A wild and rambunctious visitation to that legendary knoll in what just could be the most accurate depiction of the Custer massacre, except for the gleaming and well-oiled pair of anachronistic .357 pistols, that is. Earth Mother and Daughters, over-pumped cueball torpedo assassins, what just might be a were-hyena, time travel, and the edgy dark humor of Rodolphus make for a frenzied, page-turning, entertaining read. George Armstrong Custer comes to vivid light and life. Storyteller's Last Stand is dark and scary and funny, and very well might be the ultimate last stand for storytellers the world over.
©Copyright 2011 Rodolphus. All Rights Reserved by the Author. No part of this book may be reproduced (except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews) or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the publisher, Wolftales UNlimited. This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before
LRN, messed-up beauty
SFJB, divine heartless wretch
SJS, breathtaking, beautiful Soulmate Dream
JC, what a body and spirit
NW, sexy elf
EM, dark princess
SMC, bitter inspirational fury
PC, heart friend
CDC, Angel Love Soulmate
He blinked at the
just a moment staring fully into the piercing sky stinger, his body trembling
as if he were cold as the sun neared .
He braved another peek at the fiery circle in the sky and could not help
drifting back through time for a heartbeat, to another scalding day when the
sun was decidedly unfriendly; however, the suns from his distant past, on
numerous and varied battlefields, never
seemed as malevolent as these the day-after-day evil orbs of his present.
The sun stalked him. Monstrous, powerful. Perhaps not as potent as it was when he was thirty years old, but then again neither was his pecker nearly so savage as the lion he sported in his roaring days (like the best fish stories, his early-days penis grew ever mightier in pace with his lengthening, but faltering memory). The sun pounded him, demanded he submit — it wanted him to lie down like a worn-out dog and put his paws straight up in the air — a dog! What an insult to a man who thought of himself as a lion — a lion, damn you all!
Contemplating the sun, he toyed nervously with a necklace, tugging the chain away from his bony breast, twisting it in his fingers, caressing the odd pendant which dangled from the end of the gold chain. If I can live long enough for the decline of the ozone, he thought, just think how that bastard of a sun will attack me.
The old man stretched on the bench. His spine crackled and popped. He groaned, rubbed his leathery veined hands (claws) and coughed up a wad of phlegm and spat (he nearly lost his yellowed chompers along with the mucus). His frame, although dramatically stooped, was long and board-thin. The skin of his buck-naked head was splotchy and weathered, age spotted and stretched too tightly over his skull.
Terrified in the day. Yes, perhaps he was the dog the sun tempted him to be. Oh, but at night! At night there was no fear, and time was flexible — the old man could be fifty, or thirty, and most often of late, ten or eleven years old. Night was good. It released the vapors of memory, all the phantom smells of youth. Day, however, oh day! Unlike the night, day was static, it never ever never ever never changed (never), and terror was always there, always waiting for him; however, there was some small compensation for the debilitating fear, for along with fear, in equal measure, was bravery. The old man faced the day, every day, defiantly, shaking his bony fists at the sun.
Bravery, for in the day, when the sun was a predatory dragon hunting him, the old man trod the earth a lion. Lion War, which once was his name, a very long time ago — Lion War — a name earned with his fists and knees and the knife-edges of his hands. When this bravery of Lion War was upon him he was perfectly willing to complete the unnatural quest. Truly. He was perfectly willing to seek out and destroy the Earth Mother, and the hyena in man’s body, Bright Eyes.
During the night he was a man, an ordinary man nearing his end. The fear was slim, an insignificant plant with wilted tendrils, closed pods. He was able to be a man. He relaxed. Breathed easily. Enjoyed life, an ordinary man. An ordinary man, aged, trembling, usually happy, hardly able to accept the cruel fate he played no starring role in choosing.
The old man watched young women entering and exiting the dormitory. He grinned, admiring their fuzzy sweaters and neat turned-down socks. He refrained, with great concentration, from hooting and cackling. He periodically lifted an ancient pair of polished silver opera glasses and perused the young women more intimately. Unfortunately, when he could clearly discern their features he was not as successful in suppressing the always-close-and-loud old-man hoots.
“You back again, gramps?”
The old man craned his spindly neck.
“Oh boy, looks like it’s T. J. Hooker time,” the old man giggled, eyeing the towering campus cop.
“Who, you say?” the big man said, leaning close, his platter-sized fists gripping and twisting his redundantly large nightstick.
The ancient one cackled. “Forget it, sonny; way before your time — but I don’t want to disturb your occupational duties. I’ll just hoinky-doinky on my way.”
The guard reached and wrapped his paw around the old man’s drumstick-thin biceps.
“Don’t come back, now, you hear me.”
The old man went still. He eyed the guard. And he grinned.
“You don’t want to mess with me, sonny-boy,” the octogenarian said, softly, lightly, jutting his lower denture plate, his eyes glittering and bright.
The guard, a beefy six-footer, comfortable with his usually universal talent of intimidation, was surprised that the geezer — stooped and hobbled as a hunchback — actually was tall enough to meet him eye to eye. He drew back, swallowing.
“I don’t want to mess with you, do I?” said the guard.
“No. You do not. I may be pushing eighty-eight, but in my day I was a pretty tough dude. I was a warrior to command respect. I beat over fifty injuns, and all I had was my bare hands. I was a pretty tough dude, all right, in my day, yes I was.”
“Well, Gramps,” the guard said, tightening his grip on the insignificant limb, “your day was a long long long time ago, now wasn’t it?”
“You might be surprised, you dimwit,” the old man said, eyes flaring with very ungeriatriclike anger — his free hand rose to his imprisoned arm, peeled back one of the guard’s blunt fingers, and suddenly the young man of beef and potato sat plunk on the ground, looking up at the geezer — the old man smiled down upon him. “My day is yet to come, you dimwit bonehead jerk-off asshole.”
The old man released his hold on the finger that was nearly as thick as his wrist. He casually strolled away, swinging his stick and whistling.
The guard, trembling, shakily stood. He glanced over his shoulder. Thank God none of the broads had witnessed this — this — this ridiculous spoof, this farce, this, this...he trembled. Murder! Death! Damn, but the next time he caught the old geezer peeking at the broads (the ancient pervert!) he was going to snap his spindly neck! He massaged his throbbing finger.
The guard watched with lowered brows as the geezer hobbled down to the drive — and, damn all, if one of those mile-long limos from England didn’t have the nerve to swing up to the curb — and then, of all things, there came a spit-and-polish dandy-doo in a peaked cap speeding around the bus-long car, kow-towing like the tiny yellow menace he was, to open the geezer’s door. And then, most shocking of all, the tiny yellow dandy-doo menace turned out to be a girl! And a very winsome tiny yellow dandy-doo menace at that, or so the glowering guard judged from a distance of twenty or so yards.
The geezer turned before entering the limousine and waved cheerfully to the seething guard.
Maybe the guard only imagined it, but the old man seemed to be waving with his middle finger.
“I’ll be back, before you know it, so please don’t sit here worrying while I’m away,” he assured her, maintaining his vocal equilibrium, evenly modulated, but was not quite able to suppress the nervous flutter at the base of his larynx. His luxuriant moustache twitched with the flex of his jaw.
“Just please God don’t let it snow,” he muttered.
He was busy packing his camera case, checking that all his special lenses from the far corners of the apartment made it into the case, his back to the woman; however, he could feel her eyes consuming him, palpably, as if a force of alloyed ice-fire emanated from the jagged gaze of her eyes.
“I suppose reminding you that this creep probably has a gun won’t do me much good,” she said, finally. Well, that wasn’t so bad, he thought.
“Well, to tell you the truth, my mom has called about three times to remind me that he might have a gun; or, in my mom’s world, he probably is an ally of Sodding Hussein and has a dozen SCUD missiles aimed my direction. She also told me that
might have some thugs about to pound the shit out of me,” he replied, finishing
off his camera case, now checking the electronic ear and flashlight for
He pulled on his recently mink-oiled fingerless gloves, yanked them off, and packed them away.
Suddenly she was close behind him — he dropped his gloves as her hands slithered over his hips, around to his flat belly, and then down.
“Sharen, I’m already having a tough time concentrating.”
“I know. Your body language is actually stuttering. Perhaps this will help.”
In the middle of voicing a protest his eyes closed. He leaned against her solid body. Felt her breasts push into his back. He surrendered himself to her embrace. A low groan barely escaped the door of his mouth and he sighed as she grazed her long teeth over his neck.
She dexterously popped the buttons at the front of his jeans.
“Something tells me you’ve practiced this maneuver before,” he whispered between his teeth.
“Only in preparation for when we would meet, “she said, wickedly, her lips tickling his right ear lobe.
He reached his hands behind him, around her, over her satin robe, smoothing his hands about her taut thighs, then up slightly to fondle his favorite place on her perfect body.
“Yep,” she breathed into his ear, “yes sir, now I know it’s really you, it is, yessiree.”
His breathing was already close to aerobic arrest. “Did you think I might be somebody else?” he strained.
“Well,” she chuckled, deftly using her palms and fingers, squeezing him into convulsions, “you hadn’t touched me once since you came in the door. Nope. Wasn’t sure at all if it was you.”
He stretched his head back to rest on her shoulder, and her neck craned about bringing her mouth close to his; her teeth nipped at his too-full moustache and she licked his lips, enticing his tongue out to meet and embrace. They stood thus, breathing raggedly, silently and fiercely swaying, for many moments.
“Oh,” he breathed, after a while, “now you’ve gone and made a mess.”
“I’m coming,” she whispered.
He opened his eyes. “You are?”
“With you, that is. To
“No. Sorry. I have to go alone on this.”
“Wrong. Oh how wrong. I’m coming.”
“Joo-ulie,” she said, doing a fair tonal imitation.
“You have me in an awkward position.”
She tightened her grip on him and buckled him backward so that if she released him he would crash to the floor.
“Yes. Now, I have you. In my power.”
He laughed, nervously. “I could get used to it.”
She lowered him to the floor where she joined him, moving around him, straddling his chest, her robe parting to reveal her long legs in sheer garter stockings (which never failed to plummet his intelligence level dangerously into the idiot zone). The luminous pink “V” of her spandex bikini bottoms barely touched his chin. She pressed her hands into his, their fingers interlocking, and she held him pinned to the floor.
“Tell me why you’re going,” she demanded in her dark golden voice, tipping her head toward him, her forehead a hand away from his, her short-styled raven hair cascading into his eyes, tickling his nose. “You still love her. You want her back.”
“No. Not at all, Sharen. Even before I found her cache of love letters I knew our marriage was coming apart. I only fought for her and me so long because of our kids.”
“Well then. Just let it go. She gave you custody.”
He was silent.
She released his left hand with her right and then delivered a short but stinging clap to the right side of his face. He blinked at her.
“Say it,” she said, voice monotone, hard, loud, and commanding. “You still love
His face warm — feeling raw where she struck him — Julius smiled at her. A dangerous sparkle shone from his eyes.
“I don’t think that was very funny.”
She struck him again and though he attempted to block the blow, he succeeded in trapping her hand only after it had resounded against his jaw, much harder than the first stinging blow. He recoiled, bucking his pelvis up hard against her, twining his body about, and they struggled fiercely, briefly, until he managed to reverse their positions, with him seated on her chest.
“This is all a game to you, isn’t it?” he snarled, his temper snaking out of his gut, his voice abrading, far too loud. “I wonder how much you really do care.”
Her head lifted off the carpet and her hands struggled against the steel grip on her wrists. She bucked her head at him and her jaws snapped the air; her pelvis bucked up and hit him, but due to their fifty-pound weight differential he was able to maintain their positions. She punched him in the kidneys with her knees.
“Get off me, you asshole,” she snarled.
He complied. He climbed jerkily to his feet, flushed with equal helpings of adrenaline and anger. He buttoned his jeans, hands shaking.
She flung herself to her feet and sashed her robe about her body, motions the brisk, fluent precisions of a mechanical predator.
They stood a few paces apart, back to back, both with heaving bodies. Julius took a deep breath. “I’m sorry about that. We got kind of out of hand —”
He peeked slowly about him.
“No, Storyteller. It was me. I was out of control. And I’m sorry. I knew I was going to do that, as soon as you walked in the door and didn’t kiss me. Stupid of me. Getting jealous like that.”
He smiled, looking at her, and she undid her robe and allowed it to shower about her body into a glittering pool at her feet. He was always a fool for a woman standing before him in bra, panties and stockings.
She placed her long hands on her lean hips and tilted back her head to regard him. Her eyes pulsing swirls of light and darkness, comets rushing past him — irises serene dark pools, and yet with texture, like multi-hued tree bark; the pupils were independently alive, pulling, sucking.
“So. Tell me, Julius. If you don’t want
Shannon back, then why are you driving 1,200 miles to Seattle?”
He shook his head. Looked away from her.
“You know how I am about love. Yes, I love
Shannon. I suppose I always will, in a strange, disturbed
kind of way,” he said, breathing slower, returning his gaze to her angled and
skinny body. One of her bra straps had slipped over her jutting shoulder. “I’m
a ridiculous romantic. It’s my curse. I really do believe love lasts forever.
And I told her that I loved her and I believe I was telling the truth.”
“And now?” she said, taking one step toward him. The dangerous edge had returned to her voice.
“And now,” he repeated, lifting his eyes from her breasts to study her angular chin and its dimple, her mouth that was too big and full and yet just right; her long thin nose which was too long but saved because of its last-second slope and upward tilt; eyes that were wide and wild and curious, always close to flaring anger or churning passion. “And now, Sharen, I’ve gone and told you that I love you. I do not lie. I’ve been on the verge of saying it probably since I met you.”
“You didn’t meet me, you ridiculous romantic. I found you,” she said, taking another step toward him, entering into that intimate space that brings discomfort with strangers; now only an immense, intimate heat. “Do you feel that this is forever? With me?”
He swallowed. Looked at the floor between them. His forehead touched hers and he felt again the momentary disorientation at being with a woman of his exact height, six feet two inches.
“You’re afraid, Julie Jacko?”
He shrugged. His eyes darted up and met hers from an inch away.
She reached, stroked the back of his hand. Her shining, luminous eyes caught him, held him, pinned him down.
Suddenly the intimate vibrancy was more overpowering than ever and this time it was he initiating the intricate dance. His hands the bold adventurers. She lay back, her eyes half closed, borne upon the winds of inspiration or meditation, and touched and held and guided him. When his lips sought hers she opened to him and they melded; when his lips and warm tongue traced and caressed her long throat she arched her neck and sighed; when his hands whispered beneath her waist, and lower, lifting her up, to him, she smiled and muttered alien entreaties.
Soon they were the age-old and noisome two-backed beast and what began as soft and tender artistry now became and ended in an almost violent broiling of passion, of heat and clutching need. The evening was theirs, and they made full use of it.
Just before , when Mrs. Hansom would bring the children, Sharen stretched her spine, her small and firm breasts embracing his throat, one fleshy golden nipple tracing the line of his jaw. She smiled huskily, her fingers pushing into his hair, cradling his head, and as his lips opened to her teasing nipple, she kissed him repeatedly upon the brow, her sharp white teeth gnawing his eyebrows, her tongue tracing the thoughtful etchings of his forehead.
“So,” she breathed, stroking her fingers through and through his hair, “am I coming or not?”
“Four times would be greedy, wouldn’t it?” he said, smiling lazily between her breasts.
“Idiot. On this insane quest, Oh Valiant White Knight. I have a very bad feeling about this Bright Eyes.”
“So he’s a psychopath. You don’t think I can handle a psycho?”
“I have faith in you. You have some tricks up your sleeve I don’t think you even know about yet. But I’m getting some bad impressions about this guy, this Bright Eyes. Knowing what kind of woman your ex-bitch is, it doesn’t make much sense her leaving you and her kids for this flashy creep. As insecure as the bimbo is, she wouldn’t have enough guts to leave someone she knows will stick by her, especially for your standard pusher-dealer pimp-type.”
“Well, that’s one of the reasons I have to go. Things just don’t add up. I can’t make sense of it, you can’t make sense of it, my family and friends can make no sense of it, and the twins certainly aren’t fathoming why their mother deserted them.”
“You’re thinking he’s coercing her with drugs. If that’s the case, she chose it, and you have no right or means of pulling the bitch away.”
“I’m going. If it’s drugs, then I’ll be more than eased of conscience to write her off as a loss. I got her off the hard and soft stuff for over four years — if she’s returned after all this time, giving up her husband and children, I think she’ll deserve everything that comes to her.”
Sharen clucked her tongue. She kissed him softly on the chin. Then on the lips. Again on each eye.
“Liar. You’re going to charge up there on your white horse, cross lances with the ogre, and smite the poisonous cup from the entranced maiden’s lips. Unfortunately, you haven’t considered what you’re going to do with two maidens.”
He took her chin in his hand lightly and placed his thumb in the fleshy, feminine dimple (not quite a cleft); with his other hand he stroked his fingertips lightly over her back. She closed her eyes and lay atop him. They floated. She lowered her head next to his on the pillow, her face turned away from him.
“I wish you wouldn’t go on and on about the White Knight. You’re not the first person to find the metaphor so amusing. I’m the first guy who will admit I’m a jerk,” he said, softly, into her ear, one hand feathering her hair, the other continuing to whisper upon her back. “When I met
Shannon, the odds were way against me. I
might have been stupid. Well, I was stupid. I fought the odds, as I always
have. And for a long time I was sure I had won. Beat those odds. Like Custer,
finally, in some pocket of time, firing his pistols long enough, and accurately
enough, dropping enough Indians, until they finally get bored enough to just
She lifted her head and smiled sleepily. “Careful. You’re wandering dangerously deep into my territory with that metaphor. Keep clear of American Natives and the old west. Especially with that prick, Custer. Keep your metaphors, parables and cutesy stories safe within the confines of the Dark Ages.”
“The only reason I brought up old General George Armstrong is because he was one of my heroes when I was a boy — probably because of the date on a necklace someone gave my parents when I was born. I raided the encyclopedias on him, cheap novels and some good ones too, and that old Errol Flynn flick, They Died with Their Boots On.
“Hey, everyone made it perfectly clear Custer was arrogant, conceited, and made more nasty mistakes than anyone’s entitled to. His biggest mistake was in charging the odds, every time.”
“So, of course, Julius Jacko, idolizing Custer, grew up to charge the odds and get his ass kicked,” Sharen said, rolling away from him, tickling him at the waist.
He caught her hands before she tickled him into distraction. “Not every time. More often than not I kick the odds in the ass.”
“Just like Custer,” she snickered.
“Hey, Custer was a good soldier — just like Schwarzkopf. And Schwarzkopf is a hero. Stormin’
Norman did away with probably twice the
Iraqis that Custer did Indians. And do you know what the odds were of me
breaking through the literary barriers? Even with Jeffrey’s help, do you know
how many manuscripts actually are read, let alone deemed commercial enough to
“Ug. Don’t bring up Jeffrey the Weasel when we’re in bed. And you don’t have to prove to me that you’re special. First thing is, you can’t compare American Natives to Iraqis. Furthermore, the problem is, Custer and his dirty deeds, and you and your literary triumphs, and even some poor fool in dented armor smacking into windmills, has nothing to do with you wasting a trip to
Hush, don’t even launch your rebuttal. You were right, you are too romantic.
“There is absolutely nothing knightly about this business. What we have here is an ex-addict giving up a quality life and a quality man to return to her stoner days and wicked ways. She made her choice, clear and defined. Let her go, Julie. Just let the bitch go. Storyteller, please, let her go.”
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