|A Spanish-Apache Duel
||[Jun. 1st, 2012|03:30 pm]
I really ought to be more timely with these, though lately it's been primarily circumstance keeping me from posting progress reports rather than laziness.
PROGRESS REPORT FOR 5/28-30/12
New Words: 3750 (1550 / 900 / 1300) on Chapter 6 ("The Presidio") of Arizona. Alejandro, now a lieutenant in the Spanish army, and Itsa-Ichii, a full-fledged Apache warrior, spot each other during an Apache attack on Fort Tucson, and can't decide if they hate or admire what they see.
Total Words: 125700. This puts me at the halfway point to my total projected word count.
Reason(s) For Stopping: Usually nightfall; the computer monitor in an unfortunately dark room at night gives me headaches.
Book Year: 1782.
Mammalian Assistance: Vegas guarded his box pile while Nugget guarded my lap, while also wanting constant recognition (in the form of petting) while she was doing so.
Exercise: Round-trip walks to campus, walking Tucker around the neighborhood.
Stimulants: Occasional Dr. Pepper, some orange and fruit punch snow cones.
Today's Opening Passage(s):
Monday: In 1782, when Alejandro was eighteen, he took the blue collar of a lieutenant in the regular army of New Spain and left for the San Agustin del Tucson presidio. The giant black Andalusian had long since become Alejandro’s closest companion—the young man assumed if he were to find his own Companions as the king had, he would do so in the army. As Alejandro explained to the animal that with luck they would fight the marauding savages who stole him those years ago, the horse’s head thrust forward with curiosity as if he could already see the fort.
Tuesday: Her band had been afraid to attack the Spaniards’ walls, but Itsa-Ichii had not been afraid to draw close enough to them again and again to study them. How high—less than twice a man. How thick—less than half a man. And through the odd gaps in that wall that didn’t quite connect at the edges, she could see how few white-eye soldiers were inside, and what poor shots they were. She saw the foolish, weak Pimas who served them. Most of all, she saw how the Spanish didn’t even care about their horses enough to protect them by keeping them inside the walls, or have men guarding the fences.
Wednesday: The attack came around ten on the Sunday morning of May 1st and assaulted the presidio in two waves: Sweeping from the north around to Indian Town and their old enemies the Pimas, who showed little resistance, and then the fort itself. Itsa-Ichii was part of the attack against Fort Tucson, and though she was not the leader, many followed her.
Darling Du Jour: Morale was still low and the officers still cared little for how much training the men received. Alejandro knew he could improve their skills…if he could get their attention.
As the year entered March and the winds were still frigid, he came up with his answer: He would challenge them to outdo him.
Not simply outshoot them. That would only be seen as arrogance, and even the famous Spaniard competitive machismo, honed by Moors in past centuries and Apaches now, did not extend to mere target practice. So Alejandro stripped down to nothing but his pants—bare above the waist and bare feet on a windy forty degree day—and thus began holing a target.
The other officers—besides his brother, who knew at once was the young man was about—ignored him except to jeer and ridicule the “crazy farmer”. But the soldiers were studying him more closely. This Lieutenant Alvarez might be an officer from a wealthy villa, they groused, and crazy, but how could they let him show them up like that? One by one the soldiers, to the dismay of the officers, pulled off their boots, stripped to the waist, and answered his challenge.
So thanks to Alejandro, they were ready when the Apache attacked the still-unfinished Fort Tucson in May.
Submissions Sent Out In May: None. Partly intentional and partly happenstance, this marks the first time in eight years that I went for a full month without sending out any short stories and/or poems.
Non-Research / Review Books In Progress: dancinghorse; V: The Second Generation by Kenneth Johnson.