TC-Cartel

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HGA: After crossing L street, 11th rises from the flats of Headwater and dead-ends at the home of Dory Twofeathers almost a hundred feet higher. From her backyard the hill rises another sixty feet, bald and scraped raw by the wind, but the summit has a stand of three birches.

HGB: No one owned the top of the nameless hill owing to the difficulty of building a house there, but for generations a ramshackle cluster of tree forts was built between the three birch trees. When Kim and Sofie were taken away Dory and Gabriel spent much of their time up there.

HGC: From this vantage Dory and Gabriel could see all of Headwater spread out to the north and east. To the south the railroad looped around Mt. Motorcycle to form the end of the line. West over an 'S'- shaped bend in the Squaw River was Lake 13 lying at the foot of Green Dome.

HGD: Looking down, Dory and Gabriel saw Special Agent Bill Sullivan toiling up the mossy bald and when he was closer he called from them to come down to have a chat. Dory invited him to come up into her tree fort instead, and after a moment considering this, he decided to try it.

HGE: Agent Sullivan managed to reach the high railed platform where Dory and Gabriel were sitting. He opened his mouth to introduce himself but Dory spoke first. "You are Special Agent William Sullivan of the FBI and you came up here to ask us about Kim Zinter and Sofie Krause."

HGF: "How did you know all that, Dory?" She said, "You've asking people all over Headwater about my friends and some of those people are on my wavelength." He seemed puzzled by that answer. "Where are Kim and Sofie now, Agent Sullivan?" asked Gabriel. "No one seems to know."

HGG: "I'm not at liberty to say where they are right now, Gabriel, but I can say they are very sick, and their doctors still don't know how the girls came down with what they have. That's where the two of you can help. We know the last time they were together was at the funeral."

HGH: "If you've been asking about us," Gabriel said, "then you already know we didn't actually attend the Last Rite for Erik Zinter. We were downstairs the whole time, the four of us." "Yes and Paul Bergin said he found the four of you in the storage room where you oughtn't be."

HGI: "It was unlocked," shrugged Dory. "We were bored, so we had a look." "Did you find anything unusual?" "No sir, unless maybe a piano." "After Paul chewed our ass and booted us out," Gabriel put in, "he locked it back up. Maybe he'll let you look if you flash your badge."

HGJ: "I did go up to the Temple flashing my badge, Gabriel, but Paul Bergin's boss, Peter Twofeathers, is a little too old-fashioned for my taste. He's of a mind that I need to get a judge to sign a warrant before I can go snooping around in the basement of the holy precincts."

HGK: "He can be like that," Dory said. Gabriel nodded his head in agreement. "I'm very sorry we can't tell you anything more." Agent Sullivan reached into his jacket and pulled out an envelope. "Anyway here's a belated birthday present for you, young Gabriel Skybear."

HGL: What Gabriel thought was a birthday card turned out to be a notice for the draft. Agent Sullivan pointed over the railing. "See down there over Dory's house? I know it's not your school, that's Headwater High. In the gym you'll find Dr. Wahkan and two other fellows."

HGM: "I don't understand, sir." "There's not much to it, Gabriel. You tell me how Kim and Sofie got sick and I make this draft notice go away. You say nothing, and down the hill you go to see who gets you, the Army or the Navy." "Honestly, sir, I've told you everything I know."

HGN: "Dory will you help the young man out? War is hell. You might not ever see cousin Gabriel again after he reports to Boot." Dory shook her head, refusing to even mention the mouse. Sullivan said, "Last chance, Gabriel. No? OK, suit yourself, son. Go kill yourself some Japs."

HGO: After Sullivan left Gabriel suggested a game of Cartel, which was the least likely thing Dory thought could come out of his mouth after what just happened. "And by Cartel I mean strip Cartel of course." That raised the stakes a notch from losing little pink pieces of paper.

HGP: The dice flew and round and round the board they went. Gabriel bought up 42nd Street, Broadway, and Park Avenue. All he needed was Wall Street for a full Cartel. Dory scooped up the Appian Way, the Burma Road, and Easy Street, and all she needed was the Yellow Brick Road.

HGQ: Dory thought it strange Gabriel wanted to play a game when he'd just been handed a draft notice and she didn't have her heart in it. Gabriel got another half-Cartel going with Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard but Dory blocked by getting Bourbon Street and Main Street.

HGR: Gabriel had some lucky rolls and avoided landing on any of Dory's properties, while Dory kept landing on Gabriel's stuff and started to have a serious cash flow problem. She auctioned off her belt and nylons for a little breathing space but then the dice really turned on her.

HGS: Dory started landing on Gabriel's Cartels repeatedly. She was methodically stripped of most of her cash and started showing more and more skin to stay in the game. Soon Gabriel owned Dory's dark yellow dress with white polka dots, and after that her knit rayon undies and bra.

HGT: But Dory rallied a little bit near the end. The properties associated with her knee socks and little black Mary Jane shoes, which Gabriel didn't want, were enough to complete a second Cartel, creating a kind of death row on one side of the board. Soon Gabriel was shirtless.

HGU: Another round. Dory demanded his pants. But Gabriel simply put on Dory's bra and dress, and when che was sufficiently covered, che dropped trou and handed them over. "A man shalt not wear that which pertains to a woman," Dory preached, "for it is an abomination to God!"

HGV: "That verse doesn't apply to me, cuz," said Gabriel. "I'm not a man or a woman." Gabriel landed on the next half of Dory's death row. With insufficient cash to pay Dory she demanded his underwear, which che promptly handed over. The game was over but che was fine with that.

HGW: Under the cover of Dory's yellow dress Gabriel slipped into her panties and together with her bra che had everything che was looking for. Gabriel bid his cousin adieu, left the tree fort, and flounced down the hill to the high school gym to face the local draft board music.

HGX: "You want to tell me about it, son?" the NCO representing the Army drawled after Gabriel showed up. Che looked down at hemself, then caught the sergeant's eye. "I guess I'm a waddyacallitt, homosexual." But the Navy first class petty officer had heard this dodge before.

HGY: "You slackers think that's the easy way out," he growled. "Who's your boyfriend?"

Gabriel blurted out the name of the only male homosexual he actually knew: "Aaron Anton." "We had that Anton fellow in here last month," the Army NCO said. "He's queer as a football bat."

HGZ: Dr. Wahkan knew what Gabriel was trying to do, and he also knew Gabriel wasn't actually going to get drafted. He decided to hurry things along. "Gabriel! About face! Hike up that skirt! Panties at half mast!" Gabriel complied and both military men drew closer to take a look.

HHA: "I was present at Gabriel's birth," said the doctor, "and I've seen hem many times since. Che has a very rare birth defect that gives hem both male and female genitalia. Imagine what they would do to poor Gabriel on a destroyer after three months at sea hunting Japanese subs."

HHB: The Army and Navy representatives looked at Gabriel and realized the doctor wasn't pulling their leg, looked at each other, and nodded agreement. Petty Officer Watson typed up a card classifying Gabriel IV-F: registrant not qualified for military service for physical reasons.

HHC: "Hang on to that card, son," Watson said. "Get it laminated. That's gold. Starting next month you'll have to present proof of your Selective Service status on demand. And Doc, I don't think we'll be back next month. I think we're scraping rock bottom of Headwater now."

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