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Monday, October 14, 2013

Trouble in Taos: Bat wings and strangers Part One

In conjunction with the NINE MISSING WORDS contest link, Just Plain Stupid presents part one of Trouble in Taos, Chapter Seven: Bat wings and strangers. For those following the NINE MISSING WORDS contest, I’ve gotten guesses already, but not all of them addressed to, nor do all include a mailing address in the continental US (Maynard, Massachusetts – not included.) Two of the nine missing words can be (maybe should be) combined to form a compound word. Here is the scrambled letters for word 3 – TRIPTREE.

Chapter Seven

Beach was a man of compassion, a protector of the innocent, a defender of the helpless. Those who victimized the good people of Taos rarely lived long enough to regret it. Slimy Beach, the great guardian of the little people, let no act of villainy pass without swift retribution in the manifestation of his avenging six guns. Even Lowell Sparger, a simple drifter, was under the mighty hero’s protective wing. Ernest Felthousen, the feared cattleman’s hired killer, shot Sparger while he was innocently playing a guitar for church children. Slimy Beach evened the score by shooting the speedy Felthousen. Felthousen drew on Beach before the hero even knew his peril, but Slimy Beach, with the power of righteousness in his veins, shot faster and truer, ending Felthousen’s villainy and bringing him to God’s seat of judgment.

W. G. C. R. Colmes, Slimy Beach, the Tornado of Taos, p. 65

They’ve got entertainment in the restaurant now. “The Hotel La Fonda proudly presents the Highlands Heartbreakers.” The Highlands Heartbreakers were three college students from Santa Fe dressed up like Juarez pimps.

What a pile of horse shit. Music is just pathetic these days. It’s all love ballads by momma’s boys like Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. I don’t mind a ballad once in a while, but how many ways can they rewrite “Down in the Valley?” It was all those damn crooners in the ’90s that ruined it.

When I was still living in New York in the ’60s, we had Gilbert and Sullivan and songs like “Little Brown Jug” and “The Man on the Flying Trapeze.” Then we had a buncha songs that made fun of the Irish and even more that made fun of the Chinese – ya know, interesting songs. At least people didn’t go around moon-eyed all the time.

I just don’t know what’s wrong with people these days.

Of course, I got out of touch with the music scene when I headed west. Most of the campfire evenings on the trail were taken over by tree-stump preachers. Once you got past the Mississippi, it was hard to hear any music other than hymns and evangelistic songs.

I never cared much for the stuff. I don’t think most people cared for it. Maybe the mules liked it, ’cause it was everywhere we went. I went through prairie towns where a man could spend a night in jail for singing “Home on the Range” or for playing an instrument other than a church organ. Some towns didn’t even allow the organs.

Good folk are raised to fear what gamblers, koochy girls, and gunslingers will do to their communities. Well, I’m here to tell you I’ve seen men of God that were more destructive and terrorizing than any card shark, whore, or murderer, not to mention harder on the ears.

The trail just squeezed good music out of a body so that you could hardly remember a decent drinkin’ tune by the time you got to the Rockies. The only songs they knew at the Rosa Linda were “Dixie,” “Tenting Tonight,” and “Green Grow the Rushes Ho.” Jacques de Tiwa claimed to know “Frère Jacques,” and he did a fair imitation of French words, but I’d heard the song enough in New York. I don’t know if he was using real French words, but he wasn’t singing “Frère Jacques.”

When a man has a drink or two, he likes to have a song. We regulars at the Rosa Linda got pretty tired of the same four songs, and we were damned if we was goin’ to croon “Ave Maria” while we swilled our mud.

You think the move west didn't mess up music?