THE CHESTERFIELD KING
Then there is my ole buddy “Emphysema on a Rascal”. His real name is Billy, he’s an old timer I met many years ago. Wow, he was almost dead back then now that I think about it. He was on one of them electric carts, skinny and ready to die. Don’t think he had any lungs left. He was on Oxygen and way sickly. He just had surgery or something and the docs did not think they got all the cancer when I met him, he was very sad. Then he told me it was not because he was going to die that made him sad. It was the fact no one would give him a smoke. So I gave him one of mine since I smoked back then. I turned off his oxygen and sparked up a smoke. He took one long hard drag and almost did in the cigarette. When he exhaled, he looked at me and said, “That’s all I needed”, in a deep clear voice. His ashen color turned pink and healthy.
I ran into ole Billy recently. He was cruising down a bumpy old rez road in his new Scooter. There he was still as sickly and skinny as ever and still puffing on a Marlboro Gold 100. He looked good for a dying man. My buddy Emphysema. What’s a sickly old white man doing hanging around a bunch of skins for? Well if the fact were known. His family took in Cheyenne’s after the Washita Massacre when we escaped to Fort Supply Oklahoma back in the day. There were many white families who risked their lives to hide my people from Custer and his band of perverted soldiers. Custer would murder white people who harbored fugitive skins under the thin guise of Marshal Law. Actually he did not want witnesses to his atrocities.
Truly we would not be here at all if every white person in the land wanted us killed off. Sadly there was enough to almost wipe us from existence. But there were good people who just did not buy into the media frenzy about those “Dirty Savages”.
So on the pothole ridden streets of my reserve, on any given day, rain or snow, you’ll find Billy Rolling along on his Rascal. A 16-ounce can of beer in one cup holder and a pack of smokes in the other cup holder. And there sits Billy with a three tooth smile, puffing on a ciggy. You would not think much of ole Billy just looking at him. But to us he is one of our own fore his family are hero’s according to oral tradition. They risked their lives so a hand full of Cheyenne survivors of Sand Creek and Washita would not disappear from history.
Creativity is the byproduct of a fertile mind