Chapter 2: Woo Hoo
(El saguaro and the Eternal Ethereal War)
Chapter 2: Woo Hoo
(El saguaro and the Ethereal War)
Harvey Novona had lost track of where he was, like falling asleep at the wheel in a daydream, he didn’t know what astral vector he was leaving and which star orbit he was entering. He looked out into the immense blackness of the empty freeway of distant space he couldn't relate to and sighed. His partner and friend who only went by the name of Paco was pleasantly sleeping in the glistening wrap bag between the kitchen galley and the cockpit of their ship, Amen I. Harvey donned a dusted beige 10-gallon astronauts hat and helmet that had the name of their ship crudely drawn on the sides, Amen I. Harvey was a blue-blooded American Christian pilot and the only word he could ever agree on with his partner was “Amen”. Harvey would say the same tired prayer every night before they ate in training and the only response he got from all the Mexicans and latinos was when he said “Amen”. So Harvey said “Fuck it” and named his ship “Amen I” or more so, “so be it”.
The day that he was assigned to his ship with Paco, Harvey had snuck 10 extra rations of freeze-dried pork belly and 3 bottles of American whiskey and they became instant friends. Friendship was as a reliable a commodity as was a good spaceship, so they drunkenly painted the sides of their vessel and helmet hats with a black and red paint that could withstand the hottest temperatures in the vacuum of the weightless unknown.
“Fucking space dust looks like a bag of cornmeal” Harvey muttered as he blew hot air from his musty breath onto a small black kerchief he carried in his left back pocket.
He could feel the slow rumble of the milky cosmos gushing like gooey molasses churning around the Amen I, churning like space and time were being muddled in a splintery butter barrel.
“These fucking blue sons of bitches, should kill all of them”. Harvey continued this one sided dialogue out loud in their shiny aluminum can space ship.
The “Blue sons of bitches” he was cursing were the cancerously cantankerous Mandoloids, a foreign, alien civilazation from billions of light years away in the universe.
Harvey and Paco, along with hundreds of other duo missions, had been dispatched with a spaceship bellies worth of atomic weapons and an agenda to find the planet the Mandoloids were currently roosting and infesting.
Harvey and Paco didn't know much about the Mandoloids other than they were an interplanetary disease species that swarmed planets with carbon based life, absorbing the life and nutrients of each dandling orb until there was nothing left but desolation and death.
“Paco, you fucking guy... must be nice to snooze away while I’m up here in the pit.” Harvey smiled as he thought of his simple, brut friend. Paco could sleep carelessly through meteors, comet debris and the vicious turbulence that shook and showered the Amen like a desert monsoon swirling a bramble of branches and feathers and trash.
Harvey turned the noise reduction knob up so that his ship became serene and silent and his friend could sleep. He wondered what Paco was dreaming about.
The small stature and mild mannered daily rituals of the Oaxaca people were visible to both the bearded white men wanting big, booming fire sticks buried deep into the hillsides beside villages of many people and the foreigner, petite, skinny eyed Chinese families scurrying like rabbits when one of their Father men dug with his hands into those hills and exploded like the dirt with the rest of the blasting earth.
They say that the people of the Oaxacan Desert have eyes cast down and thick, bushy eyebrows in order to keep focused on what the present day demanded of them.
Paco was a small and non-haired man with big, strong hands that could pick cactus needles out of thick skins of squash and lift smooth, round river boulders whose weight was twice his size. Paco could peel 3 shucks of corn before his grandmother could take one out of the basket. Paco could watch the river or the lake for many hours and feel the fish he would catch and place them gently into a basket and carry that basket 5 kilometers on his left shoulder, in diligence and sustenance for his family.
Sometimes, when Paco and his grandmother sat by the river washing agave and cactus fruit she would ask him,
“I have seen fast women break the kernels of dried corn and mash it into meal quickly, and I have seen mountain chested men and fathers wait for a fish for hours and come back to our people with nothing more than a misplaced emotion on a misplaced face.”
Paco’s face would smirk on the right hand corner like a fool and his grandmother would smile and say this
“Your hands are fast boy”
And then his grandmother would take one of her leathery hands, wet from the river water and gently place it on his ankle and say this, “Your legs are like a wind”
Paco’s Grandmothers lifetime of complete blindness was astute and affirming for a boy that could see everything she could not. Paco whimpered under a heavy and hot breath
“I hope you are still alive Grandmother...”
The creek started at the basin of a vertical fall and the water flowed like an angered snake writhing and wriggling in pain. The Yaqui people sat at the foot of the basin at the end of the small water stream
waiting for bigger fish to fall into the smaller pools below. The strongest ones of the village harnessed and tied long branches of hard wood to their bodies. The tops of the longest branches stripped from the tallest trees the men could reach were topped with and tied with the leather from their cattle, sheep and small animals and at the tops held a hard and sharp rock.
It was easy to tie one onto the end of a stick.
Grandmother splashed louder than usual and sighed high into the great expanse of the space where the bright lights swing.
“They are sending me into the sky. I am going into a rock beast into the air...”
Paco’s grandmother had taught him to collect beautiful stones and berries and the birthed bounty of the desert that hugged their people and village. Her favorite thing to find were feathers that fell of the crooked wings of old birds and hawks and eagles. She gifted Paco a leathery coyote skin adorned in beads one night Paco was sitting alone by the edge of a drinking stream.
Paco’s grandmother was silent by the rivers edge as he peered down at his feather satchel and he knew that the light inside her had blown into the winds that carried the birds into the big black sea of the sky.
Paco grabbed his grandmothers body out of the river and carried her back to the village on his right hand shoulder, his feather satchel dragging in the red sand from his left shoulder. A blue singing bird dawdled in the arid sky above Paco and a small plume of feathers cascaded around him as he carried his grandmothers lifeless body to the village that she never left.
Harvey slowly gyrated his 2 shoulders horizontally as slowly as the rest of his crickitty and decrepit carcass could carry him. He slithered oily and sticky like cold glue on the adhesive side of a forgettable painting of an angry, thick eye-browed, mustachioed donning portrait of a tyrants face plastered on the wall of a scared family in a dying country.
Harvey hobbled to the stern of the ship and briskly shook Paco with his right hand, stirring Paco’s floating consciousness from whatever realm of memories he was reliving.
Pacos nose chortled and snarled and his left hand clutched for the hanging bag at his side.
“We’re here Packer. Gear up, I am gonna turn the ships gravity off. Do it now or else your dicks gonna be floating around trying to get in your damn pants.” Harvey was walking away as his voice got louder and stirred Paco awake.
“We there?” Paco mumbled through a sleepy left side of his drooled over mouth. “I bring tools?”
Harvey stopped his clunky walk in the circular entrance to the dimly lit cockpit and growled without turning around,
“Bring your tools Packer, but leave that leather bag...” Harvey slowed his speech mid sentence because he knew that Paco would bring his bag of bullshit trinkets and feathers no matter what was said.
“ah, Fuck it, I don’t care, bring it, your just leaving a cookie crumb trail to those blue assholes.”
Paco was already scrambling like a viscous mass into his life support system, his chattel satchel was already tied around the suits left arm. Pacos eyes widened like a child and he clasped the his gloves on, wrenching his for his helmet and putting it under his arm.
“Lets go there Harvey, we are ready... Ready to go” Paco exclaimed nearly jumping up as the gravity was turned off on the ship.
Harvey zipped his suit up, holstered his gun and grabbed the tool box of explosives. He walked back to a fully awake Paco who was still clutching his helmet because he did not know how to put it on himself.
Harvey latched the bronze polymer clasps of the helmet onto Pacos shoulders as the ships auto-pilot took the Amen out of orbit and down to the red planet below it. The hatch door of the rear end of the ship would open and Harvey and Paco would walk out onto this alien planet to lay down the tool box of explosives in a ditch. The proximity
screen of the Amen had been blinking bright red ceaselessly for the better part of Pacos sleep. They had found the roost of the Mandoloids.