Edward Daigle discovers riches underneath the larger of the 2 castles on the property. So quickly becoming a Midas figure and never having any money beforehand, he decides not to tell Jem about the find, keeping it all for himself. Maybe they’ll get married now, maybe they won’t. And anyway, she probably has only 30 good days left in her, maybe less. It was actually ten, about the same amount of days it will take for me to complete this here photo-novel, 33 in a series of, so far, 33. Totally serial about that. Jem will be dead, he thinks, and I’ll have all these gold nuggets and gems and such as consolation. If I can keep this a secret.
He suddenly has a desire to go sledding in all of it.
“What did you do while I was away, Edward?”
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
“Oh you had to do *something.* Did you chop wood? I suspect you chopped wood.”
“Yeah, that’s it. Chopping wood.” He even recalled a pile chopped earlier he could point to for an alibi.
“Well *I* found John.” Oh yeah… in the excitement Edward forgot why Jem had actually left for a couple of days. John. Wait… “John?!”
“Yes: John. The John. With an L in his name.”
“Is (long pause) he dead?” But then Edward remembered that Tessa had the actual 6 shooters attached to her waist and became less worried about that.
Another roll. 2 sixes again. It was becoming clear why they call her the shooter. She moves her red piece to X and pops a stick of Wriggleton spearmint gum into her mouth, irritating Edward further with the subsequent, slightly open mouth mastication. He rolls. 4. Then a 2 then a 3 then a 2. He’s on N still. She’s on W — or maybe it was V — anyway, not only ahead of him in the alphabit (as they called it in those days) but one ahead of him in rounds. When it comes to 3 or a little after he gets so upset he rakes the pieces off the board with his hands and pulls his own 6 shooters out, aiming them all around, toward apparently just observing Edward (the other Edward who, to us, remains Edward after the game and into the present), toward Tessie (our Tessa all grown up). He’d been saving them up his sleeves for a cheat. Dang, Other Edward, he thinks, knowing the 3rd pair of watching eyes joining him and Tessa near the beginning wouldn’t allow him the chance. The Edward who afterwards, to us, becomes Eddy throws one 6 shooter die at one and the other at the other. “Die” he says to each in turn, earnestly but of course without results. Is this some kind of curse? non-participating Edward thinks, rubbing his forehead and feeling a little bump forming there. This is some kind of curse, game dominating Tessie knows, feeling her own bump rise. She’d seen it before. In a bar in Midas, Nevada during the gold rush of the late 1800s. A man became so crazy he went sledding in it. In the middle of July. In circles. She’ll never forget that image, even though it’s from a different life. Rosebud.
Head still smarting, she looked down at the 6 sided die that had fallen in her lap, with 6’s on all sides, 3 visible to her in the instant. This is where it ends, she knows. She decides that her long pondered over and even inevitable tattoo will point there. She will hold ultimate power from now on, 13 always devolving to 12 when push comes to shove. And it will.
(to be continued)