Being THANKSGIVING I thought it an appropriate time to give you a sneak peek into Book 2 of The Nexus: The Yule King as this part concerns THANKSGIVING. It is of course subject to change as is often the case with a work in progress.
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Text copyright © 2015 Ian Cadena
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Silence draped the CONUNDRUM CAFÉ.
They entered wearing black gowns. Martha looked elegant, Glenda frumpy, and Dorothy homely (she even had her LIFE’S A WITCH AND THEN YOU FLY apron on).
“Well, well, well,” Joe smiled at the entrance of the Sisters Grimm. “It’s only your second time in here,” he noted their recoil from the crowd’s reaction. “If you become regulars I’m sure the abrupt pauses will stop.” And sure enough as soon as he finished that sentence the patrons went back to their conversations. “See,” Joe chuckled. “So to what do I owe the pleasure? Are you here for my seasonal sensations? A turkey omelette? Meredith’s signature pumpkin pancakes or Pumpkin pie French toast? Turkey bacon and sweet potato turkey hash?”
“I am sure they are quite delectable,” Martha answered for the three. Glenda’s head hobbled around the crowd of the CONUNDRUM on guard for any attackers. Dorothy admired the menu and items behind the curved glass display. Martha continued, “We are here for all of those things I believe in a manner of speaking—”
“So you want something to eat?”
“No, what I meant is that we are here to discuss the season, as you mentioned, and to make our presence more known here in Ravencrest—”
“Yeah, with a fireball,” Joe said under his breath.
Glenda’s head snapped from surveillance of the crowd to Joe. Dorothy’s eyes shot from the display case to Joe as well. Martha never glanced away from him.
“Hey,” Joe chuckled, “don’t worry. I’m not telling. Besides, Bernice Dinah is blaming it all on me anyway.”
“Yes, we did read that in the paper,” said Martha regrettably.
“Oh, I don’t care. I’m the Sacmo of the tribe here. She can’t do anything.”
“Hail to the chief!” Dorothy chimed.
“Exactly,” Joe pointed at her amused. “Oh, and let’s not forget your participation at the Bazaar in the evening. I’ve never known you ladies to be out of your house on Halloween night.”
“Precisely my point,” Martha cocked her square jaw down at Joe as she eased her eyes on him. “There is much change going on in Ravencrest—”
“It’s in the air I can feel it,” said Joe eagerly.
“No doubt. And with that change I would like to propose a celebration of sorts.”
“Do you mean something besides the Yule Ball?”
“Yes,” Martha said carefully. She wasn’t sure how Joe would react. “We were thinking something for Thanksgiving—”
“A parade! What a fantastic idea!” Bernice Dinah appeared. “That is just what this town needs!” Her face unfolded a large toad grin as though she just swallowed an earthworm.
“That is not exactly what we had in mind—”
“We just had a parade,” Joe added grumpily.
“Oh,” Bernice swatted her hand out, “that wasn’t a parade. That was a procession,” she made no bones about hiding her disdain for the Day of the Dead celebration. “I mean a real parade, like the big cities do. It would bring more consumers to Ravencrest. And it would be fantastic to celebrate the Pilgrims bringing tools and civility to your people,” she displayed her sap filled smile.
Glenda rolled her unpatched eye to Bernice. Martha and Dorothy stepped sideways away from her.
Joe leaned in on his knuckles over the counter to Bernice. “My people see Thanksgiving as a Day of Mourning. Your ‘Saints’ or ‘Puritans’ as they called themselves, not ‘Pilgrims,’ did not bring civility to my people. They brought measles, small pox, and a whole lot of other diseases that Native Americans had no immunities to, wiping out tribes and decimating nations…”
Bernice leaned back away from Joe’s wrath with a large sigh, looking annoyed rather than embarrassed.
“…The Nations in these areas already practiced civility. They were spiritual, hospitable and generous. Yet, it was the Puritans that robbed their graves and stole their winter provisions. The Wampanoag attacked in response to these insults and desecrations but they were frightened off by your ‘tools;’ your guns. It was an Abenaki leader that spoke English that helped negotiate a treaty between the Puritans and Wampanoags. But that treaty favored the Puritans as they never saw Indians as their equals; not even the ones they converted to Christianity. They saw our people as related to their fictitious Devil. They saw us as barbarous savages. And it was the Pequots who would pay that day; the day a white man was found killed. The Pequots were blamed and John Mason commanded the Connecticut forces that massacred them. He proposed that massacre could destroy an enemy’s will to fight with less risk than battle and so that became his objective. The colonist army surrounded the Pequot village on the Mystic River and as the inhabitants slept, the Puritan soldiers set the village on fire…”
The CONUNDRUM was silent again. Bernice stood there with her arms crossed drumming her fingers on the sleeves of her tailored dress jacket as though being detained.
“…In his own published account of events, Mason wrote: ‘Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But...sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents.... We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.’ And the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony declared a day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children. And then it was signed into law that, ‘This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.’ And don’t even get me started on what humilities the Abenaki suffered by other tribes for being the ones that negotiated a treaty in the first place.”
Bernice stopped drumming her fingers and let out a small groan. She cocked her head to the nearest person, which was Martha, with a look of preposterousness at the rubbish she just heard.
“Which is why,” Martha stepped back up to the counter patting it seeing this as a good time to cool the air, “we would propose not a celebration but a commemoration.”
Joe suddenly remembered that the Sisters Grimm were there, the café patrons rolled slowly back into their conversations, and his temper did reduce. In fact, he found he was a bit embarrassed as he remembered another bit of history. “Of course my people that settled Ravencrest were able to escape the devastation from the plague thanks to the…” he almost said it out loud but caught Martha’s face as she glanced at Bernice. “…A group of wise women. Yes, we do have that to be thankful for.”
“Well we didn’t mean…” she glanced next to her. She wanted to tell Joe they weren’t looking for recognition, yet Bernice was still standing there.
“How about a drum ceremony?” Joe helped Martha and was starting to warm to the idea. “To commemorate the losses suffered by all tribes and to remember those nations that aren’t around anymore.”
Martha bowed her head in agreement. Dorothy smiled. Glenda kept her eye on Bernice.
“Really?” Bernice unfolded her arms flaying them out in dissatisfaction. “We’re going to turn a Thanksgiving parade into a funeral march?”
“Well, a lot of turkeys do die,” Dorothy said.
Bernice just stared at her.
“Obviously you did not attend Ravencrest Academy where they teach a proper history,” said Martha.
“They really teach that there,” Joe was impressed a school would teach an accurate history of Thanksgiving regarding Native Americans.
“Oh yes,” Martha answered him. “Madame Hemlock has seen to it.”
“You think it’s appropriate to teach children about blood and massacre on Thanksgiving as though it were some horror movie,” Bernice was in a tizzy.
Martha smiled down upon her, “Appropriate and proper are seldom the same thing.”
“And you think it’s appropriate to fill children’s heads full of lies?” Glenda barged in. “Oh, right of course you do, you love to preach about Christianity.”
Bernice’s mouth flapped open and close. She couldn’t get any words out at the audacity of the Sisters.
Dorothy took advantage of the momentary silence. “And a cauldron-luck dinner.”
“Oh yes,” Martha looked at Joe. “In addition to the drum ceremony we suggest the community bring a dish for everyone to share. It would be good to reminisce, be thankful, and yes,” she looked down at Bernice, “even spread some Thanksgiving cheer.”
Bernice’s curiosity was finally piqued at the mention of food as she appeared to have never turned down a plate of food in her life. “Cauldron-luck dinner?”
“Pot-luck,” Joe translated quickly for her and smiled at the Sisters Grimm. “I like it.”
Bernice heaved a great sigh yet again at the mention of pot-luck dinners being warped into witchcraft and traditional Thanksgiving’s being made out to be murder and massacre. “Fine, have your pot-luck dinner. Apparently, civility has yet to make it to Ravencrest. I expect you to have Christmas decorations up in here,” she stormed out.
“I thought she would never leave,” Glenda barked.
“Hey, I really like your idea,” Joe said.
“I was thinking we could actually do it on Thanksgiving Day, in the evening, for those in the community that have no one to spend it with,” said Martha.
“Or just want to come and have seconds,” smiled Dorothy.
“Yes, that all sounds good, but now is probably not the best time to discuss it,” Joe looked around the café as it was getting busier.
“Agreed. And we have more to discuss,” Martha looked at her sisters and then back to Joe. “I would like to propose reinstating the Grey Council.”