MILLER CANE: A TRUE AND EXACT HISTORY Chapter 7, Part 3 continued... Its not always going to be like this Miller said. I had a vision but nothing happened we were just home. Did she shoot somebody I said. Why would you say that he said. Isn’t that why people go to jail. People go to jail for lots of reasons he said. Not paying taxes is stealing. She didnt mean to do it but that doesn’t matter sometimes. Jesse James’s mother was Zerelda and we went to her farm. It was his wifes name too and my great grandmothers who I never met because I never even met my grandmother. There was a cabin there and a slave cabin and you could tell it was real by the smells. A six year old boy maybe seven called me a yankee. You’re a yankee I said. No I’m not he said you are. Hush Miller said and we walked to the slave cabin. Its still ringing down here he said. What is I said. Listen he said. I could hear the river and the wind or a stream like the ocean in a shell. I don’t know if she’ll ever get out I said. Of course she’ll get out he said. But he doesn’t know when. Waffles bites my head in bed. Mom calls them love nips. Just do what Miller says she says when I finally hear her. I could live in Kansas City Miller says. Thats where dorothys from I say. But I mean on the Missouri side he says. I miss her most when he’s asleep. He loves you Millers mom says. You know that don’t
you? I call her every day Millers mom. Who is this she says. You’re a sweetheart she says. Did Miller tell you what Billy did what his mother did. He told me I say. The police killed him and his father both.
Tomorrow is Lauras house. Not from the books but where she lived later. Its going to be longer maybe Miller says. They wont tell me why. I can’t hear her when she calls. Tomorrow is Lauras house. Not from the books but where she lived later. I had a vision of children falling in snow. Laura was there as a girl and was maybe me for a minute. Mom was in the sleigh with Miller and they were Laura and Almanzo in the long winter after he saved them all. A dream is a wish your heart makes Cinderella says. Of course shes not real. Neither is Bella or Snow White or Tiana or Mulan, but Mom acts like I cant tell the difference. Even though she can’t tell the difference because she doesn’t know the ones at the roundup were real. So was Sitting Bull and his vision. So was Laura. So was Narcissa and her hair which Ive actually smelled. So was Mom and Miller and Me. Sometimes I think I’m more real than any of them. n
MILLER CANE CONTINUES IN NEXT WEEK’S INLANDER
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24 INLANDER MAY 23, 2019
A fraudulent historian who makes his living conning the survivors of mass shootings returns home to save the young daughter of the woman he loves, taking her with him on his roadshow across the worn-out heart of America, staying one step ahead of what’s after them.
Miller Cane: A fraudulent historian, who’s been making his living conning and comforting the survivors of mass shootings. Carleen Callahan: The 8-year-old daughter of Lizzie James and Connor Callahan. Has no idea she’s recently become an heiress or that her mother has shot her father. Lizzie James: An artisan jewelry maker, and a baker at the Mount Vernon co-op, currently in Skagit County jail for shooting her estranged husband, Connor. Connor Callahan: Son and grandson and great grandson of money, which somehow skipped him, going to his daughter instead.
Samuel Ligon is the author of two other novels — Among the Dead and Dreaming and Safe in Heaven Dead — and two collections of stories, Wonderland and Drift and Swerve. He’s artistic director of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference and teaches at Eastern Washington University.