So here we are on the last installment of Chapter 7 or Trouble in Taos: Batwings and Strangers. It’s also the time to announce the winner of the Nine (should be eight) Missing Words Contest.
And the winner is: Pulchritudina Gobsmacker (I didn’t dare ask if that was made up,) from a town in the continental US other than Maynard, Massachusetts. Pulchritudina will receive a genuine Trouble in Taos coffee cup, along with the heartiest congratulations from Walter Bego, Editor-in-chief of Go Figure Reads. (Big deal…)
Remember, Pulchritudina – Mr. Pibb – not recommended.
And now the conclusion of Batwings and Strangers:
Batwings and Strangers Part six
Neither dead man had much money on him. After losing his brand new doors and a musician that might have been worth a fortune in new business, Estevo was in no mood to offer a bottle to the house, and none of us had the heart to ask. We just sat there drinking mud, a little sadder than we’d been before.
Jacques took a penny pencil from his pocket and started scribbling words on the bar. Estevo made a motion as if to tell Jacques not to do that, but then looked over at his doors and the two dead bodies and shrugged.
Claybourne arrived long before the sheriff, but later than he usually did. Maybe his sense of the dead was directly proportional to the amount of money the corpses had on them. The stranger that might have been Ernest Felthousen had a fancy two-gun rig, a horse, and saddle. If Lowell had a horse, we never saw it. Maybe he walked into town. The only things he had of value were the hundreds of songs he knew and his guitar.
Claybourne kept the guitar. It hung in his furniture store for years until someone told Claybourne that the dryness had ruined it. Claybourne cut it up and used the pieces of inlay on a fancy dresser.
Claybourne also took the fancy guns, but gave me the horse and saddle for my work on the coffins. It was a generous thing for him to do. The horse was worth more than all the rest combined.
We all puzzled for years on what might be the rest of the song. We asked every stranger that came into the Rosa Linda if he knew it. Jacques tried a few verses of his own composition, but they didn’t sound right. It wasn’t ’til about ten years back when the circus came through Santa Fe that I ran into someone who knew it.
She was the tattooed lady with the show, and she’d been raised at sea, which was where she got her first tattoos.
Let’s see, I already told you the line, “She may be small for eight tons she be.”
Ah hell, no one cares about good music any more. Go listen to your damn Cole Porter.
I think this is one Cole Porter song that Walt might have liked
Yup – I left it a mystery in the book, and a few people even said that there were no more words to the song. A few others had close guesses, but only Pulchritudina had the perfect answer to the Nine (should be eight) Missing Words.
She may be small for eight tons, she be
But a prettier light house you never did see
And the crew roared, “OH NO!”
Move the mighty ship – we gotta get out of the way!