I remembered the time before my spirit embraced the body I then found myself in. For eons, I had bounced around the galaxy from crib to lecture hall to ballroom to bar room. I always felt most comfortable in the bar room.I floated in the Amniotic Sea at the darkest of midnights enjoying the banquet graciously passed down by my host. Andouille sausage, shrimp Creole, red beans and rice, chicken jambalaya, deep-fried catfish, washed down with sweet iced tea providing my nourishment. Dixie beer and brandy had become my favorite calmatives. It always happened the same way. The music of a juke box would filter in, I would start dancing my tiny feet, and soon the alcohol would start flowing inducing immediate relaxation, peace, and dreams. I was certain that life couldn’t get any better.
In the bar room, I met folks that I was most comfortable with, the cats I could stand to be around for more than a sentence. Poets, writers, musicians, novelists, circus performers, gymnasts, volleyball and soccer players, mathematicians, physicists, scientists, engineers, and even psychiatrists were in my closest orbit, comprising an eclectic collection of drunkards.
One night, I was drinking wine with this Dionysus chick at a bar in the Orion belt. We were contemplating the effect of a single fart in the ocean to all fish in the sea. We drank a shot of Absinthe and moved on to the farts effect on oceanic mammals. After a few more shots the conversation shifted to embryonic physiology. I have always loved hot chicks with a brain who liked to drink. I started to trip balls from the Absinthe, drank too much of her beauty, and lapsed into a warm coma. I awoke in a bag of fluid sucking a tiny thumb. Have you ever had a night like that?
Hey, I needed the rest. I had just spent a few millennia touring with a radical band. My ass and brain were tired. I suddenly found myself living in a tropical spa complete with a constant supply of food, nicotine, and fruity drinks shaded by umbrellas. I heard a voice from beyond singing, “Hey, hey good lookin’. Whatchya got cookin’. How’s about cookin’ sumthun up witch me?” Soon, Brandy flowed into me bringing on a nice calm. I mellowed down easy and went with the buzz. For some reason I felt the need to tumble gently. Wee, I weightlessness was fun. It felt great. All the blood rushed to my head causing me trip and fantasize more. I quickly returned to my memory of the night with Dionysus. Man, what a dish.
In the early hours of June 1st, 1953, I awakened to a terrible pushing pressure on my butt. Earlier in the day I had stretched and rotated so that blood was rushing to my brain. It felt right at the time, but now there was this annoying downward pressure upon my posterior. I was being pushed toward a small round doorway. I tried to hold back with my tiny arms but then the dam broke and I was washed downstream through a canal into a brilliantly lit room with the gaudiest aquamarine walls. Who decorated this fucking place? My tiny brain screamed.
I looked back toward the gate my head had just popped through. How did my enormous cranium squeeze through that tiny opening? My ass was being squeezed by some powerful force. Some guy with whiskey breath was yanking on my shoulders trying to wrest me from the grips of the cave. He smelled like that poet cat I’d met half a century before in one of the galactic bars I hung out in. What was his name? Oh yeah, Poe, Ed Poe. EP smoked a pipe with fragrant herbs. This cat had a nasty cigarette dangling from his lips. Ashes fell onto my face, smoke filled my tiny lungs. I coughed and choked spitting up the fluid I’d been drinking for months. Man, was this ever turning out to be a below average day.
My ears were assaulted by shrill screaming that corresponded to my ass being squeezed tighter as the drunkard pulled harder on my shoulders. The screaming got louder. Now, I could hear two voices screaming. Man, was it loud. Everything had been nicely muffled back in the cave. Out in the open air the sounds were painfully loud. I suddenly realized that one of the screaming voices was mine. Cool, I had a pretty good set of pipes. I shifted to a high harmony with the other voice. We were cooking, man. A sweet duet.
Arms flailing, legs thrusting, finally, my ass cleared whatever huddle was blocking it and I popped all the way out. That’s when I caught first sight of my wee. Whoa, I’m a boy. How cool was that? (I had a lot to learn.)
The air smelled foul and tasted worse. I noticed that the other screaming voice was coming from my host. The drunkard laid me on her belly and she started to calm down, but soon she was crying deliriously. Why? I really don’t know.
There was a white haired woman smiling down at me. She was saying something to me. Everybody else in the room was speaking English, but this lady was speaking a language that sounded familiar but that I couldn’t identify at first. What was that language? I knew I had heard it in my travels. The answer was on the tip of my tongue. Then, she said two magic words: Hoka Hey. She was speaking Assiniboine, a dialect of Stoney language. She must be a Sioux Indian. Cool. I started putting phrases together as best I could recall. She was greeting me into the world, “Híŋhaŋna”, (welcome in Sioux) she cooed. But, it was her expression that spoke volumes of how happy she was to see me. She repeated, “Hoka Hey.” She was instructing me to enjoy every day of my life, for I would never know which day was my last. Lesson understood.
Grandmother and I conversed via expressions for awhile until she guided my tiny mouth up to a generous fountain of nourishing milk. Wow, what was this? I glanced over while suckling to observe that there was another fountain nearby. Is this all for me? Cool.
Suddenly, I felt like we were gliding and the lights started blinking. I tried to look up but nothing was worth tearing me away from this tasty meal. This was some tasty stuff. They didn’t serve anything like this in any bar I’d ever frequented. All the good stuff I enjoyed while floating in the Amniotic Sea but now it had flavor. It wasn’t flowing directly into my belly. I actually got to taste this banquet. The new experience was wonderful. I sucked away despite being rolled into a room with puke coloured walls.
People were jabbering around me. “Hey, I’d appreciate a little consideration here, ok. Do y’all know what I’ve just been through?” They didn’t hear, didn’t care. I heard my grandmother say repeatedly, “Armond Joy! Armond Joy! Armond Joy!”
Years later I learned what really happened. It is Sioux tradition to celebrate birth with a feast. She was starving and thought the nurses were asking her what she wanted to eat. She had seen a bowl of candy bars on our way to the room and asked for her favourite snack: Almond Joy.
Actually, the nurses were asking granny for my name. Mom was out cold. I was getting full and close to nodding off, too. The only person left awake was a Sioux woman with a limited English vocabulary and heavy accent. The nurses heard her repeat “Armond Joy” several times and wrote that down as my name:
Armond Joy Blackwater, male, born June 1, 1953, weight 7 pounds 5 ounces, length 39 inches. Really, 39 inches? What can I say, I’m a male. I started misstating length on my very first day.
I dozed for awhile. When I awoke, a big Indian guy was sitting next to the bed smoking and reading a paper. I blinked several times to clear the focus of my eyes. He was a handsome young buck. I sensed immediately that he was my father. I was happy to see that he was a reader. We would have much to talk about when I figured out human speech. What a great turn of events this was.
Then, I caught the headline of the newspaper. In large point font it heralded the coronation of some chick they called Queen Elizabeth. I was outraged. The bitch had bumped my birth off the front page. Who did she think she was? Actually, I didn’t really care. I was just parroting the thoughts of my buddy Oscar Wilde. He hated The Royals. So, let her have the day. My father was the Chief of the Blackwater Tribe.
I gurgled and laughed at my father. He put down the paper and smiled at me. It was immediately apparent why he was called Sunshine. The man had a smile as luminous as the Sun. He radiated calm and joy at seeing me that transcended spoken words. I was lucky to have landed with a strong tribe.