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37. Drunken Tarrier


"Nora?" It came out of my throat like a death rattle. "Mom?" I lifted my head from the table. My cheek was wet?I had been drooling. She was cold. She didnt move. I saw Shaman standing at the glass doors, Gypsy slumped at his feet. An acrid vapor rose from Gypsys flesh. The color was steaming out of it, yellow to grey to black. "Nora?"

"Im you," Shaman said. He was looking out into the desert, not at me. He drilled without spirit, like a drunken tarrier, never noticing how dull his bit was since my epoche. "Im you"?a tired song, water on water; Id seen my fulcrum, Id glimpsed who I was, though I too was tired.

Shaman angled and bobbed his head, peering past his Space People at Izzys band. "Peripherized," he muttered. "The sly dog!"

He turned toward me and lifted his chin; I knew he wanted me to come to him, to stand at his side. My body felt leaden. My pulse echoed in my skin. I had to leave Nora and go to him. He put his arm around my shoulders.

Down below, the Space People leaned toward us like heliotropes to the sun. Sarvaduhka was hugging Izzys saddle bags. Lila covered her eyes and drew her head down between her shoulders as if she could withdraw like a turtle into its shell. The force of Shamans thought flung Johnny Abilene into the sand; posing there before the glass, Shaman spoke to everyone?inside their own heads.

"This is my property. Hes me. Here is my fountain, my ancient spring. Hes me. His deep waters sired and nurtured me until I ripped out my umbilicus and dammed Abu for my own pleasure. Hes me. Abu will remain on Earth forever. Abu?Hes me?is my eternal life."

"But Shaman," I said, "Im not you."



36. Plan B | Izzy and the Father of Terror | 38. Officer Domingo s Conclusion