The next day at his post in the foreman's tent, Cullen hands out the long-awaited pay. Mr. Toole comes to the head of the line for his money and voices his disappointment in Cullen's crappy fighting skills. So Cullen punches him in the nuts and throws a bucket of human waste in his face. Or maybe he just gives him his pay. Next in line is Elam, who identifies himself as the walking boss for the freedmen cut crew. Cullen doesn't argue. He makes a note in his ledger and holds out a parcel of coins. Because he's still a jerk, he holds on and makes Elam pull for it. They glare at each other a bit before Elam finally walks off. Now, realistically speaking, given the levels of hatred after the fight, Elam wouldn't have survived the night, but he'll live long enough to eventually become friends with his enemy. Or until the show is canceled, whichever comes first.
Out on the plain, that young man is still hooked up to the tree. Goodness gracious, how long has he been out there? His father comes to him and wraps an animal hide around him. The wolf man cuts the lashes and the young man collapses. Many Horses catches him and lowers him to the ground. "You've done it, my son. The sacrifice is over." In a shaky voice, the young man describes the vision he had: "I've seen a great steel beast, its breath was smoke. It shook the ground. I killed it." The older men exchange serious looks. Now, somebody go get some salve for this guy's poor nipples.
Tippi Blevins advises you to always smell the contents of a bucket before touching them in any way. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find her on Twitter.
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