by Elizabeth Dearborn
Reynaldo was my bud from day one. He wasn't Indian like the rest of us in Special Ed. He was Mexican, and his folks followed the apple harvest. He got to ninth grade and never learned to read. So they put him in with us.
He went to the woods out back of the truck stop after his grandmother kicked him out.
"Dude. You gonna be okay?"
"Oh, yeah. They got food 24/7. Phones. Washing machines."
I was sick of all the crap at home, so I moved in with him. We huddled at night to keep warm. Ate nachos at the truck stop. We went to school once in a while just to sell the stuff we ripped off.
One day I saw Reynaldo picking burrs off his bare legs. A minute later I saw fat Cheryl from the rez pulling her jeans on. I waited till she was gone.
"I hear Cheryl's got a disease."
"Yeah, whatever, man." He knew I was jealous. He just didn't know who I was jealous of.
"You going home in the fall?"
"Might stay here. Gonna need a coat and blankets and stuff."
I heard a crunching sound, like breaking twigs. "Shut up. Play dead."
Reynaldo started running, but the black bear was faster. Grabbed him from behind and threw him down. Later, I showed the tribal cop where the bear was, guarding Reynaldo's dead body. Blood and guts everywhere. Who knew he had so much brains?