Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Seamus Redfeather

A man on a plane is trying to open up a conversation with a hot chick sitting beside him, and finally decides upon, "What's that you're reading?"

She says, "oh, it's very fascinating; they did a study of penises from several different cultures, and this article discusses the trends they discovered."

"Really?" he responds, warming to the idea of talking about one of his favorite body parts. "Like what?"

"Well, they discovered that Native American men have the longest penises, and Amish men's are the thickest."

"Wow," he responds, liking her already.

"My name's Gretchen," she says, "what's yours?"

"Tonto. Tonto Yoder."

Ghost Walker, by Margaret Coel

That has nothing to do with the book, but as I was reading it, I kept thinking how it seemed like a cross between Father Dowling and Tony Hillerman, and even though Dowling's Catholic, the thought still led me back to this joke.

The joke is unrelated, but the comparison to the book is pretty apt. Father John is a jesuit priest at a mission on an Arapahoe reservation. Vicky, whose last name I also don't remember, is an Arapahoe lawyer who grew up on said rez. On his way to a very important meeting one night, John's truck craps out on him, and on the walk to the main road in search of a lift (in the middle of nowhere, during the dead of winter--good plan, John), he finds a body tossed in the ditch. Once he gets to the main road, he manages to hitch a ride with--as he soon figures out--the dude who dumped the body. Wisely, he doesn't mention it.

By the time the police arrive on scene an hour or so later, the body's gone, everyone is convinced that there's a ghost wandering the earth and causing mischief (like causing John's truck to break down), and John has missed the meeting entirely. Believe it or not, those are all connected. Because John spends the rest of the book trying to figure out A: what happened to the body, B: what happened to a young Arapahoe man who's been missing for a few days, and C: who is trying to shut down his mission, why they'd want to do it, and how to keep it from happening. I know, that last one sounds like three things, and the first two seem like a slam-dunk (oh, yeah--there's basketball, too), but just go with it. It'll work out. I promise.

It's another mystery, which I dig, and I usually didn't get it exactly right until just before John, which I also dig (at least one of those was just a good guess anyway), but the part that really bugs me is... going to blow it for you if I tell you here. Let's see... I would have preferred that things had not been tied up as neatly as they had been. Yeah, that works.

There are some familiar stereotypes, like the alcoholic Irish priest, and some thoroughly unpronounceable and indecipherable spellings of the Arapahoe language (there are colons and threes in the middle of the damn words), and I'm not entirely convinced that the cultures are depicted truly, or that they would mesh so well, but that didn't mean it wasn't fun to read.

Also, I feel the need to add that if this had been one of ket's books, the priest and the lawyer, instead of just taking mental notes of hot the other is, would have broken that habit (HA! ...oh, wait, that doesn't work here) and just got their freak on. Instead, she gives him a cassette player.

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posted by reyn at 3:01 PM


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