The ninth episode of Deep of Muscle.
The following is a fan-translation of the Japanese content.
The story of Geronimo's childhood days, and why he came to adore chojin.
Geronimo is famous not only for being one of Kinnikuman’s friends, as a Justice Chojin, but also famous for having once been an ordinary human.
The Devil Chojin once stole a treasure of the chojin world: the “Golden Mask”. This was said to be the source of power for all chojin, and its theft left all chojin alive on Earth in a weakened state . . . it was about this time when Geronimo made a dashing appearance, where he supported the Justice Chojin Army. On seeing him so full of life, everyone asked the same thing of this mysterious man:
“Why is he the only one not weakened by recent events?”
There was an easy answer to that. It was because he was not a chojin, but simply a human that pretended to be a chojin out of deep admiration for them. In other words, there was no chojin power in him for him to be deprived of said chojin power.
Not only that, even though he was a human, he was able to bring down the leader of the Devil Chojin (Sunshine) in a surprise victory that left all amazed . . . alas, during the battle, he endured too much damage. Geronimo’s victory brought him the glory of a hero, but – as a human – all his career ambitions were finished . . . the soul of Geronimo had left his human body.
Little did he know that the chojin god was watching his achievements!
“It is impossible to revive a human soul,” said the god. “If he can prove his worth as a chojin, I can allow him to be reborn as a ‘chojin’ instead of as a ‘human’.”
The soul of Geronimo then passed through three trials, which were set by the chojin god, and – after he passed them with flying colours – he was officially allowed to be reborn as the chojin he so deeply admired and cherished. But the question is why did he admire chojin so much as to risk his life for them? And what did he think his admiration of them would achieve?
This secret of his childhood will be explored in this story, long before when a chojin saved his life as a very little boy . . . we will dig deep down into his heart and mind, exploring profound matters. What kind of childhood did Geronimo have and how did he grow up to be such an honest man? He was born into a Native American tribe, called the Cherokee; how did he live there with his beloved sister, the tribe chief (Chief Cheyenne), and the various animals?
This episode will explore his early childhood and how this turned him into the pure man we know today.
Geronimo is from the Cherokee Tribe.
It is a Native American tribe that is situated in Oklahoma, which is in a central location within the United States of America. Both of his biological parents died, long before he was old enough to understand what had happened to them, and – without any other relations – he was left alone with his little sister.
The great leader of the tribe was named Chief Cheyenne, and he took under his wing the young brother and sister, who were left with no one else in this world. To the Geronimo siblings, Chief Cheyenne was almost like a father to them . . . no, not ‘like’; since he had raised them so early in their lives, he was a father to them. However, something happened around the time Geronimo turned ten-years old.
Amy is his younger sister; at the time, she was nine-years old, just one year younger than him. In the Japanese school system, they would be in elementary school (roughly in the 4th and 3rd grades). It was about that time that they started to notice that Chief Cheyenne was not they biological father. They noticed that they always called him “Chief Cheyenne”, and were never encouraged to call him “Daddy”, which was strange if he had been their biological father all this time.
This had played on Young Geronimo’s mind for some time. One day he came to a decision. It was a day when Chief Cheyenne was servicing his axe, and he rushed over with a pitter-patter of feet with his little sister, and boldly prepared to ask his question, as he shouted:
“Chief! Chief Cheyenne!”
“Chief,” said Amy.
“Oh, Geronimo, Amy,” chirped the Chief. “What’s wrong?”
“Actually,” answered Geronimo. “There’s something we’ve always wanted to ask you! Today, I finally found the courage to hear the answer to my question!”
“Eh? What’s that?” The chief sensed this was serious by their expressions. “You now that you it’s okay; you guys can tell me anything . . .”
“I – I know. It’s just that I know you told us our mommy died not long after Amy was born, but Chief Cheyenne isn’t our blood father, and I think Amy and I realised that long ago. We wanted to ask what our blood father was like. We want you to tell us all about him!”
It seemed the day had finally come. The chief closed his eyes, as he put aside his axe and stopped its maintenance for the day, and turned around to face them both for a face-to-face discussion. He slowed down his speech, as he finally spoke to them . . .
“Ah, well,” said the Chief. “I always knew the day would come when we’d have this talk. I suppose this is as good a time as any. I’ll tell you today about your father, and how he was a good and law-abiding man, if you’re both happy to listen.”
“A good person?” Geronimo asked. “Is our blood father really a good person?”
“Oh, yes, you should be proud. Your father was a true credit to our Cherokee nation, which is why everyone in our tribe is so affectionate to you both. It was important undertaking for you both to be raised in a correct manner, as his son and daughter, and that was why the responsibility fell to me as the chief to take you under my wing as my charges.”
It was the first time that Geronimo and Amy heard this story, which is why their eyes went wide in shock. The Chief left them with little time to process events, as he continued to tell them many truths in rapid succession.
“It happened around eight years ago, when Amy had just turned one,” said the Chief. “You mother had not long died. Do you know that our village was being constantly harassed by white people, even then?”
“Yeah, I know,” replied Geronimo. “I remember they were horrible guys that came in bikes and cars to do bad things!”
“That’s right. You see, originally the humans that lived in North America were an Asiatic race that comprised of the Cherokee Choctaw, and Muskogee tribes, and we lived here since ancient times. It was only when Columbus discovered the Americas that more and more Europeans settled in our lands. At first they existed as good neighbours to our tribes, as we coexisted, but soon – in the 19th Century – their population far exceeded ours, and they have persecuted we indigenous people ever since.
“That is when our troubles began in earnest. The white people attacked us again and again in an armed offensive, and every so often these trespassers upon our land will pillage, plunder, and plague us for their own ends.”
“That’s awful! We didn’t do anything wrong . . .”
“The last big incident was eight years ago,” choked the Chief. “The white people came that day to harass and pester us, leading to a strange chain of events. It seemed those men wanted us to arm ourselves in an attempt to fight back. They considered our tribe to be dangerous, and if they had a pretext to bring out their guns and canons, they could attack us with an overwhelming military force; it would have exterminated our entire village. This is why we decided to simply endure their harassment.”
“Grrrr . . .”
“That’s not all! Despite our refusal to react, some of the white people formed an unruly mob, and – as their patience began to wear thin – used their guns and charged forward with a riotous roar of bullets! As you can expect, everyone decided that we must rush to form a counter-attack, but there to call the brakes on that idea was your father.”
── To be continued
“Our – Our father?”
“He was a gentle giant,” said Chief Cheyenne. “He was calm and brave. He prevented the others from panicking, and ran out of the village alone, where he stood before a dozen or so armed men. He cried out to them: ‘stop attacking our village; if you have to beat someone, beat me instead!’”
Geronimo and Amy held their breaths as they listened. The Chief momentarily hesitated, as he looked into their expectant gaze, but – finally – found the courage to speak the truth.
“Your father was a large and intimidating man. The sight of such a large man startled the mob, and soon they lost their minds and went crazy in an instant. He took their anger, letting them redirect their attention from the village and onto him, and the dozen men brutally beat him.”
“They . . . they beat our daddy?”
“No, but they dealt him a considerable deal of damage. He was beaten half-to-death, but somehow remained standing and never once collapsed. Eventually, news reached the ears of one of the white leaders. They arrested the rioters, apologised to us, and took them away. After enduring their blows for more than 12 hours, your father finally returned to our village, barely alive.”
“Amazing! Our daddy was a hero!”
“I heard through the grapevine that all the men involved in the mob were hung to death by the white leaders, due to the seriousness of their law-breaking actions. But after that, your father . . .”
“The white authorities summoned him to them, as they blame the events on a personal brawl between two parties, and – to punish all equally – also sentenced him to death by hanging. He left and we never saw him again.”
“That’s outrageous,” cried Geronimo. “Did our daddy just accept that?”
“He did,” said Chief Cheyenne. “It was the only solution the white men would accept, so that they could save face. We thought about raging outright war on hearing the news, as the whole village was so desperate to protect him, but – even as he lay on the floor, being nursed back to health – he said to us:
“‘All I care about is that the village is still standing, and that Geronimo and Amy are okay. As far as I’m concerned, I’m blessed, but still you choose to stand in my way? Besides, not all white people are bad people. If they want to make me a scapegoat, I’m okay with that; we all have to make compromises to keep the peace, even if this is the biggest sacrifice of all. Just promise me that you won’t bear a grudge against them . . .’”
“D-Daddy. . .”
“On the day your father was hanged, we made him a promise,” continued Chief Cheyenne. “We swore that we would not hold a grudge, no matter what happened, and we would continue to protect our village though peaceful methods. It is what your father would have wanted. If your father were here, he would say to you: ‘Geronimo, Amy, I know this is hard for you, but don’t hate the white people. If you are able to keep an open heart, and continue to be kind to them, one day you will make peace. Keep faith!’ That is the legacy your father left to me, and now I bequeath it to you.”
The two children were deeply shocked, but also greatly moved. Like their father, they wanted to become kind-hearted people. This was Geronimo’s first-ever ambition, and he held this goal close to his heart ever since he turned ten.
“Uwah,” cried Geronimo. “I’m so glad I asked you, Chief! It’s really inspired me! I’ve always wondered what I’d do when I saw a white man harassing our people, but now you’ve told me about my daddy, I know exactly what I’d do! I’m going to be nice to people, and keep a kind-heart, no matter how they treat me . . . Amy, I’m going to do my best to get along with everyone!”
“Uh-huh,” said Amy. “I know you can do it, Geronimo! You’re the nicest person in the whole world; I know this, ‘cause I know you’re nicer than anyone in the village, including all the animals!”
Amy let loose a call to the village. The birds flew down and perched on Geronimo’s shoulders and head, while dogs bounded over to him with wagging tails, and cows waddled over and rubbed their black noses against him with doe-like eyes.
“See for yourself,” said Amy. “Even the animals know how nice you are! They understand you’re a kind person, and they don’t even speak the same language as you. If they can sense your niceness, why can’t people who share a human tongue understand, too?”
“Uwah! I feel filled with inspiration! Chief, I’m going to go straight to the white neighbourhood, and I’m going to make friends with everyone I see!”
As soon as Geronimo said these words, he ran as fast as he could from his village. He went straight away to the white neighbourhood, which lay far away in the distance.
“Ah,” said Amy. “My brother always acts without thinking. Will he be okay?”
“Fufufu,” laughed Chief Cheyenne. “Your father was the same at his age. Sadly, the more pure and innocent a person, the more sensitive they will be to corruption. It will take time for Geronimo to notice the stain on his honour, but once he does . . . it will be his biggest trial to date.”
Amy admired the chief for both his gentle nature and stoic appearance, but – while he spoke – she said in a strong voice: “Chief . . . it’ll be okay! I believe in him, because nothing can stop him once he’s put his mind to something! He’s a very stubborn person.”
“Hmm, you’re right. I raised Geronimo to bear the Cherokee spirit with pride; I have faith in him!”
── To be continued
Geronimo departed from his village with great expectations, and arrived quickly in the white neighbourhood not too long after his departure. He spotted some young children about his age, and addressed them in a jaunty tone:
“Alright! It’s time to get to know each other! I’m from the Cherokee Village; the name’s Gero!”
He barely had time to finish greeting them in his local dialect, when those children took one look at Geronimo and shrieked out startled!
“Whoa,” one cried. “That’s an Indian boy!”
They suddenly picked up all the stones, rubbish, and waste from the roadside. A fair few of them started to chuck whatever they could find in his direction! One by one, they threw stones and garbage at him in rapid succession. Geronimo simply took their abuse in blank amazement.
“Ugh,” shouted another. “Why the hell did you come to our town? You Indians aren’t welcome here! Why don’t you turn tail and run back to your village?”
It was the first time he came to town alone, but he never expected to be undergo such persecution, and it provided quite a shock to his system. No, he would not lose heart! Geronimo refused to believe the worst in people, and so he thought that this must be some sort of snowball fight.
“Hahaha,” laughed Geronimo. “You city kids sure are strange! I’ve never had a snowball fight with rocks and rubbish before! Okay, no way will I be defeated by the likes of you! Muwhaha!”
Geronimo is a rather competitive person. In order to secure his victory, he picked up anything in sight and threw it with huge force! This included not just dog faeces, but also cat and cow faeces, too.
“Uwah! Time for a Faeces Fight!”
“Gah,” whined one child. “He’s fighting back! He just threw a poop at me!”
“I can’t take much more,” cried another. “Guys, get back! Retreat!”
With that, there was no one left in the nearby vicinity. Geronimo had failed . . .
“It’s harder to make friends than I thought,” said Geronimo. “I won’t let this stop me, though!”
After that, he came across an old lady trembling in fear. They were trying to get across a pedestrian crossing! Geronimo sensed that she was having trouble crossing the road, and so he approached her with a smile and said in a warm voice:
“Granny, I can give you a hand! We can cross the road together.”
“Oh, thank you,” said the old lady. “You’re a very sweet boy. Wait . . . what’s that sticky feeling on my hand?”
They crossed the road together, but – once on the other side – the old lady let go of his hand. She looked down at her palm and was horrified! She screamed:
“Hyaaa! There’s poop on my hand!”
“Argh,” yelled Geronimo. “Darn it! I didn’t wash my hands after I threw it! I’m sorry, Granny!”
He ran away as fast as he could, but this time he saw a little child crying all alone.
“Oh, are you lost?” Geronimo asked them. “I’ll help you find your mother . . .”
He was just about to lead the child away, when the mother reappeared and screamed out:
“Gyah! Are you trying to abduct my child?!”
“N-No . . . I wasn’t abducting them, I –”
“I know exactly what I saw,” said the woman. “This is why you can’t trust an Indian! You can’t give the benefit of the doubt to even their children! I should hand you over to the police!”
“Uwah! Please forgive me! I wasn’t trying to abduct anyone!”
“Hey, stop! Wait a second!”
.......... roughly a day passed.
After enduring such an awful day, Geronimo was exhausted by the evening. He returned at sundown to the Cherokee village, disappointed and broken-heated.
“I’m home, guys,” called Geronimo.
“Ah, Brother,” chirped Amy. “Welcome home! How’d it go? Did you make friends with the townspeople?”
“No . . . well, not really . . .”
There was a beautiful sparkle to Amy’s eyes, as she eagerly awaited tales of his travels.
“Oh, I bet you were fine, Brother! You’re a Cherokee, so of course you made friends with lots of people in town!”
“Oh . . . uh . . . sure! Naturally! Hahahaha, I was super popular with the white folks in town! We’ve had snowball fights, and we held hands together, and we even played a game of tag! Whew, I’m exhausted!”
“Wow! Just like my brother! It’s just like I said; my big brother is bound to make friends with everyone! Even the Chief said the same thing, too!”
“Hahahaha! Yeah! No more harassment; from today, I’ll be able to talk to any of the white people that come here!”
“Aw, Brother, you’re the best! I love you so very much!”
“Yeah, I love you, too, Amy,” said Geronimo. “I know our father isn’t here to protect you, so – as your brother – I’m going to do all I can to keep you safe. It’s late now, though . . . time for bed.”
That night, Geronimo helped put Amy to bed. After that, he went to his futon and cried himself to sleep. He hit rock bottom that night, feeling the worst he had ever felt, but – in the following morning – he pulled himself together and forced himself to get out of bed!
“Morning, Amy,” called Geronimo. “Alright, we’ll go to town together today! Your big brother is going to show you just how many friends he made in town and how well things went!”
“Wow! I can’t wait,” said Amy. “Brother, your eyes are red; what’s wrong?”
“Nah, it’s nothing! Haha, let’s get ready to go out!”
Geronimo was determined to get his sister out of the house. He refused to lose his nerve. He couldn’t lose face in front of his sister, and so he would need to make many friends! It plagued his thoughts, even as he made the arrangements to leave with his sister, and – as they left together by foot – Amy seemed very curious about his new ‘friends’.
‘I hope today will be the day I make some friends,’ hoped Geronimo.
But, despite how much he hoped from the bottom of his heart, it seemed that the gods were out to mock him . . . just as the town came into view, something happened.
“Huh?” Amy said. “Brother, look over there! Who’s that on top of the hill?”
Geronimo looked in the direction where Amy was focused, and there were unmistakably three young boys. At that moment, Geronimo had quite the shock. They were the same boys that ran away yesterday, when he threw the poop at them!
“It’s them again!”
“Oh, you know them, Brother? That’s fine, then! Hey, hey!” Amy called over to them. “I’m Geronimo’s sister: Amy! It’s nice to meet you all, today!”
The boys were horrified to hear that, and begun to panic immediately on hearing those words. Did they worry that they would go through some horrible experience again, all because of the Indian child that did not understand their ways? No, they must instead be angry about what happened yesterday. In his confusion, he noticed that one of the boys was preparing a giant boulder; it was as big as a child!
It is true that children can be cruel and thoughtless creatures at times like these, and these children were the most thoughtless and cruel of all, as they pushed the boulder down the hill and aimed it at the two siblings. As it rolled, they shouted out:
“Alright! Get out of our town, you two!”
“Eh?!” Amy cried. “W-What?!”
Amy was astonished, but there was no time to explain. The boulder was hurtling down towards the two siblings! Geronimo stood in front of Amy to protect her, but it was not enough to stop the might of the boulder. If it kept coming towards them, they’d definitely be . . . crushed to death!
The boulder was three meters in front of them . . . two . . . one! It was so much bigger than them, and – just as they thought they were doomed – a dark and shadowy figure appeared before them. It took only one single head-butt from the man to smash the boulder into a thousand pieces! The black man turned around immediately afterwards, and said to Geronimo:
“Are you okay, sonny?”
“W-Why did you risk hurting yourself to save me and my sister?!”
“Whenever a person cries out for help, it’s my duty to use my body to shield them from harm and save their lives. That is the one duty that all chojin share!”
A chojin . . .
The man had an overwhelming presence, and Geronimo stood stock still in shock.
── To be continued
“We’re in trouble! Run!”
The boys that rolled the boulder soon realised that they had made a big mistake. They were clearly under the wrong impression that this chojin was there to chastise them, and each one scurried back home as quickly as possible into town. Geronimo no longer cared about the boys . . . all he cared about was the robust and strong man that stood before him.
The chojin looked into the young boy’s eyes; there was something special in the boy’s gaze, which fixed on him without any hint of hesitation. He would never usually teach his secrets to others, but something compelled him this time to tell the boy something important!
“Listen well, sonny,” said the chojin. “You can’t let people with cruel hearts get the better of you! When you know that you’re in the right, you have to stand by your principles, even if it means getting hurt!”
A bright smile broke over Geronimo. To look at this chojin was enough to make his heart sing, and he was thrilled when the chojin offered one last word of encouragement:
“If you have justice in your heart, you’ll never lose!”
After making sure everything was okay, the chojin dashed away once more. It left the two siblings alone. The suburban streets, leading into the town, were quiet again. Geronimo was unable to move for a long time after the chojin left . . .
“He – He’s so cool,” whispered Geronimo.
“Brother?” Amy asked. “Geronimo?”
“If I keep justice in my heart, I’ll never –”
“Huh? What? Amy . . . what the heck is wrong?”
“What do you mean ‘what’s wrong’?” Amy sighed. “I’ve been standing here calling your name for ten minutes, ever since the chojin disappeared; I was worried about you! Not only that . . .”
“‘Not only that’ what?”
“Hmph! It’s nothing! I’m going back to the village!”
“Huh? Hey, don’t hold back now, Amy! You were the one that said she wanted to come into town today; aren’t you super excited, too?”
“N-No . . . anyway, haha, I think we’re all good for today. Let’s go home, Brother!”
“W-Well, okay . . . if you say so, Amy . . .”
Amy was a very intelligent girl; she knew that her brother had lied to her, and she knew why, but – in the end – they decided to go back to the village.
* * *
Geronimo ran indoors to the Chief, once he returned to the village. He asked excitedly:
“Chief! Chief Cheyenne! I met a wonderful man today; he was a chojin and he helped us! Why would he do a thing like that?”
The Chief’s eyes went wide.
“Ah, Geronimo. You saw a real chojin?”
“Not just me! Amy saw him, too. A huge boulder came hurtling towards us, and – just when I thought we were going to die – ‘BOOM’! He head-butt the boulders and smashed it with just one blow, and he saved both our lives! It moved me so deeply that I was unable to move. I might have even peed a little!”
“Ah, I see. So you both saw a chojin . . .”
“Chief! What’s a chojin?” Geronimo asked. “You do know what a chojin is, right?”
The Chief took a deep breath and said:
“Hmm, I know. A chojin is an ultimate being with perfect physical and mental strength, along with excellent fighting abilities, and their talents far exceed regular humans. In the chojin world, there are those with a fiery inner strength that use their immense power for peace. These being that protect the human race are called . . . Justice Chojin.”
“Yes, Justice Chojin. They are the strong who fight for the weak. The spirit within them is the same as our spirit in the Cherokee Tribe. Our people have felt a particularly strong relationship to them, going back since time immemorial, and – although they are seldom seen – our people believe that they are always watching over us from out there . . . somewhere . . .”
“So . . . So that’s why he saved me?”
“Hmm, I’m sure that is why he saved you.” Chief Cheyenne added: “Always remember, however, that they will never help anyone with a cruel or entitled heart. They will also only help those that try to help themselves and others . . . they say ‘heaven helps those that helps themselves’. In particular, there is a chojin family to whom we have been good friends for some time, and this trait is particularly strong within their blood. They must have judged you to have a good soul.”
“Huh? You mean me?”
“That’s right. Did you say Amy was with you when the rock came down?”
“Yeah,” said Geronimo. “I stepped in front of Amy to protect her, but – just when I thought we were both doomed – he was there right in front of me.”
“That will be why, then. First and foremost, you were trying to protect your little sister, which made the fires within your soul burn bright. He must have responded to that radiant light within you . . . thank goodness, Geronimo.”
Geronimo finally understood why he had been so enamoured by the chojin. It was because – deep down – he also wanted to be strong enough to protect his sister, friends, village, and even the animals. The fact was that he was still weak, though, and not strong enough to protect them. This infuriated him. He had taken Amy out of the village today to make her happy, but his good intentions were not enough, and so he had put her life in danger and been powerless to save her in response.
“Ah, I’m not good enough,” wept Geronimo. “I want to be stronger. I need to be stronger!”
Geronimo felt that burning ambition like a scream within his heart. Today, a person with that same fiery “power” and strength had appeared before him to rescue him, and what else would a young boy yearn to become if not like this man?
“Chief, I’ve decided,” said Geronimo. “I’m going to become a chojin!”
Geronimo said this astounding and strange thing out of nowhere, but – on hearing his heartfelt declaration – the Chief could do nothing except to loudly laugh!
“Hahaha,” laughed the Chief. “Ah, you almost had me there . . . Hahahaha!”
"What's so funny?! Did I say something strange?”
The Chief wiped away tears of laughter with his hand . . . no, not just laughter; there was something deeper behind his tears. When he spoke next, it was to explain himself to Geronimo:
“Sorry, that was rude of me,” said the Chief. “I know you’re a little different to your father, but sometimes . . . sometimes you say the same thing he would say at your age. I do miss him . . . it just made me laugh with joy to remember him.”
“Eh, what? My daddy said the same thing as me?”
“That’s right. Like father, like son . . . hahaha! Well, maybe if you put your mind to it, you’ll be able to become a chojin after all!”
“Honestly?! In that case, I’ll become a chojin . . .”
“But there’s one thing, Geronimo. Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy . . .” The Chief let his expression turn serious.
“Do you follow?” The Chief continued: “It takes a great deal of discipline and dedication for a human to become a chojin. You must forge your spirit through intense training, until you have a robust body and pure soul, and stand against many adversaries in battles, before the chojin gods will acknowledge your desire to become a chojin. They will then grant you the chance to attempt their final challenge, which will reward you with the chance to become a chojin.”
“Battles? Gods? Final . . . challenge?”
“Hahaha. I suppose it can be a little tricky. This is when I should emphasise that it’s all just a ‘possibility’, though, and even a person as good as your father never achieved his dream of becoming a chojin. Do you think you can truly surpass your father?”
“I’ll surpass him! I’ll surpass my daddy!”
“Well, you’ll have to train very hard first, but one day . . . you’ll be a true hero, Geronimo!”
That day, Geronimo began his intensive training with heart-and-soul, as he studied beneath Chief Cheyenne and learned from him the various disciplines to become a fighting warrior. He never once stopped dreaming of becoming a chojin . . . and the years drifted by . . .
Five years later . . .
“Ah, Geronimo,” said the Amy. “You’re doing great! I knew you could do it, because you’re from a long line of great heroes. You have some killer chops; they’re so strong that they could beat even a chojin in a match!”
After those five years, Geronimo had grown into a handsome young man. He was now fifteen-years old. He had grown from a weak boy into a robust young man, almost unrecognisable in nature.
“No, I’m not ready yet,” said Geronimo. “I won’t stop until I can hatter a boulder with a single head-butt. Until then, I’m not even close to finishing my training!”
“No, no, no, no, no! This is enough! It doesn’t matter who you are, even the world’s strongest man would die if he took a boulder to the head!”
“It’s fine; a chojin could do it!”
He was still the same at heart as he was as a ten-year old, and just as simple-minded, but – among his peers – he was perceived as being increasingly charming and blessed with good luck. In his Cherokee village, he was more and more popular.
“Yeah, yeah,” said Amy. “I’ve heard all about that chojin that saved you years bac. You’re right that it’s possible for a chojin to shatter a boulder with their head, but that only goes to prove why you can’t do that as a human! You know that the Chief has been good to you, right? He’s trained you as much as he possibly can, hasn’t he?”
“Huh! The Chief is holding back. I’m still not good enough; I won’t stop until my body is strong enough that I can smash boulders with my head!”
“Well, if you insist, I won't stop you. Just don’t hit that thick skull of yours in the wrong place and die, else you’ll never get to be a chojin. Until then, I’m here for you!”
At that point, Chief Cheyenne lumbered over to them.
“Hey, you two!” Chief Cheyenne yelled out. “You’re not talking nonsense again, are you? If you keep slacking off, I'll have to add 500 push-ups to the schedule today!”
“Hya!” Geronimo cried. “I’m training! I’m training! Please forgive me!”
Behind Geronimo, his friend Thomas was desperately working hard on today’s planned schedule. He was trying to practise how to do his Mongolian Chops, but Geronimo . . . well, he could only stare at a fixed spot somewhere far beyond the Chief. He did not move one inch. The Chief asked:
“Hmm? What's wrong, Geronimo? What are you looking at?”
“They’ve come back . . . the white people from town have come back in their cars . . .”
The Chief turned around on hearing Geronimo speak. There were five cars up ahead, with about twenty men getting out of their vehicles, and they came out one after the other. The 20 white men finally exited their vehicles, before they approached the main entrance of the villages, and each one seemed to carry in his or her hand a rifle or an iron bar. The leader of this group stepped forward. He fired his rifle twice in the air, and proceeded to call out to them over a loudspeaker:
“Hey, you Injuns! We white folk have come out here to this here boondocks for a bit o’ a chat between our people! Why don’t y’all come out all nice, like?”
The tone didn’t seem like they wanted a ‘chat’. This happened all too often . . .
“Chief,” said Geronimo. “Why do they only ever come to our village with bad intentions and all mentally disturbed? They’re blatantly not here to talk! Why can’t we all just get along? What the heck are they thinking . . .?”
The Chief answered Geronimo with a troubled tone: “They’re afraid. They know that we cannot harm them, due to our truce with the white community, and yet they still carry weapons, because they are afraid of the power we hold as a people. Look for yourself and see evidence of their weakness. What do you see by their clothes and attire?”
Geronimo looked closely at their clothes, once the Chief finished speaking to him. They were all in shabby and threadbare shirts, and worn-out and raggedy jeans.
“They look kind of . . . poor.”
“Exactly,” replied the Chief. “Their bravery is just an act, and – in reality – they are pitiable. They don't have jobs, and they don't make any effort to look for them, but instead just spend their days wandering around doing nothing. They come all the way to our village, in the middle of the day and on a weekday, just to harass people. If a man takes a bite, it will relieve his hunger for a moment, and by harassing us, it will relieve their anger momentarily in the same fleeing manner . . .”
He was right. The talks were merely a guise, where they would force the tribe to take their dirty furniture (probably found in a garbage dump) and steal food in compensation for their ‘exchange’. This belief that the ‘ends justify the means’ is prevalent among the poor in America, likely as a result of resentment from their extreme struggles, and it reduces once good people to a shadow of themselves.
“They are oppressed by the rich in powerful in their hometown,” said Chief Cheyenne. “They come here so that they can feel superior by comparison.”
He may have been right, but there was no excuse for their actions. It was hard to pity them. Geronimo understood that Chief Cheyenne pitied the weak and poverty-stricken, but perhaps he was too magnanimous towards those lowlifes, and yet . . .! He was still lost in thoughts, when some familiar words echoed through his mind:
‘Listen well, sonny. You can’t let people with cruel hearts get the better of you! When you know that you’re in the right, you have to stand by your principles, even if it means getting hurt!’
That was right! That was what the chojin told him at the time, and now he was going to take that advice to heart. He thought again of that chojin: ‘If you have justice in your heart, you’ll never lose!’
A fiery passion erupted in Geronimo’s wide eyes.
‘If you have justice in your heart, you’ll never lose!’
“Stop,” cried Thomas. “Geronimo, slow down!”
Geronimo was already striding towards the white men, as he set about to prevent these ‘talks’. Thomas was intent on stopping him, but Chief Cheyenne – on seeing the fire in Geronimo’s eyes – realised that there was no need to stop the young man. He instead raised his left hand to signal to Thomas and said:
“No, Thomas. Let us do things differently today. Let us see what happens.”
“Huh, Chief? Is that really okay?”
“Yes,” said the Chief. “If anything goes wrong, I’ll take full blame.”
“If you say so, Chief,” replied Thomas. “Actually, I can kind of see your point. A part of me really wants to see them squirm when Geronimo makes them leave . . .”
“Well, Geronimo has grown into a fine young man; it is good that he has been able to convince you to believe in him. Now watch . . . maybe today he will be our new village hero.”
Geronimo continued to march forward alone. He went past the village entrance, and walked straight to the group of white men, where he stopped just in front of the group. The white men were surprised to see that it was a young man, and not the Chief, that had come to greet them. They spoke to him as if he were a fool, and said:
“Hey there, sonny-him! We grown-ups are here on business. We don’t really have time to play with pipsqueaks, so why don’t you go get Mr Chief, eh?”
What the heck was so funny? They acted like he was unimportant. Geronimo moved so quickly that the men laughing at him never saw him move, and – with a snatch – stole the rifle of the man on the far right.
── to be continued
“Gyahahaha . . . haha . . . ha . . . huh, what?”
“Hmph,” said a man. “We’ve brought some good stuff that we’ve no use for, so do you mind if we trade what we have for some food? It shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
The man whose gun was stolen was shocked at how quickly it had been taken from him. He snatched his rifle back from Geronimo, and declared in a loud and assertive voice:
“Hey, what’re you doing? Stop it, stop it! This is the only thing I own in mah house . . .”
“Jin,” warned another man.
Once his name was spoken, the man fell quickly into silence and clasped a hand over his mouth. The man had unwittingly revealed the real reason they came to the village, and now the ringleader took over the talking for the group.
“Hah, what a punk,” teased the leader. “Yer quick, ain’t ya? It seems like you’ve started to put yer skills to thievery an’ pick-pocketing now, huh?”
“We’re not pickpockets or thieves,” spat Geronimo. “We grow our own crops, and get milk from our goats and cattle. We get along in peace with one another. So if what you say is true, why did you feel a need to come out all this way just to harass and pester us?”
“The idea of harassment is unthinkable. We came here solely for your benefit, just so we could have some ‘talks’ and exchange some goods. Today we brought ya a big, fluffy bed . . . it’s just like what the civilised folk use. Go get it, Glenn, Mark, and Scott!”
“Aye, Aye, Sir!”
The mattress was torn and tattered, with the springs sticking out in places, and the wooden legs had clearly been scratched by the claws of what appeared to be a cat. It left the stability of the bed in question. It did not matter how you tried to spin matters, it was just a piece of garbage.
“What d’ya think? Do you see this? This is a ‘bed’!”
Geronimo was dumbfounded. Did they really see the same thing that he saw? Geronimo may not have been the most knowledgeable person in the world, but even he knew how a bed was supposed to look. How could anyone not know about a bed? They acted like a bed would be a strange concept to him . . . their arrogant and condescending manner was really getting on his nerves.
“Who the hell do you think we are?” Geronimo asked.
“Y’all are the ones living in a village stuck in the sticks!”
“It doesn’t matter if we’re from a village in the middle of nowhere, or a city in a big metropolitan area; we’re Americans too, damn it! Why can’t we all get along as American people?”
“Ah, shut it! Just take the bed and we’ll take ya food!”
Geronimo snapped on hearing that thoughtless remark, and shouted: “O-O-Our life in the village is awesome! Stop acting like we’re idiots!”
He charged at them head-on, and lunged straight for the ringleader at the front, while taking the position of a head-butt in a feint! Then, without a moment’s delay, delivered a Mongolian Chop to both sides of the man’s neck! It struck perfectly onto the carotid artery, causing the ringleader to collapse on the floor in a somersault motion. The man screamed out:
“He – He hit him! He laid hands on him! It’s war! It’s war!”
On seeing their leader hurt, and hearing those words, the men immediately readied for a fight. The leader clumsily grabbed at his rifle, but the rest of the men prepared to battle en masse with just their bare hands. It was too late for Geronimo to react. They crowded around him! They cried:
The men all rushed in unison on command. Thomas watched them beating Geronimo from a distance, where they all surrounded him and pounded upon him, and looked to the Chief in hope that they could provide assistance. He whispered the name “Chief”, but the Chief kept his arms crossed and watched with a calm expression. He had made his judgement:
“Wait. Let's wait and see what happens.”
“Ch-Chief . . .”
Geronimo had done nothing but train and train for 5 years; he may have been unarmed, but so were his enemies, and he had the advantage as a trained warrior. Geronimo somehow remained calm . . . but it would be impossible for him to defeat over 20 men alone. There was something terribly unfair about making him fight without any assistance. Thomas prepared to run to his aid, but the Chief Cheyenne grabbed him from behind and stopped him from going to Geronimo.
“What are you doing?!” Thomas asked. “Isn’t Geronimo the pride of the Cherokee, Chief? If we don’t help him now, he’ll be beaten half to death . . . j-just like his father . . .”
“That’s why we have to watch over him!”
The Chief opened his eyes wide, and said in a loud voice, pre-empting Thomas:”
“Why . . . watch . . .?”
Thomas stood confused at his side, as the Chief took in a heavy sigh. He turned to Geronimo so far away in the distance, and screamed out in a loud voice that broke though the commotion:
“Hey, Geronimo! You are the son of a great Cherokee, Geronimo! What is it that you want?! Why do you struggle alone?! Once more, tell me with feeling!”
Even as they beat him, laughed through a grin and shouted out:
“I – I’ll never be a chojin, until . . . until I surpass my father!”
Geronimo used all his strength to shout back his reply to Chief Cheyenne’s calls, but – even with all his might – he struggled to launch a proper counter-attack against 20 men. He collapsed and crouched down in a turtle-like position, and endured the onslaught of attacks from the ruffians! He could even land one blow in retaliation, but even though he was in dire straits, he never lost faith. He continued to keep those special words deep within his heart:
‘If you have justice in your heart, you’ll never lose!’
Geronimo never forgot those words, as he remained crouched down and endured the violent onslaught, and soon – fatigued from kicking and punching and scratching – the white people stopped their assault. He remained motionless, just like a turtle, even as they surrounded him. The ringleader prepared to speak to him one last time.
“Huff, Huff,” gasped the ringleader. “Hmph, it’s time you learned, you piece of shit! That's what you get for raising your hand to a white man! But you gave us quite the workout, so – out of respect for you – we’ll leave you alone for now. Go home to your mama and get her to use her herbs and potions to cure ya, hahahaha! Time to go, guys!”
The white men turned their backs on him, as they made to go back to their cars, but – from behind – Geronimo threw out a hand and grabbed the ringleader by his ankles. The man looked over his shoulder towards the boy that restrained him below, still worn out and beaten on the ground . . . it was Geronimo!
“You haven’t won yet,” said Geronimo. “There’s no way I’m just going to let you leave . . .”
“What the fuck? Bastard!”
The man was astonished, but shook off the hand from his ankle. He stomped at the young man!
“Ugh, you’re pure trouble,” spat the ringleader. “We’re done now; I’m going!”
He delivered two more stomps, before Geronimo once again collapsed from exhaustion.
“Tch, you really look like shit now, kid.”
He was about to head towards his car again, but this time a hand grabbed at his foot.
“Hehe . . . not yet,” murmured Geronimo. “I’ve got a few things to say to you . . .”
This inhuman man was scared now, and so he kicked at Geronimo’s jawbone! Geronimo again collapsed, but his lips remained in the faint shape of a smile. The ringleader screamed:
“What the fuck is wrong with you?! Just lie down and stay down!”
He tried to stomp once more, but Geronimo mustered every ounce of power to catch at his leg, looked him in the eye, and said in a resolute tone: “You know nothing a-about my village . . .! You – You ridicule my people, but the truth -? The truth is that you white men are just like us . . . we’re all human.”
“Shut yer hole, we’re nothing like you! We’re . . . We’re -!”
Geronimo held ever tighter to the leg, even as the ringleader tried to shake him off.
“I remember . . . what my daddy said,” said Geronimo. “He said that n-no matter how much we hate you white men . . . we must always keep an open heart and be kind . . . s-so one day we can make peace!”
“Never gonna happen! That day ain’t never gonna come!”
“My – My daddy failed to do that . . . but I’ll succeed where my daddy failed. I’ll – I’ll make friends . . . w-with you guys . . .”
“Like I said, it ain’t never going to happen, ya mother-fucker!”
The man finally shook his leg free from Geronimo, and once more used all his strength to kick at the young man, who struggled to breathe . . . he felt scared . . . guilty . . . and faint. They made to return to their vehicles, when several black-and-white cars sped in their direction from town, all with their sirens blazing and flashing even from so far away. It was a deafening sound.
“Hey, let’s go,” said the ringleader. “It’s not our day today; time to get back!”
“It – It’s too late,” shouted another.
A squad of patrol cars zoomed towards them, each contained members of the local police force from town. It must have been someone in the village that called them. The sirens of the patrol cars were loud and getting louder still, as they came ever closer, and soon they surrounded the ruffians, while the Inspector came out and stood near them.
“Hmm,” said the Inspector. “If it isn’t Gerald and his gang of local hooligans? You were banned from causing mischief in my town, so you’ve come to the middle of nowhere to get some cash . . .”
He looked to Geronimo, who lay beaten and bloody on the ground.
“On top of all that, you mass lynched a very young boy . . . you really are a menace to society. I’ll take you all to the station; consider yourselves booked.”
They were about to be taken away, when a voice yelled out:
“No, wait! They’re . . . my friends.”
It was Geronimo! He continued, even as he lay beaten on the ground: “We just playing a duelling game! It’s a game we play all the time in our village . . .”
The Inspector used his arms to help Geronimo to stand, but shook his head and replied: “Boy, there’s no way you play that game . . . why are you protecting them? Are these scumbags threatening you?”
“They’re not scum! In this world . . . no one is worth less than anyone else. Like I said, they’re my friends! He’s just like me . . . we’re all people . . . humans.”
The Inspector held Geronimo close to him, while he glared daggers at Gerald, and declared in a cold and assertive voice: “Oi, listen here! You know that you treat people like this boy as easy marks, but don’t ever forget that they’re people just like you!”
“Ugh . . . uh . . . s-shut up,” muttered Gerald. “You always blame us! So we’ll fight against you, too! If we’re arrested, we’ll spend our whole life behind bars! Everyone, get out your guns and aim them at the police! We’ll fight to the death, if we have to; time to win our freedom!”
"Uwaaah,” cried Geronimo.
It was the worst-case scenario.
A shootout was unfolding just outside the Cherokee village, between the ruffian Gerald’s gang and the local police force. Still, even though things could not be any worse, a new problem was unfolding from another direction, just a little away from the gang and the police.
“What’re you doing? What’re you going?” The village children shouted: “You came here uninvited just to start trouble in front of our village! Now you’re bullying Geronimo, our beloved big brother! What’s wrong with you? Why are you here? Why don’t you leave right away?!”
The Cherokee village children screamed from on top of a hill at the two groups squaring off below. They gathered together and used all their strength to prepare some boulders, which would be ready to roll down the hill at all parties below. This was no time for a gunfight. If they didn't move quickly, they would all be crushed to death by the giant boulders. The children acted with pure intentions, only wanting to innocently protect their friend, but it was an incredibly cruel threat aimed at the adults!
Geronimo was still lying on the floor, when he stared absently up at the boulder. He was about to quickly run away to safety, but . . . he suddenly remembered that day so long ago. The boulder started to roll down with a pounding noise, right before his eyes, and it reminded him so much of that chojin who stood before him and smashed a boulder to pieces . . .
‘Alright! Get out of our town, you two!’
In the middle of all the chaos, Geronimo eyed the Inspector and Gerald fighting with one another, each one refusing to escape from the imminent threat. Behind them, the big boulder was rolling straight in their direction . . . if they didn’t move soon, they would both die!
At that moment, a fiery inner strength burst through Geronimo’s soul and set him aflame. Even before he consciously made the decision to stand, he was already on his feet and running behind the two men! Geronimo acted out of pure instinct . . .!
He made a mad dash despite the impending doom, and assumed the position of a head-butt, just like the chojin long ago had done!! Gerald and the Inspector noticed this crazy behaviour, and both exclaimed in astonishment at the same time:
“What the hell?!”
A crashing noise echoed out, while a burst of smoke swept over them. The thunderous noise echoed out until it was slowly replaced by an absolute silence, leaving only an ominous and eerie atmosphere. The cloud of dust obstructed their view, but they were sure – deep in its depths – the boulder had cracked open Geronimo’s head and left his body a bloody mess on the ground. It was a belief shared by everyone, but – when the smoke cleared – they lay witness to a miracle.
The rock was shattered into hundreds of piece, which fell with a crumbling sound onto the ground, but Geronimo was unharmed . . . although unconscious. There – protecting Geronimo – stood a strong, powerful, and black chojin. It was the same chojin that Geronimo saw as a child!
“Hey, Geronimo,” said the chojin. “Hehe, long time, no see! You’ve truly grown into a strong-willed and robust young man . . . but even a man like you was helpless in the face of this danger.” He looked to Gerald and the Inspector, and shouted: “Hey, you two!”
They were overwhelmed by the intimidating aura that radiated out from this intimidating chojin, and remained silent, as they panted for breath in an anxious manner. The chojin continued:
“Out of respect for this child, I want you to both shake hands and make up.”
The Inspector balked at this suggestion, as he said: “N-No, I have to arrest this villain!”
“No, I think this man will be okay now. Won’t you, Gerald?”
Gerald stood on his feet, as he stared down at the broken and crumpled body of Geronimo. He wept.
“Inspector,” said Gerald. “I’ve spent my whole life with a grudge against the world, but this child was willing to save my life . . . even though every word I said to him was rude or cruel, he rescued me without once holding it against me . . . it’s the first time anyone was ever willing to sacrifice their life for me. It’s why I – . . . I think this man has the right idea.”
The Inspector threw an arm around Gerald, before left him alone and went back to his patrol car.
“Well,” said the Inspector on a megaphone. “It’s time to go, lads.”
“Is – Is that a good idea, Sir?”
“It’s a gorgeous day out. Just right for a drive! So yeah . . . let’s go.”
The patrol cars pulled out and drove away, immediately after the megaphone was finished.
Once more, a quiet stillness swept over the wilderness. Just like how the boulder was gone, so too was the chojin that disappeared as if in the blink of an eye . . . the rest of Gerald’s gang gathered around their leader, who stood beside the fallen Geronimo, and together they held an intense discussion.
They eventually carried the unconscious Geronimo, with their own hands, back to the village. They delivered him personally to the waiting Chief, and then knelt down before him and apologised profusely for all their evil deeds. From that day forward, white people never attacked the village again . . .
A few days later . . .
“Hey, Amy, Chief,” chirped Geronimo. “What happened after I passed out that day? When I woke up, the village was quiet . . . it was as if nothing happened, and then the bad guys stopped coming, and then no one would tell me anything even if I asked. What the heck aren’t you telling me?”
“Well, all that happened is that you were incredible, Brother!”
“Huh? What did I do?”
“Hey, Geronimo. Do you really think you’ll become a chojin in future?”
“Totally! I’m going to keep at it no matter what!”
“Fufufu,” laughed the Chief. “I suppose nothing is impossible . . . you certainly proved that day that you are still pure in heart and pure in spirit, but – whatever happens – never forget to keep that purity in your heart as you go through life.”
“Ah, sure,” said Geronimo. “It’s kind of weird that you’d remind me of that now, but I promise that I won’t ever change! Even if I become a chojin, I won’t ever change!”
“Good, don’t you forget. Now . . . time to eat.”
“Hooray! Oh, wait . . . first you have to tell me! Something happened that day, didn’t it?” Geronimo whined: “Gah, why won’t anyone tell me what happeeeened?”
* * *
Chief Cheyenne was preparing their meal, when he secretly prepared a separate sake cup for the Chojin God, and quietly whispered a prayer at the nearby altar:
“Fufu, he’s still very reckless, but that’s to be expected from your son. One day Geronimo will become a splendid man, but for now you’re probably on tenterhooks . . . in the meantime, please continue to watch over Geronimo, Amy, and our village. You were the former hero of the village, and one who became a chojin . . . today, I must say ‘thank you’!”
Chief Cheyenne said his prayers at his nearby altar; there stood a photograph of Geronimo and Amy’s father, who was unfortunately now deceased. The beaming and smiling figure in the photograph looked – in a vague way – like the black chojin that saved Geronimo on that day . . .
── The End