("Chef Camacan Mongoyo" by Jean Baptiste Debret)
"Well, shee-it. I grew up, well, mebbe round-about-those-parts, you know, over yonder, back where the big old Muddy pulled back her skirts n' things went from under-bubble to up top, you know what I mean? Nowhow, 'couse you don't, you loud folk bein' how you do, with no sense of dreaming memory, 'couse. Well the Temple-- didn't I say there was a temple? 'couse there was a temple, that's what I'm saying, there was a temple, used to be under the Big Muddy Water betwixt Here n' There. Things as good as dried out, gettin' colder all the time-- here now, sees how there is less scaly n' more hairy, mostly?-- n' it took a while but before you know it, Sharky couln' get in to his chapel no more! Couse it was all up in the bayou anyhow. So the real folks moved into it, little by little. Real little by little. It was all full of poison spears n' pufferfish bad, but that's okay, on account of you know, I got frog power from the Plump-Animal-- hallowed is the Croak-- so we were moving in. Sure some real folk died here n' there but real folks had many real babies, anyhow, so the dream was winnin' out, you betcha. We got our own powers, we got mudskipper power, catfish power, sloth power, all kinds. Even family kinds, like we got crystal power.
Well here is the thing, boy, n' listen up. That shark folk temple weren't no shark power temple, you feel me? Shark folk went there n' I guess it works sorta like the shark folk think they are real folk, instead of dream folk. All you loud folk, dream folk, you gotta all pray to your folk-kind, mebbe, more or less have a totem all dressed up like you. Gots to keep your dreams alive, I don't hold it against yah, hoo-whee. I'd sure be all making real folk idols n' hallelujahin' up a storm if I was a dream folk, n' maybe that is what you loud folk do. Shark folks are dream folks-- I'm pretty sure, could be wrong, ain't no shaman but my mama told me so n' my mama Chanda is a heckuva folk n' she said ain't nobody but us n' the orcses real folk I guess-- but they act like real folk, they got themselves temples sure but inside it had real power. Slime-Manta, he's all full of manta power and slime power, or she is, anyway. Bad stuff, but we stole it out of the temple n' sold it back to the shark folk n' Sharky was up to no good but we were clever n' our potlaches with 'em went pretty good, mostly. The gobblers, they do the same thing, but they ain't no good at it; they might as well be alive, blood in the water like.
So that there was my thing, my sitch-ation. Living in the parts of the Slime-Manta temple we're made safe, filled up with our powers and dreams. I lived in the frog place, where Plump-Animal was strong, where we rafters slept on our balsa flats. Therebouts it was near to the manta-places, where it was still bad n' dangerous...which you gotta figure means loot, means stuff for sharky, still. My problem was, though, I ain't got no sense. I never had a lick of it, now I ain't got spit. Just the same, I ain't never missed a meal for trying, so I do okay, that's why they call me Map. My sister, she was Vanna, they called her golden 'cause of how she was, she took after our mamma, she's the best of the real folk. Just golden, everything she do, she wins, it's pretty great n' she looks out for me. Or anyhow she used to, I dunno, I dunno what, I just don't.
Part of some damn bad juju, some manta-dream, some kind of slime-dream, it was...it was no good, I still got the hex on me, you know? All bad. So I talked to mamma Chanda about it, her baby boy n' baby girl. 'cause on no accounts do I have any idea 'bout sister, but me n' Vanna we got into the same trouble. All of mamma's kids, all grans kids, we are the Keo, 'cause that means jewel, n' that's what we have. Mamma says crystals are just solid parts of the dream, n' that account is why folks are so goo-goo for 'em. Sure, well, our crystal, mamma's crystal, it sure is dream-power. I don't know about dream power, just real power, but mamma does, & she said I gotta go, come 'round these parts, maybe change my luck. So I will, see, & I'll keep my eyes open anyhow. I'm a fool, but I ain't always been n' I ain't always gonna be. Jus' you wait n' see."