( Naaki Tslichi)
( Naaki Tslichi)
Taaei Doo Da. No turning back.
Everyone who lived this story, and was old enough to know all of it, is dead. Except me…and I’m dying. The injuries that forced my retirement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1984 should have already killed me. The doctors wanted to put a morphine pump in my back eight years ago…to keep me comfortable. They said six months. They were wrong. But…it’s getting close. I can feel it. Smell it. The way my Acheii, my mother’s great-grandfather could smell a storm coming on a hot, cloudless day. He was never wrong. And he taught me. The storm is coming. I don’t know how much time I’ve got before it gets here. I don’t think I can afford to wait any longer. I’ve always known I would have to tell the story. But I also knew, once I did…Taaei Doo Da. No turning back.
My birth mother was Dine. Navajo. My birth father was Bellaganno. White. A psycho, white state trooper. He beat her to death in front of me when I was little. Tried to kill me. My Acheii stopped him. I heard people whisper at my mother’s funeral. They pointed their chins at me(Dine don’t point with our fingers…it’s considered rude) and walked away. I thought they were calling me two piles of horseshit. I cried. That night, in my Acheii’s Hogan, I asked him why they called me that. He told me I listened like an old woman, not like his Aye…his grandson. Naaki Tslichi. Naaki means two. Tslichi means horseshit…but it’s also slang for dog. Two Dog. I asked him why they called me Two Dog. He said they were afraid of me.
“When the Great Spirit made us, he put two dogs inside of everyone. One white. One black. The one you feed the most rules you. Most people feed their white dog the most. Only when it is fat and sleeps does their black dog come out. Some people feed their black dog the most. Like your father. When it gets strong enough, it kills their white dog. They have no good left in them. They do not fear the white dogs. They laugh at them and herd them like dibe...like sheep. They only fear the two dog.”
“Then why do they call me Two Dog?”
“You were born under the blood moon, like your Acheii...your father was a black dog, your mother a white dog, like your Acheii…you feed both dogs, like your Acheii...you are not good...not bad...you are like the wind...like me.”
An older Bellagonno couple came to the reservation not long after that. Missionaries. They adopted me. My Acheii told me to go with them. They took me back to Los Angeles with them. I grew up. Got married. Had two little girls. Their mother was evil. A black dog. I went on the Sheriff’s Department. Back then, they hired you before the academy. Put you to work in Admin or one of the jails. A captain approached me. Wanted me to go undercover. Narcotics. He was the only one who would know…for my safety.
The reservation and the hood have a lot in common. You get jumped in when you’re old enough. Different ways, but still the rite of passage into manhood shit. Different language from whites. Special names different from your white name. There’s more, but you get the idea. It was a natural fit for me. And, I got lucky. Walking in the hood one day. Setting up my cover story. Pretty young black girl runs by. Two Bloods grab her. Try and force her into a car. I pulled her away. We ran down an alley. They came after us. Capping off rounds. Looked like we were goners.
I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s like everything went into slow motion. I wasn’t scared…in fact, I didn’t feel anything. I pulled out my piece(it was my dad’s gun) and took my time. I felt chunks of brick go by my head. Never panicked. Two shots at each. They both went down. My dad had always told me (my real dad, the one who raised me, not the sick fuck that raped my birth mother), “…if you have to take someone down, don’t let’em get back up…” I walked up to where they were lying on the ground. Not dead yet, but close. Shot them one more time each anyway. In the head. Now everything goes back to regular time. I hear sirens. A car pulls up. Young black guy jumps out. The girl’s older brother, B.D. OG Crip. Big timer. Pushes both of us in the car and takes off.
After that, I was golden. No undercover cop is going to walk up to two wounded suspects and put one between their eyes to finish them off, right? Yeah…fuck me. Gotta take a break from writing…take my pain pills. This shit is killing me.