I work it out along ago. There’s a sheen someplace, pullin’ juices; storen ’em, like batteries storen’ acid, some day that sheen’ll come, an’ we all be fry.
What’s the use, Voodoo Chil’ren, runnin ’round like a hepless chicken, ever’ body feedin’ in off ever’body, and maybe there ain’t no tomorrow.
I meet plenty sez such.
‘Humans is long gone, them machines is on em way, and where you folks be then? Huh?’
I say one thing for Crow, he ain’t never lef my side, kepen me outa mischief, mostly. Last night frinstance. Crow and me was in that ole place over the hill, by the river. Ole, ole place, poor in design but rich in ghosts, maybe a president, Eisenhower maybe, or maybe a Jefferson.
We running low on money, so we got to go where things is cheap, cheap liquor, cheap lodgings, sell a trinket or two ‘long away. Old Crow gits time zones mixed up agin, so this place ain’t no hotel, it’s a lodgin’ home for slaves.
We took our breakfast in the ‘Guest Sweet,’ hah! Guest sour more like. Crow don’t like the look o’ that skinny guy with the rifle, some kine a guard, Crow says that a mistaken callin him ‘guard’. I mean, bodies hustling, lookin’ for eggs, coffee. toast; Screen a mounted up on the wall, yak-yakking away. Some dude talkin’ about his life spent, a hunnerd-twenty years inside, jest for a crime he ‘don’t never commit.’ ‘Scaped death by a hair’s breath. Showin’ up on a screen, with a dead eye, dead eye, hard mouth, pine needles growing all over his face. Crow feather don’t like it none, says it spells trouble; he’s right.
The dude’s acting real slow, but you can tell he’s got a fire a burnin’ inside o’ him, jest holds it down.
Lady ask, ‘Hey, What it like to be free?’
She want him a shed a little, jest a itzy teardrop for the camera sir.
‘your faith keep you live?’
‘Oh yes, ma’am.’
‘And you forgiven your ‘cuser,’
‘Oh yes, indeed ma’am.’
The dead eye a flickerin’ now, lips shut tight, staring at a broken fingnail, saying nuthin.
‘Jest good to be live ma’am.’
‘But you know that girl?’ she ask.
‘No Ma’am, never known her.’
‘But someone did it right?’
‘Yes Ma’am someone did.’
‘But not you George.’
Crow and me is all nice and quiet, eating our eggs, and ‘side from Crow, who’s native, me bein the only differ people in a room. We sense the eyes, watchin’. Red eyes. Angry eyes.
Wind a changing in that room now, bad wind, some guy come up with a carvin’ knife, just a ordinary knife, but he gonna slice the whole damn planet in two with that knife. Madman dance ’round and round, shuffling, glaring, heavy breathin’, crouchin’ like a bear.
Crow and me, scarps on out a there! Guard watchin’, thinking we’s smuggling shit. Goddamn right we’s smuggling shit! We took all we could from that crazy house. Knives, blankets, utensils. Hah! Crow and me, we survive.
I say Crow, ‘what next ole man?’
He said, ‘sumpin happen.’
Sure nuff, We winded up traveling on up Minnesota, then down a New Mexico.
‘Fore we start making our way up Minnesota, ole Crow sayen he has to stop off, visit a fren. I say what fren, we ain’t got no time for that Crow, we gotta make our way straight. Hole on, he says, what your hurry, always got time for a fren, you fine that out child, sooner, laters.
So we stop off Harlem, see a woman called Maggie, white witch Crow knowed long time back. She s sumpin to look at, long grey hair, chin stickin out north, west, south an’ east, nose so big and ugly if she sniff one time it should be nuff for a lifetime I reckon.
She and Crow got this thing going, long ways, I reckon. They like to be sitten at ole fireplace, talken and smoken them pipes. His an ole Indian pipe passed down by his ancestors, hers she is callen, a ‘dooneen’, says its of her folks in a land she come from.
We get there aroun’ midnight, yellow moon up, we walken all ways from Newark, all ways up to her village. ole brownstone house, few lef in that part – she there alone, tomcat keepen her company, day in, day out.
That house cole and dark, downstairs, she gots this room where she cooks and sleeps, liven there mostly cos fireplace remine her of time she a girl, long eons back, I reckon, other planet.
She too ole to go there now, sayen her peeps is all gone, moven on to other galaxies, she tie here by them memories, won’t let go, she sayen. Sad, very sad.
Crow and she up all night, smoken, talken, smoken, drinken from a bottle, water of life, iska baha, she callen it. I think it be near morn by time we lit out . I laid down and lulled me off to sleep with the cracklin wood from that fire, and the slow, soft, murmuren voices of Crow, and the woman, Maggie.
Lil by lil I understand and intrestin in what she sayen, a story strange, not ever day occurance.
She spoken about a storm a coming there soon, she’s a ready to lit out, she’s sayen, and she tole Crow, ‘lit on out, quick,’ sayen it the same storm person as hit the region, five hunnerd year ago, sayen she ‘membered that one too. Female storm this was.
Ole time traveler, she is, like Crow.
Crow sayen, ‘well now, Maggie, girl, how you know this female gonna bite so soon, and I reckon you don’t never see a storm so big as the storm I seen in a land of giants.’
That land Crow talks of often, but he won’t never tell me what route to get to, he likes his secrets that way, bother my nerve at time.
She pull her tomcat close to her knee, a pretty silver boy critter, a lights blinking on and off roun his eyes, she sayen she made him herself, a mix o’ things she picken up here in there, fosfor mainly, and a touch of di’mon, crushed to salt, an’ some blood maybe, who know. I don’t like it none.
She sayen that storm back five hunnerd years ago, wiped hole nation away, they was all calm one minute them up and runnin for they lives the next. She tooken out her cryst windaw, and she showen us that event. Crow trun another log on the fire, cos it got sudden cole in that room, and I hearen the win howlen outside, like a summon the storm herself.
I see a storm brew up in that crysdex, everything a knocken down, houses, vehicles, animals, lights, stores, peeples runnin lef and right, water flood everywhere, peeples blowen like pieces o’ paper in a vortex win, female storm throwen her lid at all an sundry – big disc come on down and rescue some of the peeples, others lef there to drown. I din’t like it none. I tole that Maggie, she looken at me with them ole shrew eyes sayen, ‘it frite you kid?’
I say no, not frite, seen it before anyhows. She cackling then, Crow smile and fillen them pipes with his special ‘medical bakko’. I wernt happy – no sir.
‘Get me some sleep’, I says.
‘Storm a brewen agin,’ she whispa Crow.
I know Maggie, Crow sayen, I know.
Next day Crow is bad sick, ole witch taken us to her shed, and maken us some healen tea, we all climben in her pod, she sayen she stolen it off some aliens – big roun thing, brite silver, she knowen how to handle it she sayen,engine works off a gravity, changen the pulse of time, and gravity and she sayen, ‘where you headed?’
‘Minnesota’ Crow tole her, ‘Long ways Minnesota,’ she sayen ‘I take you part ways, far as border with Ohio, got to stay, I’s on storm duty here in New York.’
She all dress in leather boots, and long grey cloak an all. Looken younger an all.
‘What time zone you got.’
Crow sayen time of the battle of his peeple, she sayen hold tight.
She tooken us part way ‘fore the storm broke, but Crow an’ me, we sees most from the skyship mainly, anyhow
I guess you could estimate we was lucky. Crow an’ I wurnt blowen’ on a groun’. We was on up, skywards zippen on through, Maggie pushen on through, shoven us like a herd o’ buffalo pounding them skies, weaven an a rippen, engine bawlin’, Maggie yellen; ‘hole on now, I’m a take a dip,’ or ‘hole on, I’m a clumben now!’
She clumb a’right, she clumb us up near fixen on maybe two whole freeks away from a groun’.
She near most got us kill in that stole vehicle, Maggie ain’t no licence for no wurp machine, tha’s for certain!
It were a troublesome ride, jolten all aroun that cabin, looken down, spyen on a peeple’s suffer, storm yellen an a’ screechen, yanken an’ tearen at lives, I see sidens comen on off a buildings, I see houses blowen down like matchsticks, I see big ole chimbley’s fallen on top o’ cruisers, I seen airshops flippen upside down, I sun pipes a splitten, an gas pipes blown into tiny little pieces o shrapnel, spreaden all that history, Crow sayen they ain’t worth a keepen no more, voodoo chil’ren ain’t come from the dark planet, i see fibrex mountains mash up like breadcrumb. I see a river rise, a acre o’ bodies flown in a street, I see cats and dogs howlen, an rats in mice a floaten, and i see peeple’s gittin sick, up an down, I see body’s waven like flags, I see anteek pitcher frames, an’ silver, an’ cryssall an’ such like, I see money, I see them holy icons, skulls an such, all fallen down, I see rich peeples clumb in their vehicles, them wurp engines a jiggen up, rich folk gitten while they’s still time.
I seen mens and wimins, hitten a road, dressup in ’em big ole coal hides, ancient peeples totten along, waven em repellers, tryen a shift a monster or so, them’s always layen aroun’ looken for a ole body a git to them reptides. Reptides gitten all uppity now, thinken maybe they’s got a chance.
I see one reptide bite some ole guy, rippen a body, taken a legs and dumpen a head in a trash, I see a tide o blood, many reptides gotten loose that time, many, many.
Maggie, she sayen, “ain’t no use looken down now, ain’t no good a gawpen at them peeples with them googly eyes. Keep a mine where you headed, child, for this ain’t first evil a hit these parts, an’ sure wont be a last.’
I knowed that already, an I tole her so. Then I said Crow in a low voice. ‘I don’t care for Maggie, she remine me of a tyran, pushen, jest cos I ain’t so old nor wise as she.
Crow chuckle, he say, ‘never mind child, jest keep like she says, fix ya eye on a heavens.’
I can’t stop my eyes no more an I can stop my heart a beaten, well I geuss I could, if I want to. That storm, she bad, she nasty. Crow said, ‘that was a smart piece o’ mind maken, back then, headen for Maggie, if it wurnt for Maggie, we ain’t maken it, we be down in a hellstorm, fighten for survival.’
I guess that’s so, e’en though I’ spise ole Maggie at time, sure nuff, she h’ep us.
The ole skyship, Crow praisen it for taken us to where we was looken a git to.
‘I sayen that ship gonna lay us a field, Maggie, but it ain’t.’
‘My ship is a good’un,’ Maggie sayen, ‘stood the test o’ time Crow.’
Maggie lighten my head in a end, with her smart ways.
She took us ashore and then turn right back. Crow sayen ‘maybe you oughta stay awhile Maggie, I mean, that storm still goin, meanwhiles I got some nice liquor in a place nearby,’ he reckoned to see the great battle with Maggie for compny. The battles of his peeples.
She sayen she gots to go back, sayen she h’eppen the peeples in a storm, then she was wurpen on to out to another time span, for some rest and recoup.
Crow an me, watchen her flit through the night stars, thinken she might a been one, one time, so so brite that ship become, up in a sky.
When she lef, I felt lonely all a sudden, which bein that i don’t like her none, was whut Crow calls anomly.