The shaman took his time having his people string him up across the crossed wood branches they had tied together in the middle, with eagle claws hooked into his pectoral muscles, attached to thongs for the ceremony. He planned to hang by his pectoral muscles with the eagle claws in him, until he had the most intense visions imaginable. He had ingested enough peyote to keep him tripping all night long, and had some of the pipe to smoke, too. They were all gathered in their sacred place, where the ancestors came to visit, if things were done right.
It was a night of power for the old shaman.
Finally, the eagle claws were stabilized in his flayed pectoral muscles, while the braves hoisted him up on the cut limbs of the butchered tree, with thongs and eagle claws holding the shaman securely by his chest. The pain was awesome. There was a time Corlous would have enjoyed calling out, but that would have been a sign of weakness in that situation, and Corlous did not want to lend a sign of weakness things. There was more power in the whole situation if he remained quiet throughout.
He was the first to see the ancestors.
The first to appear were Aunt Flo and Aunt Ida. Aunt Flo was the one who had the long braids wrapped around the crown of her head. She had been the treasurer of a whole company, from before the time there were even manual calculators, and she had systematically bought the old blue chip stock, back when it was all nickel and dime shares of common securities. Aunt Vi had always had a good job that paid her well, since just after the war, and when Aunt Flo died and left her all that blue chip stock, well, Aunt Vi just kept it and watched it grow.
It was like a garden for Aunt Vi. She was always watching her nest egg grow.
The good thing about that practice was that some of the shares just kept on splitting, and many of the shares kept on compounding in value, every time she’d turn around. She had been presented with some of the shares as a young woman, and never had to cash any of them for any reason. Aunt Vi just hung on to the compounding shares of blue chips, and the exciting thing about it was that the appreciating value of it was something that she watched happen right before her eyes.
It was irregular that the women would come to visit before the men, but sure enough, there they were. Mom and Aunt Vi were little girls, next, and all were running from the Too Many to Count, who were shooting at them, charging on horseback. Corlous reached for his bow, and came up empty handed. Corlous was caught by the rider coming up behind him then. He was on foot, and was shot in the back, until he sprawled forward in an uncontrolled fall.
The pain racked his body from head to toe. Nothing could quench his pain. There was more pain to be endured than Corlous had anticipated. As he lay in the hospital bed, the shaman did his best to endure all the pain he was getting. Corlous was a man who had been falling all his life, because of a lot of various reasons. To trace all of his reasons for falling would be pointless. He had finally broken a hip, and was in the hospital preparing for hip surgery. Mom and Aunt Vi were right there with him, in the form of two little girls being playful with Corlous in his situation.
No one could see them but they were a comfort to him nonetheless.
The next thing Corlous remembered was fighting the pain while the tech had him on the x ray table, trying her best to get a clear picture of his broken hip. He asked the x ray tech to get the nurse down there to give him a dose of some kind of potion, so he could abide with the contortions he was expected to go through to get a clean picture of his hip. The nurse showed up after awhile, and his IV was filled with some kind of script, to make him more comfortable under the circumstances.
There were definitely conflicting experiences going on with the shaman. He had all kinds of hallucinatory medicines to help him see, and he had anti-pain medicine when he was found to be too far under, in the hospital, before the surgery. The scenery of the situation fluctuated significantly for a month or better, as Corlous fought the pain he was in constantly. The doctor told him after the operation that the upper ball of his femur had been shattered, and that was why he was in so much pain before surgery.
The shaman, Corlous, was dosed with this and dosed with that, and the next thing he saw was Grandma Maude and Grandpa Stanley, when they were all still young people, from a very long time ago, before Corlous’ time altogether. Grandpa had always had thin hair on his head. This encounter was very powerful, because Grandma and Grandpa had not been those ages for a very long time. These were all good visions for Corlous to behold, and he embraced his visions with enthusiasm.
The ancestors were definitely manifesting themselves in his environment.
The x ray tech was very nice to him, considering he was having trouble speaking, and some of the people around him in the hospital were likely to run all over him, to get whatever they wanted from him. This was a fact of life for Corlous at the time, and many of the thrills of pain he was enduring were not the least bit necessary, if all those Democrats would only just slow down and listen to the shaman. There was quite a bit of feedback he could have given the professionals in a lot of those situations, had he ever gotten the chance to say such things.
But, finally, the x ray sessions were all over and done with, and the shaman was returned to his hospital bed, stoned to the hilt on a whole host of chemicals. In the morning, they tried to slip a Let Him Die bracelet on his wrist, but he wouldn’t let them do it. When he got to the OR, he told them all he was a Full Code, and took it for granted he had used the right expression. It was an expression Richard had used, and Richard was experienced in such things. Corlous woke up four hours later, with a hip that was far less painful than it had been ever since his fall.
The man was really backed up against a wall with all the pain he had to endure, but he had succeeded in handling all of it rather well, if he had to say so, himself. He was given time to just lay up in the hospital bed, and took a blood transfusion of at least two viols of blood in his arm before they were done with him. The nurses left him there to sleep after surgery, and he was more interested in getting attention, than any of the strangers at the hospital were willing to give him.
His adopted daughter would have made over him if she would have been there.
He was thinking about all sorts of wonderful things about his adopted daughter, who had come to visit him at lighthouse, just before the ambulance had gotten there to take him away for surgery. She had visited him at the hospital before the procedure, too. He had all this noise going on in his head about what a wonderful young lady she’d been to him, the whole time she had been associating with him over the time he’d known her.
There were all sorts of things he imagined about her that escaped him rather quickly later on.
There was nothing he could have done to keep her away from him for the entire month he was in rehab learning to walk again. But she stayed away anyway. PT had come to his bedside the day after surgery, and everyday thereafter, and he was struggling to do all the things physical therapy wanted him to do. It was a tug of war with the professional people who were trying to push Corlous into walking again. He was doing quite a lot to just regain his feet, if he happened to be sitting or lying down in the first place.
The man was very weak, so much so that he could not raise his feet into his bed without someone to help him. They wouldn’t let him alone about getting on his feet. It was a constant in his environment in rehab, the PT coming, to get him out of bed and walking with a walker that they wouldn’t let him keep by his bedside so he could have used to go to the privy. They kept after him to get up, get up. But when he walked to the privy without a walker, because they wouldn’t let him keep one, they gave him the most stern scoldings about how he would never be able to walk again if he ever fell down again.
He couldn’t please them.
Corlous didn’t know whether he was supposed to get up or stay down.
Aunt Ida and Aunt Flo were feeding Corlous and Ruthie cookies and cool-aide, when the two and three year old’s were over at their place visiting when they were in Bond Hill visiting Grandma and Grandpa. That’s really all Corlous and Ruthie were at that time. Two and three. They weren’t any age at all, and they told the old ones they could find Grandma and Grandpa’s house really easily, from the house where the two old ladies lived. The women took the children at their word, and the children totterer away from Aunt Flo and Aunt Ida, who were a couple of Grandma’s sisters.
The only thing that saved them was that Corlous recognized Grandma’s trash cans out in the back of the house. They had taken to the ally way rather than to the street, and had approached the place from the back yard. It was the right place, though, and there were so many times after that, when Corlous was young and brave, he would listen to that still, small voice in his heart like his life depended on it, because he realized it did.
Kim was banished from Corlous’ life after that. She had proved herself to be a gold digger, and Corlous was sorely ill used about it. He had been totally obsessed about the girl the whole way through rehab, and it was about time he just drummed her out of his life. The shaman had lost friend after friend over the idea that he refused to let Kim go, but then, she made it impossible for him to get away from her, until her chances went South.