They're scared of me and I don't know why. A black guy who looks like he was once a linebacker or prison guard is standing uncomfortably close, and by his expression, he will tolerate zero shit.
He escorts me into a more private room, with a gun-metal gray desk on one side and a single matching chair on the other. They ask me to sit, which I do.
". . .so, tell us what's been going on . . ."
"Well . . .these different people, characters, really want to speak and they're coming through me to do it . . ."
"Who wants to speak through you?"
"Uhh . . .well, one of them is an ex-Civil War officer who's posted in the Dakotas or somewhere like that, and another is like . . .Sitting Bull, or somebody . . ."
He speaks, My face feels suddenly unlike my own, He is now me:
"Cho hey, wa kanta ya. Cho hey . . ."
(I come in peace, in peace . . .)
They look at one another, and the black guy stands up straighter.
"Chey wah, yakema ti, hota ma chi nay. Chey wah . . ."
(This killing is unnecessary, let us talk, let us talk together)
Then the cavalry officer breaks in:
". . .he's trying to get some kind of treaty with us, but they (the Sioux) won't guarantee safe passage for the settlers . . .
He is sincere, and concerned behind his military decorum. I feel a . . .noblesse oblige, enjoying this chivalry but at the same time sharing Sitting Bull or more likely some other obscure American Plains Indian.
"Pawnee NaKanta jeh E whakan ho keena waNe." . .
(we cannot control the Pawnee . . .)
These two really, really want to work out an agreement, and if they can do it here, now, hundreds of thousands of lives may be saved; history changed. Am I in some Time wormhole . . .?" .
Then, a different one breaks in:
"OnJe gow needo hai jeeWan"
(The true warrior fights only himself)
This is the Japanese martial arts master. My posture changes to his: formal and erect, putting his hands together in front of his sternum as if praying, and bowing to the men at the desk.
"Eenco hey: on mai Gee Nah."
(you are in no danger, there is no need for you to worry)
The black guy moves towards me, flanking my left side. Apparently he has seen enough of this one man play/freak show. I know many different ways to take him down, but have no impulse whatsoever to do it. I hold my hands out, as if demonstrating that I am unarmed.
"Arrite let's go . . ."
He grabs me at my elbow to lead me out of the room. I know better than to resist: there are far too many men here who want me controlled. They are all far more afraid than they need to be.
"EEnco hey . . .on mai Gee Na. . ."
looking the guard in the eye. He is not comforted by this, and tightens his grip on my elbow , pushing me into the elevator.
"C'mon, man, just GO . . ."
I'm afraid, but am breathing deeply, as if I'm in a waking nightmare that I can only navigate by mastering my emotions now. When I exhale, slowly, I lift my soft palate and make a low hiss that sounds deep in my nose, that only I can hear, which helps me to stay calm.
He reaches out and hits floor number "3".