Saturday, September 20, 2014

Swallow The Sun (Wranglers' Canyon No. 3)

When you hang around somewhere long enough you get to being inquisitive and kinda snoopy and ask a lot of questions about things that you'd normally take for granted. One day after a few drinks Sheriff Frehley told me all about the legend of Sailor Jerry, who was more of a 1st Mate, almost a Captain, and then some gent said no, he wasn't that high up the ladder, he was more of a bosun.

"They don't make niggers 1st mates, Sheriff", Bo, the squarehead blacksmith, grunted.
Frehley frowned. "If they're in international waters they don't give a frig what color you are, just as long as you can set sail, keep a steady course and run the deck with your guts together".
Frehley poked me in the gut, and whispered, "Damn Swedes, they don't like darkies, Protestants or anybody else, for that matter". I threw back a shot of Stallion Sweat and sniffed.

Another thing nobody could agree on was where he came from. Some say he was from Trinidad, but he wasn't sporting no funny Island accent. Someone else said he was Moroccan, and that got shot down faster than a pigeon from a duck blind. Wherever he came from it sure wasn't the deep South because he had sea green ocean water running through his veins. He served behind the bar with sea legs, the kind that tilt every so often so they can handle all that rocking and rolling with the ocean waves.

There were several theories about how he came to sporting that hook for a left hand. Sheriff said it was for stealing a fortune in gold in Persia resulting in his black hand getting chopped off. It's supposed to be sitting in a pickled jar somewhere in Arabia while he buried the treasure in a pile of camel dung which he stumpily smuggled back here and paid for the saloon. The squarehead cut in again - I was getting mighty tired of his mouth - said it wasn't like that at all. He lost it when he got jumped by a bunch of bitter crackers in Mississippi.

Then some fancy blowhard jumped in and said everybody got it all wrong. He was a popular music hall entertainer in Europe and got real cozy with some rich old dowager in Austria who got a crazy mare that went ape shit kicking and whinnying her damn fool horse head off and Jerry tried grabbing the reins, his paw got stuck in the bridle and the damn fool nag ripped his hand off the arm, so he got a handsome reward for saving the old biddy's life. The Sheriff's story was the closest thing to a real one and I had trouble chewing on that one, too.

I nodded my head like a damn fool when the blowhard talked because it turned out he was the Mayor of Jonestown, name of Randall. Mayor Randall. Mayor Randall walked up to Frehley and asked him, kinda confidential, "Any doings over at the Hiss Ranch?"

"No, nothing at all, Mayor", Frehley looked kinda spooked for a second there.

I might want to also mention a few things about the people in Jonestown. I know I'm only generalizing but most of the people who passed me by were awfully pretty, the ladies young and old, even the fellas were right easy to look at. The folk weren't just easy to look at but acted real easy going, too easy going, like they never had anything to worry about, ever.

After a few drinks too many with the big shots I stiffly wobbled out of Sailor Jerry's. I staggered across the road and saw a fella hanging a banner that read: "JONESTOWN COMMUNITY FAIR". I almost fell over ass over elbows when I tripped on a bucket of tripe.

"Mr. Walker, are you hokay?" Mr. Butcher looked at me with concern, his apron smeared with pig's blood.
"No problem at all, Butch", I drunkenly smiled. I moseyed over behind the barbershop and fell asleep, flat on my face.

I woke up the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed, no, just kidding, there were flies hovering all around me and the world's ugliest dog licking my face. The dog had a face so ugly I'd shave his ass and make him walk backwards, plus his dog breath smelled like he'd been working over his balls sun up to sun down before waking me up.

The sun was blasting me in the face and I got up, almost kicking the dog in his chewed up tail but he ran off.
"G'wan, git, Shit Ball!"

I dusted off my chaps and ambled around the corner only to find dozens of folks dancing and a band playing on a tiny stage. There were banners set up and tables with pies and fried chicken and other high stepping viddles. It was a genuine jamboree. I must of slept it off while all this setting up was going on.

The girls that danced with the dudes were real pretty, and clean too, like they never missed a bath. They were all well scrubbed and you could smell them from where I stood, all nice like flowers. I smelled gardenias, camellias, rose, geraniums, you name it.

I even saw Miss Willa dancing with some new beau and old Mumbling Pete standing not far away with a sorrowful look on his kisser. I reckoned the poor corn shucker needed some cheering up.

"Hey, Pete! Some party, eh Hoss?"
"Xcdgfs mkmfk ui edcbnjc po ijn!" Pete started blubbering like a new born babe.
"Oh hell, Pete, they're all whores. When are you going to get wise to yourself?"
"Vb gryt hjhg kiu ryt ckhjj wervn", he moped.
"Well, y'see that's a gal's job", I put my arm around him. "They're supposed to make a dude feel special. Until they find one with more money. Then they toss your ass out. That's how the game's played".
"Baw ahawboohoo bawlbawlbawl", he cried.

I vamoosed off Pete and walked over to a homely looking thing who didn't have Johnny Shit to dance with, so I grabbed her. Her face lit up real bright.
"Say, Miss, how'd you like to do a fancy step or two with me?"
"SURE!" This young spinster looked like she was going to boil in her drawers. Shitfire!

"Good deal, ma'am, but before you we step out you gotta to a few rounds with my amigo here, name's Pete". I practically smacked them into each other like a dry ham sandwich.
"Gc fyt wegn fohubj scg wklhjb!" Pete lit up and smiled.
"Well, go on, Boy. Show her some fancy steps!"

The plain jane's face kinda dropped but before she could run away Pete grabbed her waist and danced in a spin with the rest of the other folks, almost knocking over Miss Willa.
Mr. Butcher was dancing with his big fat wife, Bo the blacksmith did a squarehead waltz with some blonde, Mister Flint the barber danced with his short spinner wife, Shorty from the hotel was dancing with the pretty Mex maid. It was a right jamboree.

But I wasn't having any fun. Something was stuck in my craw, and I didn't know what. I kept staring at the dude Miss Willa was dancing with. He looked a whole lot like the gent named Rance from the swimming pond incident of a week ago. Couldn't be. Rance was dead, but this dude looked a whole lot like him, as if he was kinfolk.

At the end of the last song everyone applauded all nice and fancy. Mayor Randall held his arms out to quell the applause.
"Thank you, one and all, for coming to this year's Jonestown City Fair. Now you know we always welcome our friends and neighbors to come up and sing a little song. Is there anyone here who'd like to come up and sing with the band? And I mean someone who can really sing?"

Everybody got all shy and quiet, but that damn foghorn Mumbling Pete yelled at the Mayor, "Ty ghd bnxzgui iory vbd iojiji!"
Mayor Randall made a face, looked out at me in the crowd and said, "What did he say? What did he say???"
"He said, well, uh -" I stammered, still fighting off my hangover.

Mumbling Pete ran over to me and pushed me towards the stage.
"He said I'm the greatest singer West of the Pecos", I frowned.
"Kli sdgh vbhj wtdci jkks nuuihusj!!!!"
"Aw Pete, I wish you'd shut up for a change!" I protested as he pushed me closer and closer to the stage.

"Well, looky here folks! We got us a brand spanking new singer here, our esteemed visitor - Mister Crash Walker!", Mayor Randall yelled. "Let's see if we can get him to sing us a song. Come on up, Mister Walker!"

I got up on that stage and looked at the band who gave me skeptical looks like I should be shoveling shit instead of talking it. I looked at the drummer and the bull fiddle player and said, "Do you know 'Buffalo Babe'?"
The band picked it up and started playing. I began singing.

"Oh well the skies are dark and wide,
And your teeth are pearly white,
Your lips are ruby red and the hens are all fed,
We're going to bill and coo tonight,
Buffalo Babe, Buh Buh Buh Buh, Buffalo Babe, Buffalo Baby, be mine tonight".

I swung my hips, tossed my jet black hair and cocked my eyebrow rakishly. All the gals ran up to the stage, smiling and swinging their asses. The band looked surprised and picked up the beat, giving the music a little more gumption, especially the bitter faced guitar player.

"We're going to swing and dance by the barn,
Shoe the horses and hold you in my arms,
Drink corn liquor and kiss you a little quicker,
We're going to bill and coo tonight,
Buffalo Babe, Buh Buh Buh Buh, Buffalo Babe, Buffalo Baby, be mine tonight".

The song ended, I swiveled my hips even harder and all the gals shrieked like a bunch of wild turkeys. The gents applauded with bitter, angry looks on their faces. Jealous bastards. Pete had a shit eating grin on his face, though.

"Crash Walker, everybody!!!" Mayor Randall hollered. "Crash Walker!"
The applause doubled in noise. I tried to jump off the stage but the Mayor held my arm.
"Hold it! Now hold it, son!" he admonished.

"Now, you've only been here for a week but I think I speak for all of us here when I say you're our kind of people. You've made quite an impression on us, especially with that last song. So with that in mind, as Mayor of Jonestown..."
An old biddy in a bonnet handed him a big dingus-looking thing.
"...I am pleased to present you with the key to our fair city!"

Everybody applauded, especially the gals. I looked out at the crowd of people, and noticed the dude who danced with Miss Willa was gone. This big clumsy thing which looked like a melted key was shoved my way. I tried to hold it up and smile but it kept falling out of my hands.

"Would you like to say a few words, Mister Walker?"
"Thank you very much. I'd like to sing some more, Mayor", I mumbled. I turned to the drummer and the bull fiddle player and said, "Do you know 'Campfire'?"
The band picked it up and started playing. I began singing.

"Come on pretty buh baby with me to uh cuh cuh cuh campfire,
Kiss me, roast some nuts and build my duh duh duh desire,
I'll tell you I love you and I'm no luh luh luh liar,
Cuh cuh campfire!"

Once again the lasses bailed from their men and wagged their tails like little pups in front of the stage. The drummer hit a rim shot and I swung my hips to the beat. The gents still looked pretty bugged, except for the band, who now mildly tolerated me.

While I sang the rest of "Campfire" I noticed a passel of wagons riding into the town. Some wagons looked like trailers and some looked it carried banners and all sorts of stuff. I was hoping it wasn't the rodeo Sheriff Frehley talked about the other day. I could bluff my way into singing but I wasn't sure I was ready to ride a bunch of surly bulls.

"Come on pretty buh baby with me to uh cuh cuh cuh campfire,
Kiss me, roast some nuts and build my duh duh duh desire,
I'll tell you I love you and I'm no luh luh luh liar,
Cuh cuh cuh campfire!"

Be sure to get a copy of the complete novel "Wranglers' Canyon" in eBook form to be released in July 2015 by Book Baby. Don't miss it!

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