It was about eleven forty five pm when the two young men arrived back into town. After another thirty five minutes the two weary men put away the last of their camping gear, and drained the luke warm water out of the over sized camp cooler. Sonny Ray carried an armful of firewood around to the hogan. Dwayne was nursing a sore back, and favored his comfortable bed in the house. Sonny Ray grabbed his bedroll from the truck. Dwayne had just texted Nadia, to let her know they got back okay. After hanging up, Dwayne headed for a hot shower. Sonny Ray rummaged through the refrigerator looking for something marginally edible to eat. In the morning they would need to go do a grocery run, as Dwayne wanted to set up his house as headquarters to take down the two bad cops. Before long Dwayne appeared in the kitchen. Sonny Ray had nodded off in the kitchen chair. Sonny Ray’s face twitched, as if he was dreaming. Dwayne lightly shook his shoulder. Sonny Ray opened his eyes, and looked around, trying to orient himself. He finally stood up and headed down the hallway to a hot shower. After saying goodnight Sonny Ray left out the back door to the hogan. He entered slowly as there were no lights in this particular hogan. Cyrus had liked the simplicity of that. Sonny Ray fumbled around in the dark for a few minutes, and eventually a small fire in the center of the dirt floor was lit. As the light slowly filled the room causing the darkness to take it’s leave, Sonny Ray laid out his bedroll near to the small fire. He looked over at a bench and noticed an old pillow. It didn’t have a pillow case, but Sonny Ray was not in a position to be so choosy. It was left there by Cyrus prior to going to Shiprock mountain. It was grey with the dark blue stripes. It was an old style goose feather pillow. Sonny Ray hadn’t seen one like this in years. It was a warm night so Sonny Ray dispensed with his clothes. After laying down he tossed and turned for a bit. He fluffed up the pillow, and closed his eyes. After a few minutes he felt something tickling his nose. He reached up and located a small goose feather on the bridge of his nose. After fluffing his pillow once again Sonny Ray drifted off into a long and sleep deprived slumber.
Later that night Sonny Ray felt a cool breeze blowing across his face and chest. He reached for his blanket, and immediately felt another damn goose feather on his forehead. He reached for it in the dark, but could not seem to locate it. Embers from the fire were all that remained, as Sonny Ray opened his eyes. He looked around slowly as a feeling of queasiness came over him. He then realized he was longer in the hogan. As a matter of fact he wasn’t even standing on solid ground. Sonny Ray slowly started to smile. He didn’t know how Dwayne had pulled this off, but he had to admit this was a good gag. “Okay Dwayne, come on out, you got me good cuz. You are the man!” Sonny Ray roared. He waited. He slowly looked around, as it dawned on him something was not right. As a matter of fact he was on all fours, naked and upon the shoulders of a gigantic black eagle. Sonny Ray looked down. His mouth gaped wide in shock, as he realized this was no joke. He was not the victim of his new friends prank.
Sonny Ray sat akwardly upon huge plumes of black and white feathers. He felt himself slipping to one side. Without warning the black eagle dream turned its head, exposing it’s frisbee sized eye. The black eagle looked right through Sonny Ray. He was naked and afraid. He grabbed on tightly to the feathers of the eagle as the large predator banked gradually, heading west. Sonny Ray looked down, scared shitless as the San Francisco Peaks seemed to fade quickly from his sight. A cool breeze blew through his long hair. Sonny Ray wished he had his clothes. He lay curled up in a ball, trying to get under the plumes of black and white feathers. The giant black eagle flapped his wings in powerful rhythm. The black eagle continued to fly relentlessly for hours. Sonny Ray could see the lights of a city as it continued on. As they approached the large encampment, Sonny Ray could see the Las Vegas strip. He wondered if the black eagle would let him off in the city. He made a weak attempt to steer the eagle but to no avail, as Las Vegas began to fade in the background. In time they approached the large city of Los Angeles, which like Vegas too; faded into nothingness. It was incipient to Sonny Ray that the black eagle had a plan, a destination. It continued to flap its mighty black wings as Sonny Ray could see the coastline end, and the Pacific Ocean begin. It was a cloudy night, which caused the moon to play hide and seek with the apprehensive Sonny Ray. The stars shown bright as the black eagle headed out over this ocean highway. They flew into the night as Sonny Ray pretended not to be afraid. Looking down, he could see the tails of giant sperm whales. They soon distanced themselves from these gentle giants of the sea. The black eagle began to slowly drop in altitude. Sonny Ray’s eyes were heavy with sleep. He gently leaned forward, and soon fell fast asleep on the black eagle.
He dreamed of his family, his dad, and of Cyrus. He dreamed of Altair Ali. His life was in review or so it seemed as he sat upon the shoulders of the black eagle dream. He contemplated things that had slipped through his hands, like time. Like his life. The black eagle cried out, jolting Sonny Ray into an attentive state. Sonny Ray sat up straight, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. The sun was shining, causing him to squint. The large eagle made an unannounced dive, which caused a funny feeling in his gut. As they continued to drop in altitude, a warm, knowing smile came across his face. He was home. The outline of the Hawaiian islands stood majestically in the middle of the sea. The black eagle dream began to circle the big island. Something though was not quite right. It began to dawn on Sonny Ray that something was amiss with this. For one, it was less inhabited. There was no Parker ranch shopping mall. There was no Sure Save grocery store or the gas station on the corner. However, it was the vehicles that really arrested his attention. He wondered if they were filming a period type film, or perhaps a classic car show was in Waimea town. There was nothing but classic cars on the road. The black eagle made slow sweeping turns, seemingly to give him the opportunity to observe the activity below. As he continued to watch, the black eagle dropped lower from the sky. Then he saw it. It was his grandparents house. The ranch provided all employees a home.
His grandma’s house looked relatively new. He saw dark skinned men on horseback, moving cattle from one paddock to another. The black eagle flew over the ranch house again. Sonny Ray saw a commotion near the back porch, near to the fudo house. The eagle circled once more, and gently landed. Sonny Ray didn’t understand how the tree could support the weight of the giant eagle. It had landed on a large banyan tree, not too far from the river that flowed from the mountains, and down through the back yard. He had a birds eye view of his grandparents home. Sonny Ray smiled. Now he knew where that saying had come from. Sonny Ray saw a dark thickset man with wavy black hair stumbling around in the back yard. He was yelling, but Sonny Ray could not make out what he was saying. The blood drained from his face as he realized the man, the dark skinned hawaiian man, was his grandfather. It was then that Sonny Ray understood where he really was. The Black Eagle Dream had returned him to the past. To his mother’s time. Sonny Ray had chicken skin, as he watched an old family story come to life before his very eyes. Sonny Ray was in Hawai’i during the 1940’s. His grandmother, Annie, stood quietly praying. Sonny Ray began to discern that the small children were in fact, his aunties and uncles. He then recognized his mother. She was small, and petite. She stood there frozen in sheer terror. All of them did. Their father, after a long day of working on the ranch had went and got pissy drunk. His association with liquor was in it’s infancy phase. Much like a child who had been given sugar for the first time. Sonny Ray’s grandfather was a hard working man whose reputation with training horses was legendary in the small tight knit ranching community of his era. However, when he drank, he was just hard, and mean. The drunken man stumbled up the two staired porch, nearly falling into the small wooden screen door. Sonny Ray saw his mother. She was the baby of this large hawaiian family, and she now stood clinging to her mother. She was sobbing uncontrollably. Sweety, as she was known then was terrified of her father when he had been drinking. Sonny Ray saw his uncle Walter. He too was afraid, but was not going to let it show. He was young, but he was brave. Sonny Ray sat helpless atop the black eagle. His grandfather had emerged from the house, stumbling down the steps once again. He had an old action lever rifle in his hand. He used it to hunt, and to put a horse down on occasion. Today however, he informed his family that he wanted to do some target practice; and they would be the targets. He had made them line up side by side in the grassy opening near the large hand stacked lava rock wall. They all stood quietly, as the drunken man stumbled around the yard speaking an unintelligible combination of both hawaiian and pidgin english. The man searched several pockets before locating some shells to load the rifle with. Sonny Ray was horrified. He saw his child mother. Sonny Ray wanted to climb off the shoulders of the large black eagle so that he could stop his grandfather. Sonny Ray wanted his wife, he wanted his daughter. He just wanted to go home. His legs though betrayed him. They were frozen in fear, and would not obey. He was helpless. Sonny Ray began to yell. No one could hear him though, or so he thought. He continued to yell, when finally his child mother looked in his direction. She continued to look in his direction until their eyes finally met. “Mom run!!” Sonny Ray screamed. He continued to yell, urging all of them to get out of there. The little girl stood their in a calm, and dignified manner. She was not afraid anymore. Sonny Ray’s grandfather raised his rifle. He aimed first at his wife. The drunken paniolo went down the line, one by one, pointing the rifle at each one of them. He then returned the barrel of the rifle to his wife. He stopped when he got to his daughter, Sweety. She looked at her father, and then at Sonny Ray. She closed her eyes. “Mom please run, please don’t die.” Sonny Ray spoke gently now, like a man who did not have the heart to fight anymore, with no room to hold a grudge anymore. Now he understood things clearly. Sweety opened her eyes as she heard the sound of a cartridge being chambered in her father’s rifle. His mom looked at Sonny Ray once more. It seemed as though he could read her thoughts. “Sonny Ray perhaps it should end this way, look at all the pain I have caused you.” His child mother had tears in her eyes. “Mom, it’s okay, I forgive you mom, I forgive you, forgive yourself mom! Forgive yourself. I didn’t know. Mom please don’t die.” The report of the rifle roared deafeningly through the years. “No!!” Sonny Ray screamed. He hurriedly tried to rise, but lost his balance as he stumbled around inside the hogan. He was beginning to hyperventilate. His muscular frame glistened in sweat. Sonny Ray slowly allowed time to catch up, as he realized where he was. He still felt a stage of confusion in his mind, but he refused to panic. The sound of another rifle shot sent him over the edge. He threw the door of the hogan open, running out into the clearing behind Dwayne’s house. Dwayne too came flying out of the back door of the house. He ran after Sonny Ray who was looking around, trying to figure out where the direction of the gunfire was coming from. “Sonny Ray what the hell is going on?” “Not sure bro, let’s go check it out.” “This way,” Dwayne said, taking off at a jog. Sonny Ray followed Dwayne as they headed out into the woods running along a small game trail. Another rifle shot broke the quiet of the wooded area. The two men came into a small break in the woods when they saw him. It was a hunter in camouflage. He was pointing his rifle up toward the tree tops. Sonny Ray followed the hunters line of sight only to see the the large black eagle sitting at the top of a ponderosa pine. It did not move or display any signs of fear. The man was intent on killing the black eagle, and had not noticed the two men as they began a careful approach, using the trees and brush as cover. The hunter had reloaded his rifle, and was preparing to fire when Sonny Ray tapped him on the shoulder. The man turned with an incredulous look of surprise on his face, as Sonny Ray smashed a perfectly timed left hook to the right side of the man’s face. He fell face first to the ground, unconscious now. Sonny Ray unloaded the poachers weapon, and then proceeded to smash it against a tree stump. Dwayne stood near the prone poacher as Sonny Ray continued his rampage on the man’s rifle. Sonny Ray eventually threw the rifle on the ground, and walked over to where Dwayne was standing. Dwayne had a slight grin on his face as Sonny Ray stood with his hands on his hips, breathing heavily. “What?” Sonny Ray stated, smiling now. “I guess this rules out any possibility of dialogue eh?” Sonny Ray looked at Dwayne. “No I’m afraid not,” Sonny Ray said trying to act serious. After a slight pause, both men broke out laughing. “So what Dwayne do you know this guy or what?” “Nah, ya seen one poacher you seen them all,” Dwayne said with a grin. “By the way I wanted to say that you fight pretty good for a naked guy.” Sonny Ray looked at himself. “Oh shit, sorry bro.” Sonny Ray shrugged his shoulders, smiling broader now. After locating the poachers vehicle, they dragged him by the ankles and left him sleeping in it. He came to in a few minutes, and after regaining his senses left the area. The black eagle without warning left the area. The two men navigated through the woods side by side. “Hey Dwayne have I ever told you the story about an indo european land grabber named Captain Cook? No? Yeah man this guy was a certified kook for real.
First he tried to call us Indians, then name our islands after his homeboy Earl Sandwich or hoagie or some shit.” Dwayne began to shake his head. “Is this in the same vein as the Charlie puka in the shirt story?” “No, no, no, this is a true story Dwayne, I swear.” Dwayne, without warning took off in a sprint. “Hey Dwayne wait up man, I have to tell you the moral of the story. Dwayne get back here man,” the naked Sonny Ray said laughing, as he began a slow trot after his friend.