Friday, October 17, 2003


He had fasted for many days as he wandered the prairie naked, far from his tribe, seeking the vision that would make him a shaman. But he had heard no voice, only the sky-wide sweep of the prairie grasses, shoulder-high, whispering the long word of the wind. Then one evening as he stood on a low hill overlooking a broad plain covered with buffalo as far as the eye could see, he suddenly was able to look further, and envisioned a great chain of hamburger stands, highlighting the shoulders of six-lane expressways through a great, rich city rising higher and higher into the sky where junior executives from renowned universities worked at keyboards in cubicles among the clouds from 9 to 5 above a howling metropolitan area surrounded by vast stockyards linked to key railway connections festooned with wire that led off to other great cities and international airports. He envisioned a Pontiac dealership with many perks, and returned at once to his tribe to share his vision with the elders, who when he told them could not stop laughing; for what could possibly be the value of such mad visions? He was definitely not shaman material, they concluded, and assigned him the task of picking berries with the old women, who tagged him with the nickname he bore till the end of his days.

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