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A Different Kind of Indian
Fiction by John Biggs
Part 2 of 2
Previous (page 37)  |  Return to Contents  |  Next (page 39)
(page 38 of 93)

A Different Kind of Indian
Fiction by John Biggs
Part 2 of 2

Keywords: eleventh transmission, poetry, fiction, photography, visual art, spoken word, film, socially engaged,
political, human experience, writing, satire, photojournalism, activist art, activism, socially conscious, art

A Different Kind of Indian

by John Biggs


Mom says girlfriends aren’t important, but she moved us to Oklahoma
City so she could be with hers—even though Chris is white. Mom says
some white people are just fine. Especially lesbians. In the end
everything comes down to girls.

Chris says a girlfriend will happen at exactly the right time. “The way it
did for your mom and me. That’s Karma.” Lesbians must all know
about Karma.

“Meanwhile you should get a dog,” she says. “A dog will let you be
yourself. A dog doesn’t care about your lifestyle or how much money
you have.” Chris is driving me to school because I slept in late. Indians
get up with the sun, so maybe sleeping in late means I am finally fitting

Chris says, “A dog doesn’t care what kind of car you drive.”

I think she is talking about her old Volvo with the rusted fenders and
the cracked windshield and the engine that works perfectly except for
a little blue smoke.

“I don’t have a car,” I tell her. “I don’t have a drivers license.”

“A dog wouldn’t care about that either,” she says.

We are a block from my school and I can already see some students
walking in, smoking cigarettes, flipping cars the bird. The girls all look
pretty and the boys all look mean. No dogs anywhere around.

“Let me out here,” I say, but Chris is busy sharing her worldly
knowledge so she doesn’t pay attention. Pretty soon it will be too late.
Maybe it’s already too late, because it’s impossible to go invisible
when you are riding in a rusty old Volvo with a lesbian who looks like

“I can walk from here,” I tell her, but she is still going on about how
dogs are so much better than girlfriends.

When she pulls into the drive-through to let me off, one of the cigarette-
smoking guys flips her off. The pretty girls all laugh. I can hear them
through the Volvo’s cracked windshield.

Chris slams on the brakes and jumps out of the car. The Volvo’s
engine doesn’t stop right away, and Chris doesn’t stop either. She can
kick anybody’s ass—even the jocks are afraid. The cigarette smokers
scatter before her the way the U.S. Cavalry scattered before Joseph
Little Wolf’s great-great grandpa. She could catch them if she wanted,
but she just puts her hands on her hips and spits. She will take no
scalps today.

I jump out of the car and run to the front door, like I’m scared of her
too. I’m not exactly ashamed of Chris, but I don’t want to be seen with
her. I don’t want the other kids asking questions. I’m a little bit
ashamed of the things I don’t want. It’s hard to go invisible when you
feel that way.

No people in the hall, as if everyone is hiding from something I don’t
know about. The lights are dim, the way they get before the power
goes out completely. It hasn’t done that much in this part of Oklahoma
City. Chris says that’s because this is the newest part of town with
buried power lines and good transformers. I walk back to the front
doors to see if she is gone.

Before I get there I hear footsteps move in behind me. Two people,
scraping their heels across the floor like they don’t care about leaving
marks. White kids, pretending to be thugs. Chris says moms never
know when their boys act like gangsters. I wish she was here right
now, because the thug-steps head my way.

“Hey Geronimo!” Only one of them speaks. He thinks it is an insult to
call me by a dead Apache’s name.

I practice my quiet Indian ways while I wait to see if they will take
things past the talking stage.

Chris would say, “There are only two of them.”

Mom would say, “That’s two too many.”

I don’t say anything, but I turn and give them my best Joseph Little
Wolf expression while the lights dim in the hallway and there are no
coaches anywhere around.

“Did your girlfriend drive you to school?” The talker makes a nasty
looking gesture with both hands that probably has something to do
with sex.

They stop six paces back, well beyond the danger zone. The lights
dim more, except for a pair of halogens canisters above my head.
Those keep me illuminated while the hallway fluorescents fade to
black. I’m the only show in town. I consider running into the darkness,
but then I’d have to look at a coward’s face when I practice being
popular in front of the mirror.

I raise my hands into what I think must be a pretty good boxing stance,
but there’s laughter beyond my zone of light and the sound of thug
steps closing in, and I wonder if Mom is right about the white man’s
world falling apart, because I know she’s right about two being two
too many.

A light flashes behind me. Once, twice, three times, bright and
stroboscopic, like the light shows at rave parties I’ve only heard about.
The two white boys move in jerky motions, but they move toward me.
So when the lights start flashing again I hit the closest one in the nose,
and swing a wild punch at the other. It lands somewhere soft, but I
don’t know exactly where until the fluorescent lights come on. He’s
lying on the floor with both hands on his stomach.

A cheer goes up in the classrooms. It’s for the lights coming back on,
but it still feels good. The next three flashes don’t look so impressive
now that the hallway is fully lit.

I turn and see a girl with a camera. She takes a few more pictures of
the thugs on the hallway floor, who are looking for their gangster ways
on their hands and knees.

“These won’t make the school paper,” the girl tells me. “But I can give
you all the prints as you want.”

She says, “I’ve been watching you for a while.”

I wonder how that’s possible. She must know how to go invisible like
me. Like a real Indian. The girl isn’t pretty right away, but she turns
prettier as she talks and she is really pretty when she smiles. Brown
hair, brown eyes, a little taller than I am, but she makes up for it by

Her eyes look at the floor. “Been meaning to talk to you for a while.
This seemed like the perfect time.”

“Perfect.” I extend my hand white businessman style again. This time it

“My name’s Joseph,” I tell her, even though I’m sure she already
knows. I don’t say my last name because I remember what happened
in the locker room.

“Mine’s Karma.” Her voice cracks a little, but her eyes sparkle in the
fluorescent lights when they meet mine.

Karma, what else could it be?   

Poetry by j. fisher.
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