blows…I should just heal them.”
“So they are different,” Abu said. “What is wrong with different? You above all should know there is nothing wrong with different.”
It was true that Moojie didn’t begin to talk at a normal age, and the whole village thought he never would. It was also true that he walked with crutches most of his early life. Not so long ago, villagers hung out their windows or gathered their children away from him as he passed by on his crutches. “There’s that half-breed cripple,” they whispered. “Found him in a bucket outside the chapel.” He pretended to be immune to their words and stares. His adoptive mother had kept him out of school and tutored him privately. She used to say, “If life were all sunshine and chocolate, there wouldn’t be any saints, and we’d never find our way back to heaven.”
“If it hadn’t been for the Light-Eaters,” Moojie said, “I might never have learned how to heal, how to forgive the villagers.”
“It is true, one must heal oneself before ministering to others.”
“How do you know so much about it?” Moojie asked. You’re not a Light-Eater.”
“Let us just say, where I come from, drifting is not only possible, it is a possibility.”
“Where’d you come from, anyway?”
“You would never believe it.”
“Very funny,” Moojie said, not believing him. He was in no mood for jokes.
“I speak the truth! Whereas I cannot read minds, speak world languages, or heal the sick, I am a planet-jumper, able to travel the dimensions. However, I am not supernatural in the least. Not even a halfkin.”
Moojie looked at him sideways. “So, what are you doing here?”
“I am looking for a place to settle down.”
Moojie paused to think.
“If that’s true, maybe you’re better off not bein’ a Light-Eater. They were hunted like crooks. It’s like Pappy and McTavish, and all the villagers who mistook them for American Indians, were shootin’ at their own guilt. They turned blind eyes to the broken treaties. Heck, as an Army officer, Pappy did his worst, when all along this dairy was probably stolen from the Indians.”
“Resembling the natives made it worse for the Light-Eaters,” Abu said.
“No wonder they holed up in the hills.”
Abu stroked his pigeon’s head. “In a world where you felt no sense of family or belonging, you identified with the outliers,” he said to Moojie. “You became their Robin Hood.”
“They came here to save stupid people from themselves. If only they were here now to save me from my so-called family.”***