This was totally unlike Busimanolotome. Part of his charisma was his bad ass fearless approach to life and death. If you read my books, you know this is a man who proudly wore a necklace of shriveled, blackened ears of the Viet Cong he had killed fighting for Uncle Sam when he was still a teenager. And insanely, too, to the point of rubbing them in your face just to get a reaction, like he did to me when we first met to see if I was worthy of his son Nokosee, the "First of the New Seminole." At that time, I "blinked." It took a while for me to get use to that kind of BS testing he was always dropping on me (in fact, he didn't come around to really accepting me until I helped him and Nokosee shoot down a Predator drone high over the Everglades in Book Two-- and this is after Nokosee and I had been married for a while). So it was a revelation to me-- and I'm sure to the NS-- that their fearless leader had admitted that he had wakened afraid and cried.
That's why I said after an awkward communal silence, "Really, Busi?" I loved pushing his buttons. "You're telling us you cried like a leetle baby?"
That awkward communal silence began to sweat bullets. You just don't talk to the Micco that way.
"You're supposed to rally us for the second half," I continued despite Nokosee grabbing my hand to put the brakes on my recklessness. But I shook his hand away and continued on that hazardous path. "You're supposed to make us believe in you and the Message so that we can go out there one more time and win one for the Gipper!"
No one knew where to look. Even Nokosee turned away from his father's face. It was only me and Busi exchanging unflinching glares.
And then Busi laughed.
"God how I love you, Stormy Jones Osceola, the First Woman of the New Seminole."
That caught all of us by surprise.
"You're not afraid to speak your mind. You will make Nokosee a great wife. And, leetle girl, I wasn't afraid for myself. I was afraid for the earth. And you, and Nokosee, and my grandchild, and my wife and daughter and all of the NS. The orange haired bird man caught me by surprise. I flinched when I shouldn't have. Trust me," he said as he got up and turned to everyone, "that won't happen again. I won't let the Orange-Headed Bird of Destruction win."
He turned to Boom Box, our black Alan a Dale of the NS responsible for whipping out music on cue, and said, "Barry McGuire." Boom Box dug into his backpack, came up with a cassette tape and slapped it into his boom box. The next thing we heard-- besides Busi's voice-- was this:
I had never heard the song before that night but, like most of Busi's selections for his speechafyin' and battle tunes, it was right on.
"My dream reminds me just how close we are. We can't falter in our mission. We can't pause to second guess. We must fight the good fight to defend Gaia and our lives."
That night was long before any of us could have imagined in our wildest dreams that what Busi really had was a vision, that Donald Trump would one day become POTUS and embark on an insane greed-based Gaia-killing mission with the elimination of one environmental protection agency and law after the other.