Shaman Story Chapter X – DeathSong

This is the last of the “Childhood” section of Shaman Story. The next section, Adolescence, tracks Gio through elementary school to college. But that’s for later. Now, “DeathSong”.

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Council of All Beings.


Shaman Story Chapter X – DeathSong

 
“You promised.”

“Gio.”

“You said you’d never leave me.”

“Gio.”

“I won’t do it.”

“Gio.”

I turn my back. I won’t face him. I won’t I won’t I won’t.

I feel his arms encircle me, hear his voice inside me. “Do you feel me, Gio?”

I don’t answer.

“Gio.”

“No, I don’t feel you. Alright?”

He withdraws. The energy that cradled me, rescued me, taught me, pulls back.

I spin, reach out, fall into his arms. “No, Buppa. No. Don’t go, Buppa. Don’t die. I need you. I don’t want to go home.”

He holds me against him. I feel his heart, not strong. His arms are weak. Still he holds me. I hear his breath, smell his clove aftershave. He rubs his beard stubble against my forehead, he sings an old Sicilian song.

Inside I hear. “Am I with you now, Gio?”

“Yes, Buppa. Yes.”

“As long as you keep me there, I’ll never leave you. Do you understand, Gio?”

I don’t want to understand. I don’t want to know.

“I’ve done all I can here, Gio. I’ve learned all I can learn. Is it right for me to stay here when The Universe needs me somewhere else?”

“Yes.”

He chuckles. His chest rattles. “Gio.”

“No.”


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Shaman Story Chapter X – Council of All Beings

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Mr. Zelli’s Ice Cream.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Council of All Beings

 
Voices dance over me like ants at a harvest. I shake with the deep bellow of whale song, the answering trumpet of elephant, am tickled with the chirping of crickets the size of busses. A spider wraps me in her web, places me on her back. Her chalice’s grate “Ha-angg—on-n,” and she balloons up into the sky.

“Where are we going, Grandmother?”

Her chalice’s grate again. “Coun-n-c-cil-l—o-of-f—A-a-ll—Be-ei-ingg-s-s. Yy-you-ur-r—Ggrannd-d-ffa-a-ath-ther-r—i-s-s—wai-ai-ait-t-inn-g-g.”

We descend through clouds, through fog, through mist, through water, through waves, through oceans into the earth, through boiling rock and land on an island deep in the sky.

“Buppa!”

He lifts me in his arms. “Are you ready, Gio? Are you ready to meet your friends?”

The island grows and grows and more and more arrive. John and Running Water and Apara and Chan and Joe Swota and Erdös and Lan and Han and Timbe and Rose and Bee and Spider and Moose and Hummingbird and Hawk and I recognize them even when they don’t look like I’ve seen them before.

“You’re passing!”

“Do you see me who I am, Gio? Do you see me who I am?” It’s a game to them, too!

My friends teach me to play their games and ask me to teach them mine.

Then a voice I’ve not heard before. A voice of fire, like a mountain. A throat clearing that sounds like trees falling in a forest. “Hello, Gio.”

“Hello.”

A wall of sky offers me its hand. I hold stars and planets and galaxies in mine, not even knowing what they are.

“Who are you?”


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Shaman Story Chapter X – Mr. Zelli’s Ice Cream

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Healing.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Mr. Zelli’s Ice Cream

 
Grandma, Buppa and I walk to Mr. Zelli’s ice cream shop, up two streets on the corner. Buppa likes the ice cream there. It’s special, called gelato. Mr. Zelli has ice cream for his L’Inglese and gelato for us. Buppa says it’s the best.

Buppa makes it a game. “What flavor is it, Gio?”

I answer quickly. That’s too easy.

“Which of Mr. Zelli’s helpers made this? Was it Antonio? Maybe Francesca? Or Anne? Who was it?”

I have to travel back through the flavor to feel the hands on the machine then go up the arms to feel the face. “Anne made this one.”

“Go ask Mr. Zelli. What does he say?”

Mr. Zelli watches Buppa and me play. I say “Anne?” and he looks at Buppa then back at me.

“You asking me or telling me, Gio?”

“Anne.”

He laughs and nods.

He asks what’s my favorite flavor and sometimes I say “Paolo” or “Cozmo” because I feel the maker in the flavor.


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Shaman Story Chapter X – Healing

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Little Girl Lost.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Healing

 
A woman comes on a hot August night. Grandpa and I sit on the frontporch watching traffic and sipping steaming hot espressos. She carries a boy in blue shorts, white shirt, blue three button jacket, knotted blue tie and topped with a blue hat. Her dark, mid-calf skits seem heavy in this heat. Her walk and clothing tell me she’s not from our neighborhood or any other I know. Her long, thick, black hair hangs loosely about her shoulders, not done up or held back with pins the Sicilian way. Her makeup is also thick and rich. A strap over her shoulder supports a large, beaded purse which hangs like some kind of bladder.

Grandpa smiles and nods as she walks past. She stops at our gate and opens it without asking, as if it’s her own.

On the porch her steps are so light the floor doesn’t creak and I can tell from the sound she wears expensive shoes.

Grandpa stands.

She talks in whispers and holds the boy out to Grandpa.

The boy is no older than me.

The woman puts him down. She pushes him at Grandpa.

Grandpa shakes his head and steers the boy back to the woman.

I come over and ask if the boy wants to play with me in the garden.

He pulls back into the woman’s skirts.

I Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe.

Grandpa puts his hand on my shoulder, a warning. I look up at him. He stares at me wide-eyed and shakes his head, no, pursing his lips.

Pain. Raw pain. Pain of an animal in a trap gnawing its own leg to be free.

I cry, my body, my bones, my joints on fire.

The boy.

Such pain. How can he stand?

Grandpa yells — it is the only time I hear him raise his voice in alarm — and pulls me back. His four-bodies come together, between me and the boy, falling like thunder.


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Shaman Story Chapter X – Little Girl Lost

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Passing.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Little Girl Lost

 
Buppa stands me in front of him, on the sand facing the ocean. Chan adjusts my feet so they point forward and are as wide apart as my shoulders.

“You ever ride a horse, Gio?”

“At the Festa de Sant Antony I did.”

“You remember how the horse felt under you?”

I nod.

“Feel like that now. Make believe you’re on the horse.

“Giddy yap.”

Chan smiles. “My people call this a horse stance because it’s like you ride a horse. Make sense?”

Chan always asks if he makes sense. I have to show him I understand before he continues.

“Now put your hands out like this.”

The shadow of Buppa’s arms comes over me. I look up over me and behind me. He’s doing the same thing I’m doing.

“What are you doing, Buppa?”

“I’ve got to learn, too, Gio. Chan does this much better than me.”

Chan adjusts my arms, levels my hands, straightens my fingers, taps my belly.

“What do we do first?”

“Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe.”

“Make sense?”

I Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe.

“Feel the ocean, feel its power, hear the waves coming in.”

My body gently rocks back and forth.

“Let the ocean move you. Be its water. Learn where its been. Feel where its going. Taste its bottom. See what moves there in the deep, deep dark.”

I rock with ocean’s movements, striking the land.

“This is Waves, Gio. We do this to learn the power of Ocean, this form of water, so we can draw on its power when we need to. Make sense?”

Buppa’s head rises, his eyes open.

Chan’s head rise. He follows Buppa’s gaze. “You’re needed, Giovanni.”

“Finish the boy’s lesson.”

“We can practice more later. Nobody gets it the first time.”

I stop rocking but keep standing, my arms outstretched, my fingers sensing the ocean. A shallow forms in front of me.

Chan claps his hands. “Gio! You make a liar out of Chan!”

***

Officers Morelli and Clarkson talk with Grandma on the porch. Their police car is in the street outside our gate.

They walk to us as we get out of Buppa’s truck, their hats held in the hands in front of them.

Offers Morelli and Clarkson are friends. They walk through our neighborhood often. Sometimes Officer Clarkson wears shiny black boots and rides a motorcycle. Sometimes Officer Morelli comes by in a police car and I get to ride around the neighborhood in front with him. Sometimes he sits me on his lap while he drives and I get to hold onto the steering wheel. “Oh, we’re in hot pursuit, Gio. Gonna get them crooks, Gio.” He drives funny so we go all over the street.

Officer Clarkson sits me on his motorcycle and puts his helmet on my head. It covers my eyes and I can’t see. He gets on behind me and goes “VROOM! VROOM! PUT-a-Put-a-put-a-put VROOM! VROOM! PUT-a-Put-a-put-a-put.” We put on the siren and Grandma comes out of the house, a kitchen towel over her ears. “Shut that damn thing off. You’ll deafen the boy.”

Officer Clarkson turns off the siren. “Sorry, Mrs. Fortune. Just giving the boy some fun.”

He looks at me and his face goes Whoops! Grandpa and I laugh.

Grandma goes back in and comes out with a cookie tin. “You ask that Cheryl girl to marry you yet?”

“Doing it tonight.”

“Gio, bring these to him.”

I hand him the tin and he starts to open it.

Grandma snaps the towel. “No, no you don’t. Those are for your girl to give you when she says ‘Yes.’”

Officer Clarkson perks up. “She’s going to say yes?”

Grandma looks at me. “What do you think, Gio? His girl gonna say yes?”

I shrug. I don’t know how to see through time yet. Buppa says time is a place like any other. You can get there if you know which direction to travel.

Grandma laughs. “You bring those cookies, Charlie. In case.”

Officer Morelli looks at Officer Clarkson. “I’m going to speak Italian, Charlie. No offense. So I’ll be understood better.”

Officer Clarkson nods. “Go ahead.”

Abbiamo bisogno di te, Maestro Fortuna.” We need you, Master Fortune.

I tug on Grandma’s apron. “Maestro Fortuna?”

She pulls me on her lap. ‘People call Buppa “Master” when their need is great.”

Buppa nods. “They request the Old Ways and are afraid.”

Una bambina è persa.” A little girl’s lost.

Buppa nods. “Il ragazzo viene con me questa volta.” The boy comes with me this time.

Morelli shakes his head. He turns to Officer Charlie. “He wants to bring Gio with him.”

Officer Charlie looks at me and then at Buppa. “I don’t know, Mr. Fortuna. We suspect…This could be…”

“So he can learn. For later.” Buppa pats my head. “Go help Grandma clean you up, put on fresh clothes. I got to wash, too. All this sand.”

Buppa sends me the sounds of the ocean, of the waves, the feel of the water, our feet in the sand, little crabs scurrying into the water, bubbles where clams lie under the sand.

I feel the ocean move me. Remember Chan’s lesson. Hear Buppa inside. “Good, Gio. Remember.”

We get in the police car. “Can I ride in front?”

Buppa nods. “For now. You’ll have to help me later, Gio. Do you want to help me?”

I get to help Buppa! “Always!”

Officer Clarkson lifts me over the back of the seat and puts me on his lap. “No sirens this time, Gio. Don’t want your grandma mad at me.”

I pout. He tickles me until I laugh.

Officer Morelli starts their car. He looks back to Buppa. “Where do we start?”

“Where did she live?”


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