Bro, Where’s My Wallet?

Aug 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Student 2009
By Ross D. Luther

It is early morning and Lloyd has risen to build the fire to warm up the chilly house. He also starts the coffee. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee soon permeates the air. The silence is broken with Lloyd yelling for Sissy to wake up.

“We have to make this a quick breakfast,” says Lloyd.

Walking into the kitchen still sleepy, Sissy asks, “Why?”

“Because I have to scrape up enough money to pay my fines to get my Per Cap check today. We really need this money to get us out of debt.”

“If this is supposed to be quick, then I don’t have time. I’ll get my breakfast at school,” says Sissy.

“I’ve already had my coffee and a piece of Indian Steak and cold fry bread,” Lloyd says.

They go out the door into the cool morning and get into the old rattlelac, her dad’s pickup. It is old, just like the owner, so it takes awhile to get going. Finally it coughs to life and they head toward the high school.

On the way there Sissy informs Lloyd, “Remember we still have to go after groceries this evening in Albuquerque. So don’t forget to pick me up after work today. Oh yeah, don’t be hanging out with R.O. today. He is just no good. Something always happens when you two get together.”

“Yeah! Yeah!” Lloyd replies.

Sissy kisses Lloyd and makes him promise to behave. Lloyd watches Sissy until she disappears behind a pair of red double doors. He pulls out of the parking lot and makes his way over to the tribal building, thinking of ways to get the money for his fines. Last night at the village meeting he wasn’t sure if the head village officer, Victor, said fifteen or fifty. His right ear has been a source of difficulty ever since he fought Charley outside the Dixie Tavern. Lloyd pulls into the parking lot where he sees people filing into the building already. But the old Ford doesn’t stop right away. He has to pump the brakes furiously to get the rattlelac to stop. People see this and chuckle to themselves.

“Piece of shit truck,” Lloyd mutters to himself as he exits the truck.

Once inside he gets in line with the others, and the smell of breakfast emanating from the snack bar makes him wish that he’s had more than coffee, fry bread and bologna this morning. The sound of children playing and women gossiping add to the noise in the building, making it hard for him to hear.

When he does get to the table where the village officers are sitting, he greets them and asks, “What’s the damage?”

Almost in unison they tell him fifteen dollars. He proceeds to reach for his wallet, which should be in his left rear pocket. But there is nothing there. His pocket is empty.

“What in the world?” he exclaims. The others in line become impatient and start tapping their toes as if that will make him hurry up.

“I’ll be right back,” he tells the village officers.

Lloyd hurriedly goes outside, coincidentally bumping into his nephew Dalton, who is talking on his cell phone.
“Give me that cell phone, Nephew. I need to call R.O. and ask him if he has my wallet,” Lloyd demands.

“Dang, Uncle, that’s why you shouldn’t get so buzzed all the time, then you wouldn’t lose things,” Dalton says to his uncle.

After a few rings R.O. picks up the phone and says, “Hello?

“Hey, bro, do you have my wallet?” Lloyd asks.

“No, I don’t remember much of last night — only when you dropped me off at home. Sorry I can’t help you more, but I have to help my mom bake bread,” R.O. replies.

“Dang, I have to find that wallet ASAP. I need to pay my fines before I can get my check today,” Lloyd whines.
“Tell me about it. That’s why I am helping out over here today,” R.O. replies.

“Talk to you later, dude,” says Lloyd. He finally gives the cell phone back to his nephew, who by now is irritated.

“It’s about time,” Dalton says.

Annoyed, Lloyd gets back into the old Ford, hoping it will start without difficulty. “Come on, baby, start for daddy!” Lloyd begs the truck. Just then, as if the sweet talk worked, the old truck’s engine turns over easily. By now it is midmorning and the weather is warming up, hence, the old Ford’s cooperativeness. Lloyd begins to retrace last night’s events before he drives back to his house. “I think I know where it is,” he yells. He stomps on the gas and the tires squeal on the old Ford as he races out of the parking lot. He leaves a cloud of dust behind him.

As he approaches his house, he sees a black dot in the sea of drab tan that is the driveway. “Is that it? Is that my wallet?” Lloyd wonders aloud.

Forgetting to pump the brakes, he thinks this old truck might just go through his front window and into the living room. After a few quick pumps, the aged pickup finally stops. Lloyd jumps out to pick up his wallet but sees he has parked on it. He hops back into the cab and takes it out of gear. It rolls a little and he is able to retrieve the wayward wallet.

“Yes! Yes! What a relief,” Lloyd squeals with delight.

He drives back to the tribal building with the same urgency as when he had left. To his surprise the rattlac seems to be cooperating by starting and stopping on a dime. He jumps out and flies through the doors. Back in line once more and finally in front of the village officers again, Lloyd breathes a sigh of relief.

Victor, the head village officer, tells Lloyd, “Well, did you find your wallet? You need to put a dummy cord on that thing. Oh yeah, Sissy called over here and told me to tell you that she is getting off from work early and to go after her now!”

Lloyd nods his head in acknowledgement. He pays his fines, and when he looks at the Per Cap check, it is for $3,200. “Holy cow!” Lloyd whoops. He runs out the doors, nearly wiping out a grandma on her motorized chair. He gets back into the old Ford and it starts like it isn’t the 40 year old truck it is.

He drives to the trading post to cash his check. While filling up the tank, he recalls the morning’s events. Then he goes back inside to pay for the gas, a bouquet of roses, and a Snickers bar for Sissy. It is around one o’clock in the afternoon, but in the light of the approaching fall it looks much later. Lloyd pulls up in front of the high school where Sissy is standing patiently waiting for him.

As she opens the door and gets in, he has a grin on his face, “Guess what?”

“I don’t have a clue,” Sissy replies.

“My check is for $3, 200,” Lloyd says, smiling.

“Wow!” says Sissy as she smiles widely, too.

“We’re going out to dinner in town tonight.” Lloyd says, as he hugs Sissy.

Ross D. Luther (Laguna and Chippewa) is a Marine Corp veteran of the first Gulf War, and a sophomore at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) in Lawrence, KS. Luther moved to the area in 1998 where he is employed in facilities operations at the University of Kansas.

Luther was encouraged by Nina April, his girlfriend, and Winona Hansen, his sister, a 1993 HINU graduate, to attend college. He says, “I should have first attended some 20 odd years ago.”

“I wanted to earn a degree in American Indian Studies but since I have received a taste for writing I may lean toward a creative writing degree,” says Luther. He adds, “I got my start in the summer of 2008, when I was exposed to writing poetry and short stories by my wonderful instructor, Trish Reeves.” Luther says, “I am very thankful to her.”

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