Harvey The Indian: The Man Who Wouldn't Leave, p.1Andrew Genaille
Harvey the Indian
The Man who wouldn't leave
Copyright Andrew Genaille 2014
Harvey was your typical Indian, if the term 'typical' was used loosely; his five foot one inch frame compared to other Indians made him look short. Aside from his height though, he was as average as they came for a Native man; he had short greying hair, lightly tanned skin and a dark blue six hundred dollar suit for work.
It was Monday afternoon, Harvey had decided to walk home from the office; it gave him the chance to break in his new leather loafers and chat with his neighbours. Some of whom he liked.
His place was a two story wood house built sixty years ago, lined along the street with like-styled homes near Vancouver's downtown core; bought and paid for. He was too busy looking at the gold and brown leaves of falling off the birch trees to notice the Civic parked in front of his ten foot yard, or the Caucasian driver clearly waiting for him.
Harvey stopped midway up his walkway and turned back. "Yes."
"I was starting to think you'd never show." The man stepped out of his car; dressed in ragged clothes, and it was clear to Harvey he hadn't slept well in quite some time. "You don't know me."
"Ok?" Harvey agreed.
"My name's Simon," Simon put his hand out to shake. "I was given your name through our friend, Sharon Douglas."
"Ooh, yeah." Harvey perked up; he knew Sharon, liked her a lot actually. "How is Sharon doing?"
"Oh...." Harvey didn't know what to do with that. "What happened?"
"I've no idea, she doesn't like to talk about it." Simon said as a matter of fact.
"But I needed help, and she told me you're the person I need to talk to."
"You're in need of a lawyer?"
"No, I need an Indian."
Harvey gave Simon a moment to correct himself in case that statement was a mistake, when it looked like Simon wouldn't Harvey turned around and walked away.
"I need your help." Simon spoke louder.
"No you don't."
"If you don't help me, I'm going to die."
Harvey stopped with his key in the lock, he considered going in but needed to know what that meant; so turned back. "What does that mean?"
"I have cancer." Simon stepped forward. "And I don't believe in all this modern medicine mumbo jumbo. I need you...to cure me."
"What's with the guy crying in the car?" Sara said; the Caucasian Red Head was looking out the window.
"Ignore him." Harvey said from the couch; now dressed in more casual clothes as he settled in to do some light reading.
"He's hard to ignore, he sort of stands out; what with the bright red car and all the sobbing he's doing." She stepped back when Simon looked her way. "What's his deal?"
Harvey filled her in on what happened earlier; up to and including when he considered calling the police. "But the guys dying, I don't want him spending what little time he has left stuck in the court system."
"You left a dying guy outside, by himself, to cry?" Sara was dumbfounded.
"I'm not going to invite him in." Harvey moved to the window, "He wants something from me I can't give."
"Little more than that."
"I can't stand this, he's been out there long enough, and I'm inviting him in." Sara headed out the front door, taking Harvey by surprise.
"Hey," He shouted after her. "My house, this is my house; you rent a room, and half a fridge…don’t invite him…" Harvey rolled his head back in defeat as he watched her through the window; she talked to Simon for a moment and then he climbed out of the car. He decided that he's going to have to get a new renter, this one liked to take in strays when she could; but unfortunately she made baked goods for a living, which was too much for Harvey to give up.
Resigned, Harvey walked across the large, earth toned living room to his flat screen t.v. Entertainment center and waited for them to come in. Sara held the door open for Simon as they stepped through.
"I really appreciate this…" Simon was saying to Sara and then looked to Harvey. "Hi."
"Hello." Harvey said dryly.
"I was just telling your friend here that I really appreciate this, I took a lot of flak from my family and everybody for just suggesting it; and it's probably going to be a bitch to get it covered by medicare." Simon looked to Sara.
"Oh no, we understand." Sara said.
"Do we? Do we understand?" Harvey said to her, hoping she caught the hint in his tone.
"Yes, we do." She said back; he didn't mistake her tone at all.
"You're literally saving my life here." Simon said; he hit Harvey with the saddest but hopeful puppy dog eyes the Indian had ever seen.
Harvey rolled his own eyes, then tried to remember the White guys name. "Look…?"
"Simon, I don't know what you're looking for from me…"
"Something Indian?" Harvey glanced at Sara hoping he proved his point, but she was watching Simon. "Right, see, the thing is, I don't do Indian; I wasn't raised like that, I wasn't even raised on a Reserve."
"I know," Simon perked up. "Sharon was just telling me about that."
"Sharon…" Harvey arched an eyebrow, "Before she died?"
"Yeah…right," Simon had to consider how he worded that; but wasn't convincing. "Before she died. But we get it, that Natives that are yanked from…"
"Yanked?" Harvey interrupted.
"Yanked. Pulled? Removed…taken from your reserves, Indians that were kidnapped basically, and put into residential schools." Simon sounded like he was looking for recognition of the facts. "Those kind of Indians were cut off from their heritage. But Sharon and I don't think it really matters."
"You don't?" Sara asked.
"No. It's in your blood, they can't take that from you; but sometimes you just need an excuse, a push in the right direction. I've seen enough movies to know how that works." Simon smiled at Sara.
Harvey wondered if Simon's cancer was a brain tumor but didn't want to ask him. "I think you need to go back, and talk to your doctor."
"No." Simon's voice was suddenly full of desperation. "I don't think you get what I'm saying, I'm dying; they can't help me, only you can, and you have to, it's your duty as an Indian."
"I think you should leave now." Harvey wondered if he could kick Simon out but the crazy man had a foot of height on him.
"No, no, no; wait, wait…" Simon stepped back as Sara moved to open the door. "I'm dying, I'm dying here and I need your help."
"Please leave." Harvey reiterated.
"You're killing me!"
"Get out of my house you presumptuous bastard!"
"Yup, he's still crying." Sara said from the window.
"Call the cops, have him hulled away." Harvey said from the kitchen, he was putting the last of the jam onto his peanut butter sandwich. He put the top bread on, then squished it down with his flat palm before heading back to the living room.
"That seems kind of heartless, don't you think?" Sara watched him take a seat. "Seriously, what would it hurt to help him out?"
"What would it hurt?"
"So far it's hurting me, I am a full blooded Haida Gwaii native man being told by two white people that he needs to act more Indian. That's a little insulting." Harvey shrugged, "Secondly, anything I do isn't going to help this man, he needs medical care."
"But it'll make him feel better."
"Yeah, he'll feel better right up until he dies
Sara pursed her lips and looked back out the window. "Oh oh."
Harvey stopped chewing, "What?"
"He's trying to leave, I don't think his car will start." Sara moved so she wasn't blocking the window, but Harvey still couldn't see. What he missed was Simon turning the key but the engine wouldn't turn over, after a couple of tries he climbed out of the car and started kicking the tire. "Yeah, it's not starting."
Harvey walked to the window to see Simon lay down on the grass next to the curb and his car. The poor man put his forearm over his eyes and kept crying.
Harvey shook his head and then looked to Sara, who expressed all the sadness in the world with her frown as she stared at the Indian. "Ugh…go get him."
"Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you." Sara hugged Harvey and darted out the front door.
Harvey shook his head and headed for the den, he had to go Google how to be more Indian.
"Just so you know, I don't dance; I'm not into Dancing, dancing isn't a thing for me." Harvey helped Sara clear out the furniture out of the middle of the living room.
"There's no dancing." Sara replied.
"It's not singing." Sara stood up straight.
"It's more humming, with words." Sara looked over to Simon at the wall, and motioned him over. "Everybody take a seat."
Simon sat in the cleared area on top of the tanned carpet, Harvey waited as he watched Sara collect supplies from the coffee table she had brought from her room.
"Is that sweet grass?" Harvey asked as she lit it. "Why do you have sweet grass?"
"Shut-up. Just sit." She said as she sat and wafted the light green haze into the room; "Indian style."
Harvey shook his head as he sat down, of course it's Indian style; he looked at the paper he downloaded off of Google and turned to Simon, who had his eyes closed meditating.
Simon opened his eyes and looked at Harvey. "Yes."
"I am a man that loves his privacy, I hate people; do you understand that?" Harvey was very direct. "If this works…"
"It'll work." Simon interjected.
"Yes, ok, if it works; I don't want people coming to me for every little thing. They'll hear about this, and they'll come, the next thing you know I'm dealing with people with paper cuts looking for healing. I don't have the time for that." Harvey let that sink in. "So when this is over, you have to go back to your Doctors and get treated by them. Chemo, or whatever they do."
"They can't help me…"
"No, of course not; you and I, and Red hear will know it was because of this; but everybody else will think it's science that healed you. They won't come looking for me." Harvey tested the waters. "Do you get that?"
"Ahh…yes. I see what you're saying." Simon nodded.
"I know it's a lot to ask; but do it for me. Save my sanity." Harvey took a breath and looked down at the piece of paper.
There's no wrong way, or right way to communicate with the spirits as long as you believe in what you're doing. Nowhere in the other world do they judge you on experience or knowledge; they only see the effort that one puts forward. This is what Harvey's Grandfather once told him, and he clung to this thought for the next half hour as he followed the rules set out before him.
Even though he didn't believe in it, Harvey hoped that the two white peoples' beliefs were enough for the spirits to buy it.
He spoke to them out loud, with his hands held out in offering; asking for them to pay attention and see Simon as he was. He asked that they take pity, and find ways to help him through these dark times, to look into him and remove the Cancer that was taking over his body.
Harvey read a list of foods that Simon would now have to eat over the next few months, they would not only kill the cancer but they would also ease the affects of the chemotherapy.
Simon agreed and held onto his copy of the list.
Harvey took a breath for courage and began to sing, a song of healing for Simon; it was also the first time Harvey sang anything outside the protection of his shower. He didn't know why he did, he certainly hadn't planned on it; but found in the moment it felt right. It was called for.
Harvey finished with one final prayer for Simon. It was again to the spirits asking for them to not forget this man, and if they could not save him at least bring him peace; guide him through what was to come.
Harvey paused when he saw Simon relax. It was subtle and normally he would've missed it. Simon let out his breath as if the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders.
That's when Harvey understood.
This wasn't healing; Simon just didn't want to do this alone.
"Ok now, that's good." Harvey said as Simon hugged him at the doorway to the house, Harvey kept his hands to his sides as he waited.
Simon stepped back and nodded, then hugged the Indian again before pulling back. "I can't thank you enough, I really can't."
"Yes you can, you do everything you promised me; make sure nobody else comes to see me, and we'll call it even." Harvey emphasized. Simon nodded quickly and walked out of the house. Harvey signed and looked at Sara by the window. "That alright with you?"
"You're a good man Harvey Tillman, you're a good man." Sara crossed her arms and looked out the window. "Please start…"
"His car, you couldn't ask for a more perfect moment of hope than if his car now started." Sara bit her lower lip as she waited.
Harvey wanted to put his furniture back in place, finish his sandwich and get back to his book; but part of him wanted to see it through as well. He joined Sara at the window and watched as Simon climbed into his car.
Other Works by Andrew Genaille
Tales from Indian Country: The Apple
Two Indians Talking, The script
The Chief and Her Sister
Stomex: Hunting Indians Volume 2
About the Author
Andrew Genaille is a First Nations writer living in Canada; to date he's written several feature films including "Johnny Tootall," and "Two Indians Talking," which won the Audience Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival. He also wrote and produced with his siblings the documentary series "Back in the Day." for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. More recently he wrote the short film "Not Indian Enough" which is currently part of the official selection at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Harvey The Indian: The Man Who Wouldn't Leave by Andrew Genaille / Humor have rating 5.6 out of 5 / Based on39 votes