From then on, the day's work began. He worked hard and only flipped once. Dan had briefed Bill on his condition, and when Mike woke up he was in an armchair at the back of the office with a blanket over him. He got his head together in double-time and got back to the pumps. Time flew, and soon the auto sailing in was Johnny's. Mike felt his heart lift. Johnny saw him casually throw a wave in his direction.
As Johnny drew up, Bob came hurrying from the office. He congratulated Mike on a good day's work and handed him another two uniform shirts. 'These here are my own. You'll need more than just the one I gave you already.' He grinned. 'Some days you can be "Bill", others you can be "Bob". That'll really get the customers confused.'
'How'd it go?' asked Johnny as he opened the throttle.
Mike yawned. 'Cool.'
'Soft as they get.'
Johnny smiled. They'd struck a deal, him and Mike. He'd run Mike into work every morning. Pick him up each evening. Mike would pay for the gas.
'How 'bout you, Johnny. You have a good day?'
'Sure. Got one more oil change then that's me for the day.'
'Need any help? I mean - I can't hardly tell a gear from a gasket but you tell me which nuts to twist and I'll twist 'em.'
Johnny shook his head and chuckled. 'Okay, but I'd better be careful which nuts I'm pointing to, huh?'
Mike flushed deep red, but then laughed in spite of himself. Then, in the guise of a joke, he put out a probe. 'Whatever nuts you want twisting man, you got it.' He said through laughter.
Johnny chuckled at that, but not in any way that Mike could read the sign he needed to see.
'When the oil's done, I could drop you back at the Wilbur's, or you can eat with me. I'll just get a take-away or something. And after that, I've got a favor to ask of old Bear.'
'Jay's old man.'
'The cop? Nathan?'
'Yeah,' said Johnny. A jackrabbit ran across the road and Johnny swerved. 'Look. Try and keep Saturday after next free, Mike, will you?'
'Well, yeah. So long as I don't get invited to the Governor's house for dinner or such like.'
'I'm planning something, see. Kind of special. And to do with my people, you know?'
Mike nodded understanding that Johnny's 'my people' meant Indians and not his folks. He was intrigued but asked no questions.
'It's something I want you to be part of Mike. You got Indian blood?'
Mike shrugged. 'Maybe. I don't know a lot about my relations.'
'You're a quarter Indian, Mike. Tell me you're a quarter Indian. It's important.'
'Just tell me Mike. Trust me.'
Mike was thoroughly puzzled, but he couldn't see the harm. 'Okay Johnny. I am one quarter Indian.'
'Hey Mikey! That's really cool! What tribe?'
'Come on Mike. What tribe?'
'Oh for crying out loud. I don't know. Kiowa!'
Johnny took his eyes off the road and beamed a huge grin at Mike. 'Kiowa's cool. That'll play.'
Mike was one hundred percent bemused. He knew Johnny wasn't playing him for a fool, but he couldn't fathom the reason behind the last few minute's conversation.