Dan Taulapapa McMullin


The Bat

Once upon a time in old Pulotu there were two fa'afafines named Muli and Lolo. Lolo was pretty but Muli knew how to talk. Every night they walked the beaches looking for sailors. In those days everyone in Pulotu was a sailor. When they found one they had their way with him because they never did each other--One of those things. Afterwards, because the islands used to be dens of cannibalism, one of them hit the nodding sailor with a rock, and they devoured him. They did this until there were no more young men left on their particular island. In fact around this time Lolo had really learned everything he would from Muli, and Muli was starting to desire Lolo, so they did each other; but afterwards Lolo killed Muli and devoured him as people who come to one for advice will. This act made the gods very angry at Lolo, so for punishment they turned him into a bat.

For years Lolo flew up and down the beach at night on little leather wings. And there were no young men until finally the Americans landed. Lolo's first white man, still he knew a sailor when he saw one. Lolo sunk his teeth into the sailor's fat neck and the sailor fainted. Then Lolo drank until he got plump and passed out. When he woke up he was in a basket aboard ship and ended up at University of Minnesota Medical School where he was given a nice warm cage by a local foundation.

One day I'm not sure how but I'll let you know, he escaped. It was the especially cold winter of '94; eighteen-ninety-four. Lolo flew above the buildings and south over the pale Mississippi landscape. It was snowing and everything was white. Suddenly far below he saw something in black leather. Flying down he discovered a boot that some young man had left there the previous summer along with his glasses and a pair of shorts he had lost along the river bank while walking to the corner store late one night to fetch a bottle of milk for the wife and five kids.

By now Lolo's wings had frozen and he was stuck. He was in love with the black leather boot although it didn't speak and he couldn't eat it. He didn't think he could eat it and love it. The snow kept falling until it covered them both like a blanket. The end.

--Minneapolis, January 1995

© Dan Taulapapa McMullin 1996