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Mike Waters

Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix

  God Damn a Potato E.C. Kasalivich  

        Nathan Seven Elks was feeling pretty good with himself. The chief had pulled him in for an appraisal and spent a good forty minutes singing his praises. Said he should go for lieutenant. It made Nathan smile. Hell if he even halfway liked the job, he figured he'd be at least captain by now. He had no intention of going for lieutenant. Couldn't hack the politics. And anyway, the job already stood in the way enough. He would have to commit to be lieutenant, and even more home life would slide away. Still, there was the good feeling that despite it all, he was seen to be doing a good job.
        Now, there were certain things that Nathan believed were his God-given right, and one of them was to drink Bud from the bottle after a hard shift. Annette told him he was uncouth, and would always bring a glass. Nathan would use the glass - by turning it upside down and making it a stand for his bottle. Nathan sat in his favorite chair reading about the Oklahoma State Cowboy's last game. He'd no particular love for football, but he'd had a friend who played for them some years back, and since then he kept up a loyal interest.
        Annette came in leading Johnny Hawk. 'Visitor for you.'
        'Hey, Johnny! What up?' he said folding his paper.
        'Like a beer, Johnny?' asked Annette.
        'Sure, thanks. I'm done driving for the day.'
        Nathan motioned for Johnny to take a seat. 'You in trouble of some kind, Johnny?'
        'No, sir!'
        Nathan nodded, slow and knowingly. 'Must be buttons then.'
        Johnny smiled and nodded affirmation. 'Yeah. Buttons. Just two Nathan. Proper use, I swear.'
        Nathan shook his head and screwed up his brow. 'They're getting rare now, y'know? I've a mind to send you down to scrubby old southern Texas and pick your own.'
        Annette came in with a bottle of Budweiser, the cap off and beads of water forming on the bottle. 'Here you go, Johnny. One beer, and one glass,' she said, looking side-long at her husband as she emphasized the last word. Nathan winked at her. As she left, Johnny took a swig from the bottle, then up-ending the glass, put it to the same use as Nathan's. The two men exchanged conspiratorial smiles.
        'So. What kind of ceremony you planning?' asked Nathan.
        'Initiation,' said Johnny. 'Double-initiation as a matter of fact.'
        'You can handle a double? Who?'
        'Jay,' said Johnny to Nathan's obvious pleasure. 'And Mike Waters.' Nathan's face immediately fell.
        'Uh-uh! No buttons. It would be illegal. He's a white boy.'
        'He's a quarter Kiowa!'
        Nathan quit gulping, mid-swig, and held the beer in his mouth for a moment before swallowing. 'You don't say?'
        'It's true, Nathan. Told me just tonight. His family name used to be "Eagle-Waters".'
        Nathan's face lightened, and then beamed. 'You know, I thought there was Indian blood in him first time I laid eyes!'
        'So, do I get the buttons?'
        Nathan dragged it out, slowly drinking a little more beer. 'I guess you do. But I'll check with Medicine-Dove, see if peyote can have any bad effect on him - him an' his condition.'

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