A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 106: Politicking

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

Surprisingly, there was nothing but silence after I read out the rules. I don’t know what I was expecting but silence wasn’t it. I suppose that all of my concepts on how this meeting would go were based on Hollywood notions; obviously, Hollywood had it all wrong. So I pressed on.

“I have appointed a Village Council. Councilors, please come up when I call your names.

“First of all, there’s me, Zachariah Ebenezer Narrater. I’m the Village Chief and head of the Council.

“When I’m not around, Michelle will be in charge. Please come up, Michelle. Michelle is also owner of the stable and the livery. Should you require the use of either of those, please see her.” Michelle gracefully climbed up on the bench next to me and smiled at the gathering.

“Next we have Fabiola Timmons. Fabiola speaks English, Creole, and French. She will be working mostly with the boatmen, their families, and the trading post at Rulo Landing.” Fabiola, blushing furiously, joined us on the bench.

“I would like to present Cuupirikpahaa. I call her Mouse. Mouse’s father is the Pawnee chief up on the Platte and her mother comes from Bavaria. She speaks English, Pawnee, and German. Mouse is currently in charge of our food stores. Come see her with your needs.

“Finally we have Petalesharo; his friends call him Pete. He is in charge of scouting, hunting, and fishing. He is a chief of the Pawnee and is also an ambassador from the Pawnee.”

“Two final things before we begin the eating and drinking.”

“This is our land, but this is still Pawnee hunting grounds. The Pawnee have free right to hunt, travel or camp here as they like. They will also help us fight our enemies, just as we will help them fight theirs here on this land.”

“Most importantly, every person who comes here and follows our rules is free and equal.”

I looked around at a lot of smiling faces.

“Please, let’s eat!” I jumped down and led the way to the table.


I took only a small portion and ate rapidly. The food was amazing, but I knew Matilda could make it for me any night, and would do so, if she were in the mood. And if I asked nicely. My beer and my bourbon were refilled and I received my first guest within moments.

Of course, Pete had to be first. Right into the fire I go.

“Slaves.”

He simply said that and left it hanging. I knew better than to reply. Getting the other person to speak is a power play that has been used for years. If you can wait them out, you have a much better chance of winning. I simply looked at him while I waited.

He broke first. “We have two women and they belong to someone.”

Damn he was still obfuscating.

“Who?” I asked directly.

Pete mumbled a name; it wasn’t even close to clear enough for me to pronounce. He then paused and seemed to be looking for an escape route. I was beginning to sense a political situation for him here, one that I could turn to my advantage. He wouldn’t meet my eyes.

“Who else, Petalesharo?” I asked in my official tone. He seemed to shrink back and I knew I was onto something. The Pawnee needed me far more than they were willing to admit. Besides, Pete owed me for the Banshee trade. It was time to extract that pound of flesh.

 
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