Third Arrest Attempt
- Action is the antidote to despair. ∼ Joan Baez
Suddenly Cu appears at the campfire, again swooping up Despina and carrying her off, again without talking to her at all, and again dumping her from the top of the cliff into the swimming hole after she is resistant to the rough handling, without giving her a clue why. In reality, he is courting her, backing off, conflicted, then again can’t stay away. Tribal wisdom members spout at him daily tells him, “Get an Indian wife this time; avoid the problems. Look what happened last time. Was that not warning enough?”
Yet, she keeps doing very Indian things, not by design… almost in spite of herself, which seems to attracts him all over again.
This time, he fishes her out, again shoeless, on the far side and carries her into the cave behind the waterfall. After depositing her, he disappears into the back of the cave. Is Mick right? Is he aroused, and leaving to be honorable, since I am not cooperative? Surely he can’t think any self-respecting White woman would respond favorably to such cave man tactics…
She is wet through, shivering, feeling very hurt and puzzled by his continued abandonment sans explanation.
Before she can figure out what to do about it, the sheriff arrives. “Where’s Cu this time? Don’t try to tell me you got yourself up here under your own steam, soaking wet again, without leaving any footprints…”
"Why are you so bent on arresting Cu?" Despina can't control the accusation, the hostility, the bitterness, the betrayal in her voice as she turns away from the sheriff, even though she knows he is not the one she is really upset with. How can he do this?
"I don't want to arrest Cu."
"So you've said before, but here you are to do it again." I know it's not his fault. I need to quit acting so shrewishly.
Misery shows clearly in Mickey's face. "I swore to do a job. I swore to uphold justice, not follow my heart, enforce my whims, or use my office to further the fortunes of my friends."
"How does not arresting Cu on a trumped up charge further his fortunes? Who's getting rich living the way he lives, Mick?"
"Trumped up, Dee? Now who's running with their wishes, flying in the face of truth, and thwarting justice?"
"You believe he's guilty, not framed?" Despina can't keep the incredulity from her voice. She bites her lips in anguish. Fighting with him is NOT what I want to do. I've got to stop this!
"You can prove otherwise?" Mick’s ever so expressive eyebrow rockets skyward.
The harsh lines leave her face. Her tone lightens. "Unobstructed access?"
"To what?" Mickey is cautious.
"Drake's files, — dirt Cu unwittingly discovered on his boss."
"Did he tell you where to look?" Seeing how her eyes jumped away from him, he softened his voice. "Will he tell you, Dee?"
Shoulders slumping, Despina says, "Like, when has he ever TALKED to me about anything important?"
"But you were with him for five days. He brought you dowry ponies," Mick ventures, raising his eyes in that look she finds so sexy.
"Without asking me if I wanted them, or even explaining their significance!" Despina explodes passionately.
"He wore ceremonial wedding dress the night he carried you off," Mickey explains in a more conciliatory tone.
"Which I RECOGNIZED the significance of?” Despina’s voice screeches out of control. “All the people who sat around speculating on how I'd react not only just sort of forgot to tell me the score, they didn't even have the decency to let me in on what game we were playing."
Smothering a chuckle, Mickey reverts to his mission. "What information do you need?"
"The case file on his wife's death, for starters," Despina says wistfully.
A low whistle escapes from Mickey's parted lips. "Who told you about THAT?"
"Not Cu, that's for sure," she utters, her exasperation back full force.
"That's not an idle question. If the knowledge leads armed men to target Cu…"
"Jacques." Despina looks away briefly from the sheriff’s vivid blue stare.
"Jacques? Why on earth…?"
"Jacques,” she reiterates firmly. “I think he was in love with her."
"Who wasn't?" Mick sighs.
"You, too? Do you two always share?"
"Share? Never.” Mick’s deep in thought finger is busily tapping his nose. “We do, however, have similar tastes in women."
"And hold similar ideas about honor, value similar things in life… share a world view and life goals, I think," Despina acknowledges firmly.
"And grandfathers," she adds, equally sure of her ground.
The sheriff ducks his head, hiding his face and shading his eyes with the brim of his hat. He is silent for a bit. When he speaks, his voice is gruff. "What else do you think you'll need?"
"A list of cases he was working on, both closed and not, access to the working files. The name of the agent who wouldn't fire, even when his job was to down Cu, with clear shots and plenty of time to take them. How to reach him." She pauses. "A list of his cases and their files. Legal help."
"I know a hacker."
Despina's eyebrows shoot up. "A quiet, trustworthy one?"
"A trustworthy lawbreaker?” Mick teases, eyes twinkling. ”Now that's an interesting concept. Will you settle for loyal?"
"An Indian?" Despina guesses.
Mick admits, "Cu's half brother."
"By his father, or through his mother?" Despina speculates.
Rolling his eyes, the sheriff answers, "His father, of course."
"Not a full brother from his mother?" Despina states, knowing the answer is “no” before Mick reacts.
"I don't know,” Mick admits, in anguish. “That's hard to think about."
Wrinkles propagate faster than Tribbles on Despina’s forehead. "Can DNA evidence be used?"
"Uncle John is dead," Mick mutters, staring at his hands.
"And your mother?"
"Alive. Available. You’ve already got the DNA tests on the necessary Indians."
"Might testing your mother be a problem?" She pauses a bit. "I'm sure I can think of something."
"Have you talked to Mother about your theories?"
"I know her?" Despina asks, not realizing that the room she and Paul Peter rent is anything more than Mick kindly allowing them to use his digs while he’s on duty all night.
"She lives in town. I’ll feel her out on it and get back to you. Cu?"
"He-Who-Does-Not-Speak? No. Of course not."
More nose-tapping. "I somehow doubt this is an idea he'll embrace with open arms."
"He LIKES being a target? His life and that of those around him constantly threatened? At risk every time he rescues an erring tribesman or woman? The object of undercover man hunts?" Despina’s voice turns shrill again.
"He may not appreciate your efforts in his behalf," Mick warns, meeting and holding her eyes.
"Unmanly to be rescued by a mere squaw?" Despina spits.
Shaking his head disgustedly, Mick says, "Oh, I don't think he has an American style ego. Any squaw out there would probably give her life for him willingly enough."
"I doubt their sacrifice would be any more protection than his wife's was," Despina continues, still in gripe mode.
"But YOURS would be?" Up goes the eyebrow.
"I'm a target?" Her astonishment is genuine.
"Do you really believe the water in Jacques' gas line was aimed at him?" Mick points out, all common sense.
Despina is still having trouble taking her danger seriously. "ME?"
"You did make quite a splashy entrance, and it was clear to more than an extremely drunk Paul Peter that you'd declared yourself for him," Mick continues matter-of-factly.
"Well, my traitor body did. My mind, heart, and social sense preferred another," Despina confesses again.
"Who?" Mick asks bluntly.
"It seems someone sent me some beautiful letters in English, trying to coax me into taking the job; letters so witty, so learned, so APPRECIATIVE… I started falling in love with that letter writer long before he switched into Spanish.
"I thought he was ONE person, the bilingual writer of those marvelous letters. Discovering that was not the case, that I love two men simultaneously, and have blended them into one quite ideal person has been a very traumatic revelation for me."
"But then…" Mick breaks in, expecting her to relate when that feeling changed for her.
"Umm… Are you confusing reputations with evidence?" Despina tries to raise her eyebrow the same way he does when he wants to indicate a thoughtful response.
"Umm, to borrow an apt expression. I suppose you can explain finding Cu naked in my room with you?"
Despina blows a breath upward. Ah, yes, the day of the infamous wedding preparations nobody will talk about. "Cu and Alberto, and PP… Does that mean I'm having sex with all three of them?"
"Umm …” Mick concedes. “And the prophylactics PP gave you?"
"Ask PP how many times he's gotten them back immediately afterward! Ask Bruno!"
"What about PP's 'perils of virginity' lecture he gave me at the campfire the other night?"
"Virginity lecture? In public? At the campfire?"
"He loves an appreciative audience. He loves to create dissension."
"I think that's another scene I'm sorry I missed. Was Jacques there?"
"I don't remember for sure. He retires pretty early."
"That Jacques and I were an item? He got embarrassed when I washed my hair, while fully clothed, in front of him."
"Why on earth…"
"Well, that wasn't my intention. It just worked out that way."
Despina twists a curl. "Uh, yes."
"Poor chap! That was probably quite a shock for him!" Mick says with a chuckle.
"Oh, come on, now!” Despina’s hands fly to her hips. “He's a DOCTOR."
Mick’s eyes roll heavenward. "And you were NOT then his patient."
"You make me sound like an enchantress, or worse!" A tapping foot joins the hands on hips.
" He eyes her speculatively, a huge grin on his face.
Unnerved, she responds, dropping her irritated pose, "Don't you ever go off duty? Night or day, every time I see you, you look official."
"Maybe looking official comes naturally to me," Mick states, straightening his spine to military rigidness.
"The way I can't help being a teacher?"
He nods. "I'm not as good a lover as Cu is."
Her eyes widen. "Now, that boggles the mind! However did you decide THAT? Surely you know better than to confuse quality with quantity?"
"STP, you know," Mick intones, rocking back on his heels.
"STP? A car additive?” Despina parrots. “I think I'm missing something here."
"Sex Takes Practice."
"Oh,” Despina pauses, then goes on the attack. “Most things do, but talent also counts. I could practice being a linebacker for the rest of my days, but nobody would ever say I was good at it, no matter how strongly I desired it, or how diligently and rigorously I trained for it.
"I can't imagine why you're so defensive about it. What did you do, lurk in the shadows while each other performed, then compare techniques? Or, share your women, then take a poll? Did you take varying tastes into account?"
"You're getting carried away again,” Mick says, squelching a smile that threatens to intrude on what he intended to be a serious discussion.
"Okay. Why don't you talk then? I'll be all ears to hear how you decided you'd get the fuzzy end of the lollipop in this situation."
"Women drool when they see him."
"Yes, he's handsome. Handsome = good lover? I suspect not. It may provide more opportunities to hone whatever talent is there, but it can't create it. In my admittedly limited experience, the better looking the person, the more self-centered they are. That's a negative to me in things sexual, which would seem to require giving pleasure to the other."
"You think Cu is self-centered?"
"No, of course not!”
"Do you deny being attracted to him?"
"No, I freely admit, as I have before, that my body likes his body. Cu breaks every rule — good-looking, but not afraid of hard work, not conceited, competent, but in an understated, quiet way — he’s just hard to fault.”
“I've also told you I started falling in love with the man behind the letters — the English letters."
"Then why did you accept his marriage proposal?"
"The one I found out was a proposal after the fact? Now, that's fair."
"You disappeared with him."
"I was carried off, yes, in public. I returned alone, again in public. What does 'everyone' just know that means? I'm not sure, myself. Maybe I can benefit from the collective wisdom." She again shivers.
"I've been off duty for several hours."
"And you feel constrained by the idea that Cu is around here somewhere, watching us, listening to me once again speak English while on the reservation, even though I promised not to? He finds that particularly galling." She is shivering in her wet clothing continually now.
"Move away from the hole." Turning, Mickey leaves.
Despina can track him as he climbs the layers of rock leading to the top. A shower of burnable debris soon descends from the smoke hole/moon roof. A lighter follows.
Despina gets a small blaze going, sheds her wet sweatshirt and jeans, then curls up beside the fire. More branches and debris fall periodically until quite a pile of spare wood has accumulated.
Despina watches Mickey neatly sort and stack the wood, drape her clothing for best drying access, then feels him join her. His shirt soon lies under her, a buffer against the stone and dust. Slowly, languidly, he explores. A warmth not generated by her proximity to the fire permeates her. Resting her head against the sheriff's chest, she gives in to nature's demands and sleeps.
Rousing at dawn, she looks bemusedly at Mickey. She feels embarrassment cause her face to flush.
With a wry smile, he comments, "So much for the prowess of my romantic attentions."
She catches her breath. "I'm terribly sorry. You got me comfortable, relaxed, accepting. Now you're going to blame yourself for my exhaustion?"
He meets her eyes. She leans up, meeting lips as well.
Standing gracefully, he pulls her up, too, and into his arms. "May I have this dance?"
"With pleasure, Mickey. May I inquire what tune we're using?"
"I don't think it matters much way out here, does it?"
"It's a lot easier to keep the rhythm if we're both hearing the same music in our ears," she says, leaning her head against his shoulder.
He begins to hum "Yesterday" by the Beatles.
Huskily, she sings, "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away;
Now it looks as though they're here to stay;
Oh, I believe in yesterday."
As he slowly rotates her, she sees Cu emerging from a perch high up in the ceiling rocks.
"Do you have vivid dreams?" she inquires wistfully.
"Yes, so real that even though the experts swear dreams are never in color, you see colors, feel textures, smell the bacon frying, can wrap your mouth around a piece and chew and swallow it?"
"Only when you are in my arms," Mick murmurs softly.
Forcing her eyes closed, she whispers in a low voice, "Then I'll never leave them. When do you go back on duty?"
Peering over her head at his watch, he says, "In about 30 minutes."
Mickey circles her again. When she opens her eyes, Cu has come into the area lit by the hole, standing there not in the cambric shirt and jeans he'd worn when he left her last night, but majestically clad in his full wedding regalia, again minus the paint.
As the sheriff turns her, he tenses. Quickly he turns her again. Despina sees Cu, standing with both arms out, together as if manacled. Mickey turns her again.
"It would have to be a citizen's arrest, since I'm not on duty at present. Do you have any IDEA how much extra paperwork that makes?"
Cu moves closer. Tapping Despina on the shoulder the same way Paul Peter had when Cu was dancing with her at YOWH, he says, "¿Puedes bailar este baile conmigo?”
"Only if you'll talk to me while we dance."
The sheriff, bemused, steps back, but continues to hum. Reaching the end of that song, he begins "Hey, Jude."
"¿Vestida así para hablar?"
The song abruptly halts mid-bar. Feeling her sweatshirt, Mickey announces, "She set out in dry clothing, which somehow got wet.” Censure blazes from Mick’s eyes as he regards his best friend holding the girl he desires in his arms. “Her clothing still appears to be wet. Would you have her catch her death of cold? What were you thinking?"
"El calor del cuerpo," Cu responds logically.
"Using body heat generally requires two. She was alone when I found her."
"Es la verdad. Tienes razón,” Cu readily admits.
"Hallo, the cave. Anyone home? I'd hate to interrupt," comes Paul Peter's cheerful hail.
"Dream on, PP. You'd love to interrupt. You'd talk about it forever. Just what do you imagine you'd be interrupting?" Despina shouts back.
"A ménage á trois."
"And I suppose you're feeling remiss because I escaped without your little gifts this time? Whatever happened to the sentiments that led to my virginity lecture?"
"I thought you might be taking my advice." His voice is gaining strength as he enters the cave proper and rounds the corner. "What fairy tale are we in now, Despina? The Emperor's New Clothes?"
"Well, we KNOW his dreams are vivid," Despina quips as Mickey retrieves his shirt from the floor beside the fire and drapes it over her shoulders. Cu holds one side out for her arm to enter, followed by the other, then proceeds to button it from neck to knee while Despina turns an interesting shade of pink. Mickey moves his body between her and Paul Peter, shielding her further from view.
Deciding the best course is to strike with humor, Despina inquires, "Got anything to eat with you? I could go for a spot of breakfast. I haven't seen a rattlesnake all morning."
"So, why didn't you come back to the fire?" Paul Peter asks with sincerity.
"I seem to be shoeless again," Despina admits, looking at her bare feet.
"Right. The swimming hole again?" He does an abrupt about face, then turns his head in her direction.
"Toward the diving-in place," Despina instructs.
Bugged, Paul Peter can’t keep from snapping, "Why do you persist in diving in when it's dark?"
With great dignity, Despina informs him, "I NEVER dive in from high places, daylight or night time."
"CU threw you in?" Paul Peter’s voice squeaks at the end.
Blowing a wisp of hair upward, Despina sighs. "Twice now."
"That's one mighty strange romance you've got going there," Paul Peter observes philosophically.
"Truer words were never spoken, to coin an old cliché." Despina shivers again.
Ever creative in avoiding even the semblance of work, Paul Peter suggests, "Maybe I'll just go get your hiking boots and let the kids find your shoes, since the toes aren't loaded this time."
"You're all heart, PP. Jeans and sweatshirt, too?" Despina raises her eyebrows in supplication.
"If you'd mentioned needing dry clothing instead of all this blather about shoes, you could have had some by now," he grouses, turning to go.
Last updated 12/16/15 Switched three perions to …; and -- to ∼ to match Travelsfar; added second space after end punctuation; capitalized CU in CU threw you in?; 1/25/15 Corrected good-looking; 3/11/10 Corrected sweatshirt three times. Changed Cu's line back to Es la verdad. 2/4/10 Added , of course not! Changed you are to you’re; 2/3/10 Removed Salvador Dali quote from contention. Added “tells” and put Cu into Spanish. 12/12/09, aligned with story so far, but check timing. 3/11/06 (changed URL) 1/4/03. 11/23/03 Added Mickey's response that slantwise tells why he doesn't arrest Cu.
Word Count: 3232
January 8, 2002 2:58 p.m.