Luke and Mike are from Addergoole. Luke is Seneca Indian; Mike is a gender-swapping Dutch minx.
This story is set in 1864, one year after Abe Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Parties take time to plan, dontcha know?
Luke knew Mike had set him up the minute he walked into the party.
The way the fancy people in their expensive dresses turned to stare, the whispers that he couldn’t imagine he wasn’t supposed to hear:
Isn’t he supposed to be on a reservation?
Do they eat real food?
They let them serve in the Armed Forces? Oh, as scouts, of course — but that rank can’t be real.
His uniform — his dress uniform, which Mike had fussed and bitched at him until he’d tailored to fit him properly, in the style of the moment — had gotten him in the door. Now he wished he’d worn moccasins with it, instead of the boots, spit-shined and reflective, that went with the damn thing.
Then, as a small group of people braved his company, Luke realized Mike had been setting up them as well as him. He could see the miscreant, hovering nearby, a man again this time — probably because Luke tended to growl when Mike was a woman — shamelessly eavesdropping.
“Tell me,” offered a richly dressed young man, whose necktie was tied in a fashion Luke had flat-out refused, the newest style, “how do you feel about our new holiday? This given-thanks-day, this story of our forefathers — both yours and mine, Ha ha, I suppose — now going to be a national holiday? For our nation, of course.”
I fought for ‘your nation’ before you were even born, you little worm. But they were, as Mike liked to say, incognito, pretending to be human, and he didn’t look like a century-old veteran of the Revolutionary War, even if he was.
Luke smiled. It was a trick Mike had been teaching him, and from the looks of things, he got the right level of I will eat your face if you offend me in with the genteel smile.
He took a drink from a passing waiter, sipped it, and nodded at the worm who had asked the question. Everyone in the little group had fallen silent, waiting for his answer.
“In my family,” he told them, “we tell a story.” He sent up a silent apology to his mother for the lies he was about to suggest. “About an English woman who had come to America with the colonists, but found herself having trouble with their - well, their everything. Their hunting was clumsy, their farming was stupid for the land they were on, and they couldn’t defend against raiders. So she went to live with the ‘Indians’ - the tribe you people call the Seneca. And she lived there as wife to a Seneca man, giving birth to Seneca children.”
He sipped his drink slowly. “You hear a lot of stories like that, you know,” he commented casually. “Women who’d rather live with the red man than with the white. Women who knew what they wanted, and were willing to suffer ‘privation’ to get it.” He smiled slowly and finished his drink. “So it makes sense that there’s a holiday now celebrating how much we ‘Indians’ have taken care of you English people. Especially the women.”
He sat his glass down on a nearby table and executed a very nice bow to the prettiest woman in the group, a dark-haired beauty with blue eyes and a dress to match. When she gasped and offered her hand, he kissed it, straightened, and winked at her.