Chapter 2 SAVAGE ENCOUNTER

Chapter 2 Savage Encounter

SAVAGE ENCOUNTER

This is a work of fiction. Characters, organizations, places and events are either products of the author’s imagination or when factual, used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019 Theodore A Henning II

Other KDP publications by Mr. Henning include:

The Sauwastika Enigma (a novel)

Releasing The Soul A Balinese Transformation Ritual

Justin Teaguely Adventures (The Early Years)

Justin Teaguely Adventures (The Teen Years)

Stone Giant A Young Woman’s Quest For Truth

Mr. Henning’s music is offered at:

http://www.theodoreahenningii.com

This is Part One in a historical fiction series entitled: SAVAGE ENCOUNTER, there are 24 chapters I will be publishing individually, be sure to scroll down to the desired chapter. I hope you enjoy the book. Gratuities can be made to bluebonnets_trb@msn.com through Paypal.

CHAPTER TWO  The Arrival

Setting: Manokwari outpost, North Coast,   Netherlands New Guinea

Leonard van Given loosened his shirt collar and perused his newly acquired quarters. Earlier in the day he had arrived at Manokwari outpost, Netherlands New Guinea by inter-island merchant ship from Ambon, Maluccas. He came to replace the prior Dutch Regent, who was now bound for Holland on medical leave. Duty in the South Pacific hadn’t really appealed to van Given, it did have its risks. But, he was on his way up the company ladder so to speak, and working in the South Pacific offered the quickest road to success. Manokwari, the most recent fledgling Dutch outpost, continued to pose all sorts of developmental concerns his seniors felt could best be tackled by a younger administrator, one with prior experience on the field.

Van Given didn’t consider 32 years of age to be so young. Yet, if he were ever to be appointed to a government position at Den Hague he knew he had to serve his Queen and country. However, this Netherlands New Guinea posting came as a small surprise, it was an administrative add-on. He had already served three years and four months in the Maluccas Islands, and by this time should have been enroot back to Holland himself!

Just then the housekeeper brought him afternoon tea and sweet little rice cakes. “Terima kasih, Ibu Sri,” he said in Malay. Without emotion his eyes traced Sri’s footsteps out of the room.

“Warm tea. Ugh!”  Van Given  thought. He didn’t much care for tea. Unlike many of his Dutch peers, he enjoyed hot coffee not only in the morning but in the afternoon as well. He mentally made note to talk to the house steward about his coffee desires at the next available opportunity.

His university background and affinity for languages helped him acquire his previous posting to the Office of the Resident of Ternate, Maluccas. Ever since the late 1700s, Malay speaking Indonesians had been a constant sight in Amsterdam. The Vereenigde Oost-Indishe Compagna (Dutch East Indies Company, the VOC for short) just couldn’t be without their invaluable pembantu, their house stewards. And it was through one such Indonesian man that van Given had studied the language.

The Maluccas Islands had been a real challenge for the VOC at first. But in the course of time, administration became perfunctory. And it all but remained perfunctory when the Dutch government stepped in to bail the VOC out of it’s bad-debt situation. The VOC no longer operational now meant Den Hague was ‘the Company’. And for over a hundred years van Given’s predecessors, more highly motivated by export profits than political concerns, had come to terms with local ruling powers.

Unlike Java, with its many geographical potentates and fickle manor lords that even now posed numerous challenges for the Governor-General and his small army, the Sultanate of Tidore kept an autocratic hold on the peoples of the Maluccas Islands. The farmers and peasants actually revered its power and authority. So, from the standpoint of two powers coming to terms of agreement, the Dutch early on negotiated their position of strength into an alliance with the Sultanate. Successive treaties had even extended the Sultanate’s authority to parts of Netherlands New Guinea, from which it acquired slaves and yearly tribute. Together, the Dutch and the Sultanate shared the collected tribute, while the Dutch purchased all their export spices through Sultanate assessors. In return, the Dutch ousted the Portuguese and substituted their presence, which deterred other would-be malefactors, namely the English,  desiring to cash in on the lucrative spice trade.

The Dutch claimed territorial rights as early as 1828 for all lands west of 141 degrees East longitude. This claim, though, wasn’t officially acknowledged by Britain and Germany until 1895 and still it took several more years until Dutch outposts at Manokwari and Fakfak on the South coast were established. Britain and Germany had each laid prior claim to portions of the Eastern half of the New Guinea island.

The Twentieth Century dawned with an excitement that energized the here-to-for Colonial aspirations for market domination. Allowing private trade companies in the colonies had secured renewed interest back in Holland. This coupled with the discovery and production of crude oil by the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company in Sumatra made for a bright future.

Dutch presence in South East Asia had become a lucrative stronghold not to be regarded lightly. Netherlands New Guinea was the Eastern gateway to their spice island profits, which now needed to be guarded more closely. New Guinea was a brilliant jewel in the rough, and van Given along with others purposed to pick up the standard of those who had gone on before, and be the immediate jewel cutter.

Van Given carried his cup and saucer out onto the verandah, leaving the rice cakes on the tray inside. He took a sip of the warm, sweet brew, swished it around inside his mouth, puckered, and then swallowed. Gosh, I’m tired, he thought to himself. As he gazed seaward, toward the bay, he was immediately cognizant that his predecessors had indeed chosen a very comfortable spot up on the hillside to build the estate houses. It was from here the breath-taking view of Dorey Bay was most panoramic. Lemon Island, just a short distance out, rose like a sparkling green emerald with minions of majestic coconut palms standing erect as if they were the Queen’s own guard. A golden-white collar of sand glistening in the late afternoon sunlight accentuated the embroidered patches of clear blue, blue-green, and turquoise waters surrounding.

Clean, golden-white inviting sand. Warm inviting sand. Van Given felt his knees weaken a little; it had been some time since he had taken leave. He needed a reprieve, he needed to rest. This picturesque panorama of sea, sky, green jewel and golden sand signaled a melancholy difficult to avoid. He sat hard into the wooden chair without breaking his gaze, and thought of Troita. Breathing deeply, Leonard filled his lungs and then exhaled ever so slowly. The late afternoon breeze had an aromatic, salty character about it, almost as if he were home in Amsterdam. Amsterdam, his real  home so far away. His eyes gently closed.

“Leonard, why did you volunteer for this posting so far from those who love you. Leonard, I love you, don’t you realize that by now?”

He took a long moment to reply, gazing expressionlessly at her flowing satin gown.

“Yes, Troita, and I love you, too. But, eh, I was only contemplating the best for us, eh, our future– you understand, don’t you Troita, my darling? There is so much to consider before we can be together. You understand, don’t you? Tell me you do.”

Tenderly, she reached to touch the side of his masculine jaw, then let her hand fall back into her lap as she looked him square in the eyes.

“I understand that Leonard van Given, the love of my life, is about to flee this stuffy seaport and sail off to only Providence knows what, and I must be content here in Amsterdam without you! Indonesia is so far away, Leonard, why Indonesia?”

“Troita, Troita. You know very well that you are more important to me than my career. But if I am ever to get the posting we both desire here in Holland, I need do this thing. They require my, eh, my administrative expertise to assist the Resident of Ternate. It’s all for the greater economic good of Holland. Plus, my father needs the contacts that I can surely make for his import business. It will only be three years. Suffer, darling, suffer with me that long, won’t you? I promise to return and we’ll be married just as soon as this is over.”

Grasping his hands in hers she replied, “I understand, Leonard. Now, you understand. I love you with all my heart, and I know you must do this thing, as you say for us, if not for the greater good of Holland. I will be content in your absence, I will not cast my honey to another beast. You are a beast, you know!”

Her eyes twinkled as she drew up close to him and he savagely embraced her and kissed her neck.

“And I, too, promise to be faithful, my love. Oh, how I worship you. I love you, Troita,” he whispered.

Tuan, Tuan fon Gifon?” Sri called from just inside the room, mispronouncing his Dutch name. Van Given drew up startled, opening his eyes he heard her repeat, “Tuan fon Gifon, tamu ada.” At this, van Given stood erect and straightened his collar in preparation to meet his unexpected guest, whoever that might be. Stepping back inside the room, he gave a nod of approval.  Sri opened the door and motioned for the stranger to enter.

“Damsma, Tuan, I am Markus Damsma, Head of Building Projects for the Dutch Regency here in Manokwari. Perhaps you have been informed of me?”

“I regret I haven’t been informed of you. Your Dutch is very good, Pak Damsma.” he said, evaluating what might be his descent. Batak? Ambonese? Van Given perceived  Damsma’s swarthy complexion was rather lighter than expected. No. He hadn’t been informed of him. He hadn’t even been there a full day! How could he have been informed? There were so many Indonesians in the service of the Crown no one could keep track of them all if he wanted to. Van Given continued,  “Where did you learn to speak Dutch so well?”

Damsma hesitated, shuffled his feet and replied, “In Amsterdam, Tuan, I was raised in Amsterdam. I accompanied my father when he returned home. I was eight years old then. He is Dutch, you know, my mother is Ambonese. I use her surname, Tuan.”

“Ah, an Ambonese cross marriage, van Given thought. “Such is more and more common these days. No doubt he knows that some of his countrymen call such offspring anakcamput, the mixed-weed children. That must have been the reason for his embarrassment.”

“No, I didn’t know, but go on, Pak Damsma, what important matter brings us two together during the resting hour?”

“The locals, Tuan, they have made another disturbance, over land issues this time. It seems to be a recurring thing with them, disturbances I mean. Matters never settle completely no matter how hard we try. Assuredly they have been paid, several times paid, but they keep coming back. It is always this one or that one who has been left out and they come and create a disturbance. It is all so very exhausting, these aboriginals and their ways.”

“OK, Pak Damsma, I understand. But could not this matter wait until tomorrow? Must I attend to the matter so late in the afternoon?”

He noticed Damsma straighten up slightly, standing more erect as he drew in a deep breath before speaking.

Tuan van Given, I would not have bothered you with this except that the local Hattam big-man is leading to incite his people to burn the inland storage building on the far side of town. He claims his father’s brother’s son was not party to the land negotiations and the building is on his inheritance portion. Believe me, Tuan van Given, we have tried everything to satisfy these aboriginals, it just seems so impossible.”

“Very well, Pak Damsma, if you think my presence could help quell this misunderstanding, I will consent to a hearing this evening. Would you please go and inform the Hattam big-man and his people that we will discuss this issue tonight. We shall all gather at the Hall Commons say around 7:30 then? Is such agreeable with you, Pak Damsma? Is there an interpreter here in town?”

“Oh, Yes! Tuan van Given,  I am sure they will quiet down upon learning that the Tuan Regent will speak with them tonight. Tuan Ni’ik Gevil is here who can translate, I will inform him. Thank you, Tuan, tonight at 7:30 at the Hall Commons. Thank you, Tuan. Permisi dulu, ya?” he said out of habit in Malay and with that he turned and left the room.

Sri was just bringing more warm tea when she caught sight of Pak Damsma exiting through the door. Van Given waved her away with a word, and stepped back out onto the verandah as he began to think of the way in which he would approach the problem on behalf of the Dutch government.

He thought it best to speak with the Secretary to the Regent and enlist his help before the meeting took place. He now knew of necessity he would dine much later that evening and that seemed to prick him. Van Given had hoped to be able to rest before assuming his Regent duties in a day or so. Now that was out of the question. Sighing, he noticed clouds gathering in the east far out to sea. Gathering clouds could only mean a night of cooling monsoon rain. That resolved, he turned, and retired to his bedroom to bathe and change for the evening ahead.

Chapter 1 Savage Encounter

SAVAGE ENCOUNTER

This is a work of fiction. Characters, organizations, places and events are either products of the author’s imagination or when factual, used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019 Theodore A Henning II

Other KDP publications by Mr. Henning include:

The Sauwastika Enigma (a novel)

Releasing The Soul A Balinese Transformation Ritual

Justin Teaguely Adventures (The Early Years)

Justin Teaguely Adventures (The Teen Years)

Stone Giant A Young Woman’s Quest For Truth

Mr. Henning’s music is offered at:

http://www.theodoreahenningii.com

This is Part One in a historical fiction series entitled: SAVAGE ENCOUNTER, there are 24 chapters I will be publishing individually, be sure to scroll down to the desired chapter. I hope you enjoy the book. Gratuities can be made to bluebonnets_trb@msn.com through Paypal.

CHAPTER ONE   The Omen

Year: 1902

Setting: Roon Island, North Coast  Netherlands New Guinea

An almost tangible element of trepidation seemed to permeate the atmosphere as Ayambi clan warriors of Yende village began their trek at the appointed time. They gathered to assemble at Womaki’s listening place deep in lush tropical jungle. The conclave had been called to ascertain the outcome of their planned attack on Kayov, the closest Rudomo clan village. Womaki, the Ayambi clan seer with the keenest ability to foretell the future, had been chosen to demonstrate his ability, and perform the needed sade ritual.

Young Womini grew sullen as her husband, Komoi, swiftly descended the bamboo runged ladder at the front of their stilt-house, and silently joined the other Ayambi warriors trecking in silence. Tomak led the group. Komoi’s father Tomak was one of the most skillful fighting men of the whole clan. He would lead the raid.

The seerer’s place was a high structure built on tall bamboo stilts. The height gave a momentary measure of safety if there was an attack. It also afforded a good jungle lookout. Located inland on Roon Island toward the base of the rising Roon Island Mountain, it was some distance from the salt-water shore of  Yende.

As quick as a Sumatra monat, Tomak climbed the notched tree-trunk ladder monkey-like fifteen feet into the air to reach the platformed structure, then others followed. They took their places sitting cross legged on the coarse palm bark flooring. Komoi took his position to the rear of his revered elders. In the past, young Komoi had fought in several skirmishes, defending Yende women from village attackers. However, this was to be his first major offensive on enemy ground.

Dim light from the glowing coals in the centrally located fire hearth cast aerie yellow fingers across the shadow on Womaki’s chocolate colored face. He was already sitting, facing east. Wor, the sun-deity, daily climbed the backside of the earth and traversed the waters, making sure all island peoples were cared for. The Ayambi clan, like all the clans of Wandamen Bay, honored Wor the most as he nurtured them in the earth below.

Womaki was eager to begin. He leaned forward in the direction of his daily rising benefactor, aware the jungle night sounds were ill-present. “This is indeed very unusual,” he thought to himself. The customary jungle peeping and chirping had altogether diminished to silence. Womaki perceived this to be a sure sign the sade ritual, and the word he sought was of great consequence.

As a group, the Ayambi warriors had beforehand decided to break the moon-cycle tradition and attack Kayov village sooner than tradition would customarily allow. This fact alone fostered a seriousness about the group. Absent were the chuckles and jibes so often characteristic of male camaraderie. This night, their thoughts were far from power-draining female pleasure, and much disposed to the conflagration that would soon take place. With his right hand Womaki picked up several ancient Cassowary leg bones. He gently rubbed the spindly bones, fondling them between his palms. This added yet another oily layer to their darkly golden, ancient appearance.

Directly in front of  him on the coarse palm bark floor was a huge Chinese porcelain platter.  Blue upon white it was at least thirty inches across, more bowl shaped than flat. The thick edge flared outward at about a thirty degree angle. When lightly struck, the platter would sing in a pleasant, high pitched ring.  Staring pensively at the platter, he began to tap the edge with a small length of bone.

Then, Womaki began to hum to the singular musical note of the ringing. All gazes were attendant to him. He closed his eyes. Opening his mouth, his humming instantly changed to a chant; a chant that called to the ancestral spirits, to the spirit helpers, and to all the other unseen beings whom both chide and direct the lives of mere earthly dwellers.

Ay yei, yei, Ay yei, yei.” He cried out, letting the latter cry drone on with a longer lilt. Over and over he chanted while tapping. Trance like, he kept his body swaying back and forth rhythmically.

Young Komoi noticed the beads of sweat that formed on Womaki’s wrinkle-lined forehead. It was a relatively cool night despite the lack of any breeze. “Peculiar Womaki is sweating,” the young warrior thought. At that very moment of thought, Womaki opened his eyes wide and stared straight past the others to look directly at Komoi. Their eyes briefly met, then Komoi turned his head away, embarrassed by the sudden staring eye contact.

Ay yei, yei, diru ni kavo siepo ma rei, ye,” he cried one last time, then slumped silent closing his eyes. He was now holding the Cassowary leg bones between his palms, about a foot above the plate. He opened his eyes, gazed at the bones and posed the question, “Are these brave warriors going to overpower the Rudomo clan at Kayov village?” Quickly he released the bones. Silence. Everyone stared wide-eyed in amazement.

Komoi felt a tinglely cold sensation run up his naked back as the spindly bones landed upright on end in the center of the plate! A profound sense of awe swept over the onlookers. Everyone except Womaki was in awe at how the bones landed upright without so much as a sound on coming to rest.  Just spindly old bones standing straight up, motionless. Old bones held firm by unseen spirit powers.

Womaki’s face brightened with a broad smile. The sade ritual was finished. He swiftly scooped up the bones with his right hand and addressed the men, “The unseen ones have spoken, the bones confess you will overpower our enemy tomorrow!”

Almost immediately pandemonium broke out as the men whooped and hollered their positive response to this word. Quickly they arose and descended to further prepare themselves for the late night’s canoe journey and the raid. The elders left first then the others. No one seemed aware of Womaki any longer. His usefulness had ended. However, neither did anyone take notice how his dark eyes followed Komoi down the bamboo ladder, and out into the still, black night.

Intro: SAVAGE ENCOUNTER Chapter by Chapter

SAVAGE ENCOUNTER

This is a work of fiction. Characters, organizations, places and events are either products of the author’s imagination or when factual, used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019 Theodore A Henning II

Other KDP publications by Mr. Henning include:

The Sauwastika Enigma (a novel)

Releasing The Soul A Balinese Transformation Ritual

Justin Teaguely Adventures (The Early Years)

Justin Teaguely Adventures (The Teen Years)

Stone Giant A Young Woman’s Quest For Truth

Mr. Henning’s music is offered at:

http://www.theodoreahenningii.com

This is Part One in a historical fiction series entitled: SAVAGE ENCOUNTER, there are 24 chapters I will be publishing individually, be sure to scroll down to the desired chapter. I hope you enjoy the book. Gratuities can be made to bluebonnets_trb@msn.com through Paypal.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Colonial expansion during the 1700’s witnessed the Dutch East India Company (VOC) controlling the spice island territory of the South Pacific. At some point Den Hague, the Dutch central government took oversight of the faultering company. Then, with the dawning of the 20th Century, the discovery of oil in Sumatra, Indonesia engendered new excitement for the colonialists bent on expanding Dutch control. Set against the backdrop of steamy untamed equatorial jungle and vast South Pacific ocean areas, easternmost Netherlands New Guinea offered the promise for profits like never before. Like a jewel in the rough, it needed to be cleaned, cut, and polished. Untold dangers lurk for those who try.

In a male dominated world, a world of cultural and social indignities, struggle and challenges, the lives of three extraordinary women converge in this tale. It is as much their story as they each grasp inner resolve, each in her own way embraces the prospect of an uncertain future, and each seems hellbent to initiate change.

BUSKING: ON MY BUCKET LIST

BUSKING: ON MY BUCKET LIST

I have always been fascinated by those individuals who had the moxy to stand on a street corner somewhere and play/ sing their music. For some of us singer songwriter musician types to do so is almost akin to begging for money like with a little tattered cardboard sign and that snotty-nosed kid by our side we see so much of!

Not too long ago I came out of my local Walmart. Didn’t get far before I heard this fellow bellowing out and banging his guitar. I’m serious, bellowing out and banging! I packed my purchases in the car, shut the door and walked back to get a closer look. I was curious, he was doing some kind of funky up-tempo blues just banging the same chord on his guitar. The lyrics weren’t any better, I think it was a four word phrase that he repeated over and over and over again. I stood there for awhile hoping he would work up something with more acumen. At one point I interrupted and asked if he knew any other songs. That was my mistake, he began to belt a two or three word phrase over and over and over again!

Being a member of the Fort Worth Songwriters Association and the prestigious NASI, I was immediately aware this guy banging there was stratospherically NOT a songwriter, not a very good singer, and totally an anomaly for a guitar player! Yet I stood in awe as folks came forward and tossed a few bucks into his tips container. If the word mediocre was fair of his performance, having a set of brass ones set him apart! I have often said to my wife, “I’m going to go play on a street corner somewhere!” Because frankly, it looked like a fun and profitable experience.

She’d always shut me down, “ Oh, you don’t need to make a fool of yourself on some public street,” or some such verbiage to chink my moxy and keep me from being a public laughing stock ( in her eyes). But nobody was laughing at that guy! They were tossing bucks his way! And he was the guy who’d get the hooked end of a cane at the local open mic!

I’ll be frank. It’s not that easy for singer/ songwriters to get a paying gig. Open mic opportunities just fill the gap at some establishments with no skin off their nose. They call the experience “exposure.” Plus, tips at such places are diverted to that frothy specialty coffee drink or bottled beer, not the tips jar! On the other hand, singer songwriters take the craft seriously. We study the makeup of the music that embraces the lyrics. Rhyming is essential, a well engaging “hook.” And it seems each genre has it’s own set of parameters that make the combined crafting something to be proud of. Did I say pride? That may be the key to this whole busking idea. Letting go of it.

I’m reminded of the gal I’ve seen over the last 20 years. She didn’t have a nice sounding guitar, kind of clunky and out of tune. Her voice could barely handle the notes of the songs she sang, but there she was. I’d see her at small gatherings, a side-ally act sitting off the back of her rusting pickup belting out Beatles tunes, etc. She was at the trade days weekends, the swap’n shop meets and the most obscure events. I have to figure if it was money, she had tapped into a steady stream of it cause busking for her just wasn’t a one night stand… she made a vocation out of it! In the process, with little talent, not much effort, but lots of moxy, she probably made more money with tips than I have ever have seen trying to sell my tapes and CDs!  Yup, busking is on my bucket list!

NOWADA OF THE DANI

NOWADA OF THE DANI TRIBE
Please, for a moment, let me share my simple life with you. I am trapped in a world you can’t possibly enter. Oh, some have come, tourists and missionaries, anthropologists and government types, and those most curious. You see, you outsiders refer to us as ‘stone-age’ people, and quite frankly, up to 100 years ago, many of your educated believed us to be something less than human. Truth be told we never had opportunities such as you. This world I speak of encompasses all that we can see, together with the realm of frightening darkness, the place of immaterial spirits, and unseen creatures, and the ghosts of our ancestors. We can’t escape this world, it defines who we are. So, I want to tell you of our pain, something we embrace each day with every breath we take. Now, please, you take a deep breath. Go on, breathe deeply. What do you feel? Peace? Well-being? Satisfaction, perhaps? Had there been such a thing as a cosmic coin toss, what I share here might have been your story!

My name isn’t important, you may think of me as Nowada. My friend here is Gudupi. We are not sisters, but cousins. We belong to one of the Dani tribal clans located in the Baliem Valley, in the Highlands of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. I’m showing you my hands right off so you see for yourself my constant daily reminder our life is difficult. Whereas we take joy at the birth of a son or daughter, a large part of our existence involves mourning our dead. We Highland Dani still have a high mortality rate compared to say, Coastal tribes in proximity to the ocean.

Fresh from a funeral, Gudupi is covered with chalky mud. She will grieve in this fashion for some time, often without eating food or drinking water, or tending to her garden, and every Dani woman knows the importance of her garden plot.
We Dani people are sedentary hunters and gatherers, having garden plots carved into the sides of the mountains. We use stone hand axes to work the ground. Our men will clear a plot, but we women must dress it and plant the crop. Usually, ubi-ubi, sweet potatoes. If we are not vigilant, wild pigs can decimate our food supply overnight! It takes two cycles of the moon for our crop to mature. Thus tending our garden plot is very important and arduous. The outsiders and missionaries bring more modern tools, tools with sharp metal edges. Only a few Dani men can afford to trade for such things. We rely on various sized sharp pieces of hard stone for our tools. Additionally, we women must gather the fire wood for both the men’s living hut (honai) and our own (ebei). Our hut houses have two levels, the lower where we gather and cook, and the upper berth where we sleep because it’s safer from snakes and spiders, plus the wafting smoke rising takes the chill off during cold nights. They say this is what causes our many breathing ailments.

We carry water from the stream, tend the babies, cook the food, forage for green edibles, and weave our carrying bags (nongkin). The outsiders sometimes provide us with white-man’s clothing, but it doesn’t last long. We weave skirts that cover our feminine parts of soft grasses, soft and airy. Men will wear woven cloth shorts, but these foreign shorts cover their manliness without allowing a measure of bravado. Some men wear the penis gourd (koteka) and the shorts together! But we think that’s funny! We laugh when they are not looking. Tall penis gourds are the traditional Dani male coverage. The larger the better!
Our men cut trees, hunt the deer and wild pig. They make the bows and arrows they use in war and hunting. Some prefer ironwood spears. Occasionally, there is a clan incursion. Our men defend us to the death so we’re not taken for slave wives. If they are not doing these things, they tend to the enemy skulls that adorn the men’s meeting house. Of all these tasks, the obligation to mourn the dead falls more to us than to them. Ancestor ghosts can cause mischief and harm. We consider them with oblations placed in the trees. We believe that in dying they pass to the unseen realm. Hundreds of years experience has taught us they do not wander. So, our desire is that our oblations please them and they will stay hidden in the forests. Ancestral ghosts can be very annoying, bringing sickness and famine, and often miscarriage. Consequently, one tradition we dare not forget is the digit removal ceremony.
The missionary suster (nurse) often refuses to give us their medicine if one of the women has had a digit removed. They want us to stop doing it, they think our tradition is crude and inhuman, but they don’t understand. When a next of kin dies, the closest female must undergo the digit removal. Occasionally, more than one digit is removed from the same finger. A clan elder will usually perform the ceremony during the time the dead one has been funeralized. He uses a small sharp pointed stone to separate the finger. He wraps the stub in leaves with tobacco spittle. Eventually it will heal. The digit cut off accompanies the dead, thus there remains a connection between the two realms, living and the dead. I have refused cutting my first two fingers on my right hand because I need hold my garden hand ax very tight.

Yes, every aspect of our daily life seems to cause pain, yet had it not been for the outsiders, we would not have known that life for others is more pleasant. You see, ‘stone age’ people have little in the way of life activities that offer a contrast. Even less are activities that might bring a smile. We survive knowing the pain we feel, for us, is life itself. Carrying heavy firewood, mending stone and wood fences, birthing children, cooking wild pig with hot stones in a fire pit, weaving the articles and skirts we need, tending the wounded, and yes mourning the loss of the young, the old, or the warrior in between. Our traditions and rituals serve us so we never forget that our ancestral ghosts would be mad if we changed our ways. I would love to have more fingers, but our world is not something individuals control. We fear great calamity would befall us if we do not strive to maintain a balance in nature, as you outsiders express it. Dani people are proud. We never forget that ancestral ghosts have power to bless us or to cause us harm. The fearful things lurk unseen in darkness, and our pain reminds us of who we are.
Story written by
Theodore A Henning II

Vmat2, God and You!

Vmat2 , God and You!

There is a video[a] circulating on the internet purporting to be a 2005 intelligence meeting wherein Mr. Bill Gates is expressing his concerns regarding religious fanaticism, by offering a solution. In the video a couple MRI scan photos are displayed on a screen, one showing a small glowing section in the front right lobe. This Mr. Gates explains is the area of the brain that corresponds to spiritual stimulus, such as might be exacerbated by religious zealots or fanaticism.  The second photo shows a section more centrally located along the right side of the cortex. It was glowing way much larger than the previous, and this area represented repression or ‘disdain’ for the things spiritual, as was pointed out, this area ‘lit up’ when scripture was read to the individual during the MRI procedure.

I cannot vouch for the validity of the video, or that it was really Mr. Bill Gates delivering. What does disturb me is the potential of the information reported therein, and the intent of the meeting in the first place. Since discovery of the Vmat2[b] ‘god gene’, what was suggested in the presentation is the use of a virus, respiratory in focus, to target and alter the Vmat2 gene in humans, thus in essence diminishing if not out rightly destroying the ability of human response to spiritual/ religious stimuli (God), making these people “normal,” without further possibility of them becoming fanatical.

Of course Islamic fundamentalist fanatics were in view during this lecture, but… Only two representative MRI photos were demonstrated, 1) the area of spiritual response in the first, and 2) the area of “disdain” as Bill put it. There was no middle ground area, and with a wave of his hand, the intent was to neutralize the god-response area of the brain and make such neutralized individuals ‘normal,’ as in the disdainful MRI photo! AM I the only one to catch this in the video? What is ‘normal’ about disdainful reaction to things spiritual? Responding with disgust and or disdain to religious stimuli; e.g. preaching, scripture reading, prayer, praying, singing hymns or vocally worshiping our creator is not anywhere near ‘normal’ behavior. It smacks of something un-human, demonic even. What was unclear about the information speaks to the question, “Do these ‘normal’ individuals show any response at all, however small in the religiously sensitive area of the brain?” The MRI presented did not show this, it was dark.

So then, does this mean that some people have the Vmat2 gene and others do not? A test for the presence of the gene would be the simple road to answer this question, because not all people can be MRIed while listening to Scripture! The use of a virus to crush the Vmat2 can not be singular, either. It would not be a  ‘religion specific’ measure, but one that touched upon the whole human population, because all humans would have this gene! Yes, do something about those Islamic zealots, and throw in the Christians and Jews, too! That’s what I see coming with this.

,As I have postulated in several of my earlier blog posts (The Witness of Two, and Part 2 The Art of War in the Heavenlies )[c],[d] it is possible that right here and now there are individuals living and walking among us that are not true human beings, but angel-human hybrids. As such, they cannot respond to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ as true humans can. Further, these hybrids are the ‘Tares” of the Gospel message, Wheat and the Tares. Remember, Jesus instructed that these ‘tares’ appear so much like the ‘wheat,’ it is only at the end-time harvest would they be separated without harming the wheat. But that doesn’t presume we might not be able to identify who these tares might be, because “You shall know them by their fruit!”

Even if the video is bogus, a Hollywood-ish stunt, the cat is out of the bag so to speak, and the method of religio-cide succinctly presented. And don’t you tell me there aren’t those out there thinking of how to implement the scheme!


[a]  https://youtu.be/W_Zo1-5B30o

[b]  https://symbiosisonlinepublishing.com/genetic-science/genetic-science12.php

[c]  https://wideastexas.com/2021/06/06/the-witness-of-two/

[d]  https://wideastexas.com/2020/09/05/414/

Have You Ever Lost Someone?

Have you ever lost someone? I don’t mean in the sense of a loved one dying, I mean, actually lost someone. My wife and I did, and it has been a puzzling mystery ever since.

I was posted to a hospital in Muenchweiler Germany during the latter part of the decade. I was fortunate because my new wife, Jean was able to come over and we lived together in the small town. During Advanced Technical Training at Brooke General Hospital, San Antonio we met and made friends with couples and single enlisted folks alike. We even had privilege to attend a wedding of two singles that had met on post, fallen in love, and wanted to marry, Jerry and Jan Smith. How excited we all were when orders came down. The Smiths were going to Germany, as were Jean and I.

Jerry and I were medical laboratory technicians. I should have gone to Munich, but arriving at Frankfurt, they changed my orders to a 1000 bed field hospital in the south-western region, not far from the French border. Jerry received orders for the regional reference lab in Landstule, about an hour away. As time permitted, we’d hook up on weekends and such.

Nearing the time for our return to the States and discharge, we arranged with the Smiths, who had about nine months yet to go, that we’d communicate our address in Normal-Bloomington, Illinois once we were established, as I was continuing my education there at ISU. The Smiths mailed back their enthusiasm for the hook-up, because we planned to travel caravan with them to California once he was discharged and on the road.

When they did stop at our place, it was two weeks earlier than planned. Jean and I were both in classes for another two weeks, plus I was working at a local hospital lab and had arranged for the time off two weeks hence. Jan and Jerry seemed rushed. They did a load of wash, had a lunch, we socialized , and then off they went down I-55 toward the lowering sun.  The new plan was that we’d stick to our timetable and contact them once we hit LA. That was a mistake. They were going to telephone us their address once they got there, we hadn’t thought to get ANY additional address or phone number!

When we got to LA, we stayed with another couple that had mustered out before us. They had not heard word from the Smiths, as we had never gotten the promised call, either. Thinking we might be able to phone Jerry’s mom there in LA, we got out the telephone book! Can you imagine how many Smiths there are?

Jan and Jerry Smith embraced our friendship there at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, then while in Germany. But in the blink of an eye they disappeared. Our lost friends remain a mystery even to this day. Have you seen this missing couple?

Gibson Guitar Love Affair!

GIBSON GUITAR LOVE AFFAIR!

My wife and I came to Texas in 1966. I was doing advanced technical training at Brooke General Hospital ~ Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. At the time, our apartment off premises cost us $75 a month. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was a major bite out of the $114 paycheck I received from Uncle Sam. Needless to say, my wife was a real go-getter. She got a job for close to eight hours a day at the Joske’s Department store, located a little ways south of the Alamo.

Her weekly routine startled even me! Up at 4 A.M. to get me started so I could get to the Fort and check in by 5. After I left, she would try to grab another hour or so of sleep before having to dress up fancy and take the bus downtown to be at work by 8 A.M. When 4:30 in the afternoon came, she punched out and ran to catch the bus back to our apartment. Changing her clothes, she’d literally raced nearly a mile to the Mustang Drive-In, and work cars for tips for the next five hours!

I didn’t know it at the time, but she was squandering tips money in order to buy a present for me. We had envelops marked ‘Rent,’ ‘Food,’ ‘Misc.’ and our bills always came first before we looked to ‘pleasure spending,’ which didn’t warrant an envelop because there usually wasn’t any extra money to be had (unless my folks slipped us something in the mail).

My beautiful young wife worked like a plow-horse to make up the difference lacking in my US Army pay. Somehow we seemed to get by. Then came a day I’ll never forget. She said we were going on an adventure. So on one of my free days, we boarded the bus and headed for downtown San Antonio. There were several pawn shops along main street, and she clasping my hand, dragged me into one. I thought some trinket in the window had caught her eye. So much for window-shopping.

All the way to the back we strode. There hanging on the wall were a few acoustic guitars. She said, “Pick one out!”  She wasn’t joking! Now up to this point I had always been one of those guys with three bucks in my pocket and a fuel tank guage reading on the big E. How in the hell did we have money to purchase a guitar?

“You want one, don’t you,” she asked. Yah, I really, really did! I had to leave mine, can’t remember if I sold it for seed money or what. But I hadn’t plucked a string in almost a year!

My adolescent guitar playing started with an American made Stella, ¾ sized no less! The whole thing was constructed of thin-walled plywood, even the top, and the strings rose from the frets like high-wires at the circus. It sounded and played like crap. That’s what $25 bucks bought me as a kid. Now, here in this San Antonio pawn shop I was surrounded by Martin, Gretch, never-heard-that-brand guitars, and Gibson. I knew that Gibson and Martin kind of faced off in the acoustic realm, some of my friends had Martin guitars. But at that moment, at that pawn shop, we were constrained by finances. My wife pulled out several coin-filled socks from her purse, and laid them on the counter. There it was fifty bucks in nickels, dimes and quarters!

Well, that fifty bucks bought me an old, dark sun burst Gibson J-45 with a dilapidating cardboard case! Strings were above the frets but not to the extent of that crappy Stella! Although it wouldn’t have been my first choice, I kept that guitar for 30 years. Truth is, I never liked it. That J-45 could only thump, it had no musical note sustain, and chords toned somewhat low, almost as being without life. I had no idea at the time that that Gibson sound was stylistic with Western swing music, thumpy and beat worthy. However, the experience with a guitar that I thought fell short of all my expectations more or less shaped my attitude toward Gibson guitars generally.

Translated, that meant my string of instruments went from Martins to Taylors, to Collings, with a few never-heard-that-name-guitar in between. However, my disdain proved to be unfounded. I recently acquired an old 1965 Gibson Lg-0. I let my luthier work his magic on it with a proper set-up, and you know what? I’m in love! I think this one will stay with me till I die, it is such a joy to play, being in every way so opposite of that first Gibson J-45. I know my wife bought it for me out of love, with hard earned tips at a time in our lives when we had nothing. Thanks, Honey, I’m having a Gibson love affair, again!

Let Me Run This By You

LET ME RUN THIS BY YOU

Masks! Why do people wear them? One, they are sick, coughing, and don’t want to spread the germs causing them the problem to others, or two, you wear a mask in hopes that some sick, coughing, wheezing, sneezing feverish butthead isn’t out shopping, or milling around, or just out to get a caffeine fix at the local Starbucks that you visit, and you are trying to protect yourself from ingesting/breathing those germs spread in the air all around you.

Good luck! Unless you wear a proper medical respirator, that mask is not your safety net.[i] And here is why I make that claim. Most people use the same cheap paper mask over and over again. Keep it in you pocket or purse, cause at every turn you’re going to need it. Oh, and if you have a costlier multi-layered cloth mask, don’t count yourself safe yet.

If you are one of those fools who wears the same mask, paper or cloth, for days on end, think again. Lets suppose your mask blocks some droplets with the Covid-19 contained. Your breath is from your mouth and lungs, moist and warm. Wear the same thing for hours and hours and you have an incubator right there on your nose! Now, you get somewhere, and you pull it off, scrunch it up or gently fold it with your hands, and now where do you think all those germs on the surface went?

But you say, “I’ve been doing it like this for months and haven’t gotten sick!” I would have to believe that is because less the masks have protected you, and more likely you just haven’t come in contact with the contagion, not on your mask, means not on your hands!

The key with this thing seems to be proximity. Those coughed out spittle droplets won’t stay suspended in the air forever, they are subject to gravity, and thus fall downward.  Another thing, the corona viruses don’t last long outside the human body, they are not just out there lurking in every dark corner somewhere.

If the US government really thought that this pandemic was as end-of-the-world as they paint it to be, they would have used the extended unemployment welfare checks money to manufacture masks that really solved the problem and give them out free to everyone like they did the with prophylactics in the high schools! Folks would be working (a good thing) and healthy (a better thing).

I wanted to run this by you, most of my points are common sense obvious. As to the “jab” business, the subject is simply too convoluted for me to comment. Although, the masks thing got people out of the practice of hugging one another, and I’ve read there are concerns of negative chemical aspects being emitted through the pores by those who did receive the ‘preventative’ shots, called slough. If this be true, I guess it is best for jabbers and non-jabbers not to embrace one another! Some even point out that more folks who received the jab have fallen sick to Covid-X more so than those individuals un-inoculated![ii] Go figure…


[i] https://wsau.com/2020/07/31/masks-dont-stop-viruses-the-proof/

[ii] https://evidencebasedliving.human.cornell.edu/2021/01/25/new-evidence-on-face-masks-to-prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19/