Know It By: John Miller


Know It
By: John Miller

“How’d you do it?” Hal asked Sean.

“How’d I do what?” Sean asked. “I didn’t do anything… I just dreamt a little dream… of the rifle jamming, that’s all!”

Hal didn’t ponder the impossibility of Sean doing such a thing; he’d seen him do similar things a hundred times before. He remembered the first time he’d met Sean on a fishing trip. Sean had been late so Hal and the other tourists from the States had gone ahead without him. At noon they came back having caught nothing.

“You caught nothing simply because you haven’t learned how to dream!” Sean told them while waiting in a lawn chair on the dock of the large lake. “If you would have waited for me, I would have made sure you all caught plenty of fish!”

“Who is he?” Hal asked their scout. All the men had come from the States to fish in the Canadian wilderness, and some had come to hunt—Hal wasn’t a hunter.

“Oh, he comes and helps me out sometimes,” David replied. “I’ve been a scout for hunters and fishermen in this wilderness for over twenty years, and I’ve never met anyone like Sean. The local Indians claim he’s a shaman, and I know the Hopis allow him to share in some of their most secretive ceremonies and rituals.”

“Why’s he different from everyone else?” Hal asked.

“Let’s take him back out fishing with us after lunch,” the scout replied, “And you’ll see what I mean.”

The only reason they’d gone back to their camp was because they’d not caught any fish to eat. The plan had been to cook what they caught. After eating dehydrated food and canned beans, the men got back into the boat. David, the pilot who flew them to the remote area, thanked Sean for going with them. In the boat Hal noticed Sean was the only one not wearing a coat.

“You can’t go in that flannel shirt, Sean!” Hal admonished him. “You’ll catch ill in the cold wind of the lake!”

“Not if I don’t dream it!”

An hour later they’d all caught their legal limit and then some. The extra fish they cleaned immediately and cooked using a propane gas stove right on the boat.

“How’d you do it?” Hal asked Sean later when they docked.

“How’d I do what?” Sean said with a mischievous smile.

David flew the other fishermen out of the wilderness, but Hal remained. He’d gone through a bitter divorce, lost his two children when his wife moved five States away, and had just been fired because of company downsizing. He’d come into the Canadian wilderness to find himself, and now that he’d found Sean he thought he might learn something.

Since that time Hal had seen Sean do similar things, and each time Hal had asked Sean how he did it, and every single time Sean would say, “How’d I do what?” But Sean would always say what would happen before he made something happen, before he dreamt it into existence. Like the time he dreamt that a beautiful woman would be waiting for a lonely Hal in the bar of the five-building town just outside the wilderness, or the time he dreamt Hal back to life after falling through the ice and drowning. Hal shook every time he remembered the drowning. Water had entered his lungs, and he’d been under the ice for a full fifteen minutes. Skeptics would say his body froze and went into suspended animation, but there had been so many dreams Sean had brought to life that it seemed foolish to doubt them.

Now, as he sat on the boulder and looked down the hill to see the she-bear finishing mauling the hunter, he wondered about his life and decision to follow Sean. It seemed a dream. Shouldn’t he be trying to save the hunter? Shouldn’t he be dialing 911 or something? Yet it was as if he moved thickly through a dream, and the dream that overtook him was the power of Sean—he would wait for Sean to decide what to do.

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