The Road to Ol' Minnie's



We'd been driving for what seemed like all night but was really only about an hour since leaving the trading post. The sky was moonless but brilliant with The Milky Way spanning from horizon to horizon 360º. The pavement came to an end, and then after maybe a mile, the dirt road also, at a fire burning in an old metal oildrum surrounded by a sorry collection of dilapidated trailers. A truck idled there, we could see the silhouette of a head through the dirty rear window and that bowler hat looked mighty familiar. The truck door opened and out stepped Wibble, the burly Indian from the trading post. Lily and I exchanged perplexed looks, mine more so than hers. She didn't seem all that surprised that Wibble was waiting for us. "What are you doing here? And how?", I asked. The road we had been on was straight as an arrow with no turnoffs anywhere and no one had passed us. 

"I'm here to take you to 'Ol Minnie's place. The How I can't tell ya", he winked, "Rez secret."

"She doesn't live here?" Lily asked. 

"Nah, she says it's too crowded", he shrugged, opening the passenger door of his truck. Crowded? There were 3 trailers and what was either a shed or an outhouse. We got in, all of us in the front seat and headed north along a dirt track. Not a juniper tree in sight, only high grass swept by a bitter wind. I marveled at the sparkling stars. I was used to the vastness of the Arizona sky but something was different up here on the rez. It seemed to be alive and moving but not in any way that was perceptible. Suddenly part of it went black, not like cloud-covered black, but total blackout. "What the hell is that!", I said more to myself than from any expectation of getting a logical answer.

"It's a ship", Wibble said matter-of-factly. 

"A ship", I repeated Wibble's deadpan assessment but with a bit of awe mixed with a whole lot of disbelief. Have you ever had a moment when you realized that the things that were happening to you had far larger implications than you could ever have imagined. That's what was happening to me. There's probably some psyco-spiritual term for it like "shift-in-awareness". Simply put, my mind was blowing. 

"A UFO", Lily clarified, "have you never seen one."

I was slingshot back to my usual wtf attitude, "No I've never seen one! Have you?"

"You live right in front of Mesa Redondo. How is it possible that you haven't seen them. That's like their landing pad", Lily said.

"Them!", and I was back to mind-blown.

"Yeah, me & Koa used to watch them over Redondo when we lived in the tipi over on Orina's forty. The first time was a few days after Avé was born, Koa was standing outside with her. It was past sundown, maybe 9 or 10, and he sees a huge mothership hovering over Redondo and smaller crafts flying all around the sky. He starts yelling for me to come outside. I saw them just as they were all going up into the big ship. Then the whole thing sped away. We thought it might have been the datura we were trippin on but the next day at sweat, Tim shows up, tells the same story as he saw it from out at Pongovi."

My head was swimmy, not just from what Lily was saying, but we were going directly underneath the big patch of blacked-out sky, then my forehead began tingling. I rubbed it, "Do you guys feel that?", before anybody could answer, that ship lit up like a Christmas tree, flooding the truck and surrounding expanse with blinding white light. Lily clutched my arm but Wibble was unfazed, like nothing strange was transpiring at all. Then just as suddenly the light went out and the sky was star-filled once again. "Ok, we're through it", he said.

"Through what?", I don't know which of us asked that question, we were both sort of stunned.

"The portal", with that blanket statement, Wibble pulled up next to 'Ol Minnie's shack, which I didn't even see a minute ago. 

Lily & I got out of the truck with our offerings but Wibble stayed put. "Aren't you coming in?" I said.

Wibble pulled a comic book out of the glove box, "Nah, gotta catch up on some readin. Anyways Minnie'll just bug me about the cigarettes she thinks I owe her."



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