CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-FIVE
Gando put his hand on his chest.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Jacob asked.
“I woke up and heard the chickens,” Gando said. “New flock?”
“They combined five chickens from two separate flocks yesterday,” Jacob said. “This is a new flock of ten.”
“They are unsure,” Gando said. “Calling for their friends.”
“Chickens have friends?” Jacob asked.
“Every living thing has friends,” Gando said. He was silent for a moment. “These chickens… They were prepared to be separated. They don’t mind being here. Listen…”
For a moment, the men listened to the sounds of the chickens in their new roost. Gando looked at Jacob.
“Whoever combined the birds…” Gando said.
“Rodney Smith,” Jacob said.
“…did a good job of it,” Gando said. “Do I know Rodney Smith?”
“You’ve met him,” Jacob said. “His wife is a child of…”
“Urial,” Gando said. “I remember her. Yvonne. She has a daughter. Tanesha?”
“Married to the R and B star, Jeraine?” Jacob asked.
“We used to listen to him in Iraq,” Gando said with a slight nod. “Basic. You built that office of Alex’s?”
“Twice.” Jacob nodded.
“I’ve spent nights on that floor,” Gando said. “Warm, safe, secure, talking about nothing.”
“What do you remember before waking up this morning?” Jacob asked.
“Oh memory,” Gando said. He smiled at Jacob. “As a shaman, I see time, experience, memory like a river. I remember everything and nothing.”
“You don’t remember anything before waking up this morning?” Jacob asked.
“You’ve spent a lot of time with Delphie, the true oracle,” Gando said.
“I have,” Jacob said.
“I know what you’re asking,” Gando said. “I remember Roper. Mike. Mike Roper. I remember coming here on the wings of an enormous bird. I remember… what am I sick with?”
“Coronavirus,” Jacob said. “New one.”
“The people are suffering,” Gando nodded. “I sense that Ooljee is here. Her brother, too.”
Gando looked at Jacob.
“Why am I here?” Gando asked.
“My wife and her family…” Jacob started.
“Roper,” Gando said. He nodded and then looked at Jacob again. “I have always knows this about Roper.”
Gando nodded and turned his attention back to the chickens. Jacob waited a long moment for Gando to say something else. When he didn’t, Jacob put his hand on Gando’s shoulder. Gando turned and looked at Jacob as if he were seeing Jacob for the first time.
“Gandy?” Jacob asked.
Gando shook himself head to toe and then weaved. Jacob stabilized him with a hand.
“Could you lead me back to my bed?” Gando asked. “You are…?”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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