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I gulp so loud old Rolling Eye looks right at us. I know he hears my heart beating, and I think weâ€™re caught for sure. The bull snake continues his crawl out into the clearing and heads for the blankets of Fayo with his ratty old hat resting over his face. When the old hobo reaches to feel the movement, and discovers that itâ€™s a snake, he yells to the top of his lungs, his hat flying one way and the snake sailing another. It lands square in old Rolling Eyeâ€™s lap, and he comes out of his cardboard bed like a shot from a Sherman tank. The snake hits Lalo in the back of the head, slinks around his neck, and total confusion is on.
Remember the Alamo--
I get almost to the holy-rollersâ€™ church when, out from behind the building, comes one of those decorative oranges sailing by my ear--you know, the kind that looks so good but tastes so bad theyâ€™ll lock your jaws for a month. It hits the street and splatters. Then comes another and another.
I duck and run for cover. I see a couple of Mexican guys hiding under these orange trees. Theyâ€™re chucking the sour fruit at white guys passing by. Theyâ€™ve invaded our territory with a sneak attack. I creep around the corner of the building, grab me three or four oranges of my own and counterattack with stealth. One of my tosses catches the biggest guy right upside the head. It goes splat when it hits his temple, and he drops like a running Nazi being chased by a forty-five slug. Sour orange juice is all over his face and chest.
He and his friend have a big stack of ammo, though. By the time I get my ordinance dump started, orange colored rockets are flying by me in numbers.
When a couple of my friends, heading to the library to do homework, see me gathering my bombs, they come over to check out whatâ€™s going on. This Mexican guy they call Flaco fires a shot that whacks this friend of mine square between the shoulder blades. Thatâ€™s all it takes.
In no time weâ€™ve spread the word. Every guy that lives in my neighborhood is soon there. We begin to chuck and run. We chase the two Mexican guys across Main Street with the sour oranges flying like cannon balls.
They go for reinforcements. Soon theyâ€™re coming in packs. We recruit. One of their guys fires a rock the size of a plum that hits the pavement, sails across Main Street and bounces up, shattering the side window on some old guyâ€™s car, while heâ€™s having a few in the Wagon Wheel Lounge.
I break out the white flag. After a few minutes Flaco, whose about my age, sneaks out from behind a block wall, and we parley.
"Whatâ€™s the deal?â€ he asks.
"Hey, man, one of your army fired a rock. He broke that car window. If we do that, Chief Lesterâ€™s gonna be all over us. Letâ€™s keep it to oranges. When you guys get tired of having your faces splattered, you can go back on your side of town.â€
"Youâ€™re talking tough, punk. Maybe we should settle it all by throwing chingasos instead of rocks.â€
"Weâ€™ll fight you, but thatâ€™ll bring Chief Lester, too. Iâ€™m not ready to go before Judge Twitty. Are you? Heâ€™s likely to send us all to Juvy.â€
"Youâ€™re probably right,â€ he says. "I donâ€™t want to ever go back there. Been there once and thatâ€™s enough for me.â€
"Okay,â€ I say to him, "weâ€™ll keep it to oranges till we run out or until you guys quit, put your tails between your legs, and crawl home.â€
"What you mean, you gringo punk!â€ Flaco begins to back up. "Weâ€™re gonna orange your whole side of town. Viva Pancho Villa!â€ he yells as he turns and runs.
"Remember the Alamo!â€ I cry as both sides unload a volley that turns the clear afternoon sky to orange, above the thin white lines on Main Street.
Jim has been an educator and coach in the Arizona schools for over forty years. He is an avid sportsman who loves to explore on foot and on horseback the deserts and the mountains of the Southwest.
The Shadow Walkers is Jimâ€™s newest young adult novel from Wings ePress, Inc. Night Whisperâ€¦ A Basketball Story has been honored with the prestigious Golden Wings Award. Children Of The Bones will be forthcoming in March.
"This adventure is more than a NIGHT WHISPER. It is a standing ovation for young people who overcome odds. The conversation sparkles; the mystical thread is superb!" -- Phil Mandel, English Chair, Phoenix schools
Night Whisper: "This book has a mystical voice with its lyrical style that weaves a strong mood." -- The Jokker's Lair Studios, literary component
Night Whisper: "Southwest flavor unleashes adventure. What a great sports story about teens... but it is much, much more." -- Jamie Cundiff, agent
The Ghost Dancer, Jim Greenâ€™s best yet, and Iâ€™ve read them all, takes you inside the mind and heart of a young boy and into the mind and heart of the Arizona high country. Itâ€™s an unforgettable tale of courage and just plain pluck. Youâ€™ll find open graves, a Chindii, a bone awl, ancient skulls, bad animals, bad people, bad spirits. Itâ€™s spooky, thrilling, and told by a compelling narrator, young Skeeter Irons, a boy I couldnâ€™t help but love. Jimâ€™s is a voice that makes Arizonans proud. -- Toby Heathcotte, Author and President, Arizona Authors Association
The Ghost Dancer: A five record selection: Another great narrative by an outstanding story teller. This book, written for young adults, will be enjoyed by all readers who love adventure, suspense, and unforgettable encounters. The words of fifteen-year-old Skeeter Irons, the main character, are at times pure poetry. -- The Jokerrâ€™s Lair Studios
Skeeter and Old John in Jim Greenâ€™s newest novel, The Ghost Dancer, might remind one at times of two other famous adventurers. The Grand Canyon to Skeeter is much like the Mississippi River to Huck Finn, and Old John and Ms. Watsonâ€™s Jim both become mentors and father figures along the way. The setting is intriguing, the plot intricate, and the characters unforgettable. -- J. L. Cundiff, Literary Agent
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 188