Memory One- The Morongo Indian Reservation

Anna and I were shown to the room we were going to share by Chris’s mom, Mrs. Morgan. The furniture in the room was old. There was a framed black and white photo of Mrs. Morgan as a young woman with her three son’s Chris, Daniel and Lee, surrounded by little knickknacks and souvenirs from her life on the dresser.

Our new room smelled like a lethal combination of formaldehyde, mold and stale air. I sat on the edge of the bed trying to adjust to my new life, while she showed Anna and me which drawers we could use, although I chose to keep my things in the paper bag I had brought them in.

Mrs. Morgan stood silently studying us for a few moments, then turning to leave told us to be in the kitchen at 6:00 PM.

With Mrs. Morgan safely out of the room and the door closed, Anna said “I hate it here, Chris is mean, he’s already yelled at mom twice and he keeps asking about you. I said to Anna, “Why would he be asking about me?” Anna replied “I think he heard from Daniel that you’re pretty.”

Anna said this apologetically and obviously concerned by what it meant for me. I felt sick to my stomach and started trembling. Anna hugged me and said “Don’t worry Elena, we’ll sleep together and just do what we did in Hayward. If one of us goes to take a shower, we both go, okay? It’ll be alright, please don’t be scared. You know we won’t be here for long, we’ll move soon, we always do.”

I started crying and said “I wish the boys were here. I really miss them. I wish we could go back to San Francisco.”

From the other side of the house we could hear Chris calling for us and honking the horn of his truck. We ran outside to find Mom and Chris in the truck telling us to jump in the back. We didn’t drive far, just several hundred yards down an old dusty road behind the house we were staying in. Chris was taking us on a tour to see where he kept his animals or rather hid his animals.

Anna and I stopped cold in our tracks when we saw tied to chains, connected to metal stakes in the ground a sea of Pit Bulls, growling, barking and lunging at us.

Anna was scared and started asking mom why he had all these Pit Bulls. Chris was trying to say something to me from 12 feet away, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying over the loud roar of barking dogs.

Chris waved me over to where he was standing I politely shook my head and mouthed “No thank you!” He yelled louder, “Come on, don’t be scared, they are really sweet dogs”! He walked over to retrieve me from the petrified ground I was standing on. Mom and Anna followed. Chris showed me to a big wooden barrel that held the dog food and started demonstrating how to feed the dogs. I thought he was just trying to give me a little peek into his world as a famous and respected dog trainer/fighter/killer. But unfortunately for me, I was actually receiving a lesson in how to feed the dogs, because as it turned out, feeding the dogs was going to be one of my chores while living under the Morgan roof. It went along with feeding the cocks that he fought and incinerating the trash….