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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Chapter 6 Trouble in Taos Part 5 - The Conclusion

Those of you that keep track of such things will notice that the time I traditionally post on Mondays and Thursdays will change in the coming weeks. The fine folks at Amalgamated Monster are changing my schedule.
This is the last section of chapter 6 of Trouble in Taos. If you’re the type of person who likes to know what’s going on – check the four posts preceding this one. If you want to know more (or you feel like wasting money,) you can buy the book on Amazon.
Slimy was surprisingly clean. Well, he didn’t have much blood on him anyway.
Slimy was the first to stir. I called to him, but he either didn’t hear me or was thinking about something. I guess he didn’t hear me. It took longer for Father Julio to move. Being a relatively short man saved him, that and the fact that the four dead men were pushin’ him away. Some of the blood was his, though, coming from his forehead.
Two things changed about Father Julio. One, he never heard so well anymore. People who came to his service could sit in the back and still hear his homily, because from that day onward Father Julio was a shouter. He also had a rough dark patch on his forehead.
Each year, sometime between Christmas and Easter, the folks at Saint Frank’s come in to put soot on their forehead. Father Julio looked like that every day of the year.
Claybourne Petree and me worked for a while matching bodies with head parts. They weren’t pretty, but I think we got ’em mostly right. The tallest ugly one didn’t look any worse as a mangled mess than he had in life, so we weren’t all that worried about it. It wasn’t like anybody cared about ’em. They weren’t as rich as Rutherford James, so Father Julio offered to pay us. Maybe he felt responsible ’cause he put Slimy in the casket. I didn’t think that was right, and I was going to refuse the money, but Claybourne took it before I could say no. I gave Claybourne a dirty look, but once the money was in Claybourne’s hands, I made sure to get my part. I guess I’m no more a saint than Claybourne.
If Slimy was troubled by what happened, he never said a word about it. It took him a spell before he stood up, but when he finally did, he looked over himself once and headed out the door without a word. By the time Claybourne and I had the first body together, Slimy’d finished his ditches and was heading for Estevo’s. I caught up with him ’cause I was worried he might shoot Estevo for tellin’ those fellers who shot Rutherford James and where to find him.
Slimy was just there for his glass of water and to tell about that dog that barked one night. He didn’t look any different, smell any different, or act any different.
Well, that’s not completely true. Slimy musta seen me attack those men with my stick. I think it meant somethin’ to him, ’cause he was always nice to me after that.
Too bad that was what killed him.
People keep sending me this video.  I guess they think it's funny so I should share it here - it couldn't be about my writing, could it?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chapter 6 Trouble in Taos Part 4 The Nuggets Fly

Here’s part four of chapter six of Trouble in Taos. This is a longer post because this is the action part of chapter. I once heard someone refer to the action part of the chapter as the nugget. Well, with Slimy, the action part is where people begin to lose their nuggets. If you want to see more nuggets fly, you can get this story on Amazon.
Slimy was good at diggin’ and good at killin’, but I never heard anyone say that he was good at anything else. So I didn’t hold out much hope that he was good at hiding. I didn’t hear gunshots right away, but I figured I would soon. Slimy could hardly miss with those shotguns, but unless his targets stayed in a tight group, I didn’t figure slimy had a chance of killin’ all four.
There was nothing I could do, and the piece of lumber in my hand was pathetic, but still I didn’t drop it as I followed the bad guys into Saint Frank’s.
Saint Frank’s was the biggest building in town unless you count the Pueblo. Unlike the Pueblo, which was a warren of Indian coves, Saint Frank’s was pretty much one large room. I didn’t see anywhere where Slimy might hide, but I also didn’t see Slimy, just Father Julio and the four men standing in front of Rutherford James’s casket.
I am sorry, my sons,” said Father Julio, “but the viewing will not be until tonight.”
The casket was closed, though it had been open before. I could think of only one reason Father Julio was trying to keep those four fellers from opening the casket.
Now, Slimy would never have thought to hide in a casket, but Father Julio was a different type. Priests lived uncommon long for unarmed men wanderin’ in a land where bullets flew like horseflies. Might be the Lord protected them, but I was betting a clever thought or two had something to do with it.
We’re here now, Padre,” said the ugly one, “so the viewing is now.”
Father Julio might be a clever enough fella, but his cunning, wit, or divine inspiration failed him under the pressure. He just stood in front of four armed men twice his size and said in a cracked voice, “I forbid it.”
I can’t blame Father Julio for losing his nerve. After all, he wasn’t much bigger than me, and that’s not big at all. I think he was trying to use the “they believe you when you’re angry” trick I thought I had invented a few minutes before. It didn’t seem to be working for him. Forbid’s not a great word to use with the “they believe you when you’re angry” trick.
When you tell four men, particularly four large men with guns, that you forbid something, unless you have five bigger men with bigger guns backing you up, the only likely effect is that they will want to do the very thing you forbid. They’ll probably want to do that thing even more than before, ’cause nobody wants a scrawny priest telling them what to do.
I know that’s true, ’cause Estevo told me so, and he was a good Catholic. He said it’s even truer of Catholics and nine-year-old boys than other folk, but the Catholics put up with it. 
 Religion, according to Estevo, is all about earning credit for doing things you don’t want do, and not doing things you do want to do. Obeying a scrawny priest you could knock over with one inebriated breath is a good way to get credits, even more if he shouts, “I forbid.” Estevo wasn’t too sure what the credits were for, except maybe heaven, which sounds like a place where nobody does anything they want to do.
Unless they like to play the harp.
I don’t much get religion, but I get what Estevo said about Catholics not wanting to obey scrawny priests. I’m not so sure what the bit about nine-year-old boys was about. It’s been a long time since I was nine, and I never raised any boys of my own.
So Father Julio tried to set his feet, but as I mentioned before, he wasn’t a very big man, and the fellers he was trying to block were pretty good sized. The padre kept his body stiff, but the four men moved him aside like you might a sticky door.
The casket was standing about a foot off the floor on a stand. I’m not sure where that stand came from – I didn’t make it; maybe all the churches have ’em – they’re just high enough so that the edge of the coffin stood at belt height. That is, belt height for me or maybe Father Julio, but considerably shorter than belt-high for these four monsters.
All four men reached down to lift the lid off the casket, and so when they saw Slimy lying there on top of Rutherford James, their hands were full of casket lid instead of something more useful for the situation, like a 45.
I still don’t know what I was doin’, but that’s the moment I decided to charge those bruisers, yellin’ and wavin’ my stick. I might have hit one too. I’d like to think I did, but it probably didn’t make much difference.
They weren’t so gentle with me as they’d been with Father Julio. The biggest one hit me in the chest with his elbow and knocked me back onto my ass.
The goon saved my life.
While the four men were either pushin’ Father Julio, throwing the casket lid, or elbowin’ me out of the way, Slimy was reaching for his shotguns.
I don’t know if Slimy aimed at each individual and unloaded four quick shots, or if he just held his guns apart and fired a single spread. Saint Frank’s has a high hard roof. It’s a precious loud place for gunfire. It sounded like Slimy was firin’ cannons instead of scatterguns.
From my perspective, one moment there were four tall men and one short man standing over a casket, and then the next moment they were all the same height, but only Father Julio still had his head. I sat there on the floor holding my ears, waiting for the boom to stop bouncing off those hard church walls.
When I sat back up, it looked like everyone was dead. The casket was blown back off the stand. Slimy and Rutherford were tangled together behind it. Father Julio was covered in blood from the neck up.

Costner's been in some good movies - but Silvarado is the only one where I liked him.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chapter 6 Trouble in Taos Part 3 Bragging to Bad Guys

This is Part three. If you’re wondering what it’s part three of, then maybe you should stop here and read parts one and two. Or better yet, go to Amazon, buy my story and then buy copies for everyone you know, and half the people you’ve forgotten. It’s coming holiday time, and won’t you feel better making sure a starving writer gets Pop Tarts in his stocking?
Anyway – here’s part three.
If you were looking to spy on anythin’ in Taos, the steeple of Saint Frank’s was the best place to be. Even today it’s the tallest spot in town, and it sits like a mule in the middle of the main road. It sits so stubborn that the road has to split go around it. Even from where we were workin’ I could see all the way down the road to where it became more trail than street.
It was when I saw them four fellas comin’ into town and heading right into the Rosa Linda that it all came together for me. These men were not casual, mid-day drinkers, and Estevo, who knew damn well who killed Rutherford James, was not the type to heroically keep his mouth shut.
I looked over at Slimy with my good eye, and he of course was diggin’ and talkin’ to my bad eye. “So that musta been Raisin, ’cause she was the bitch that whelped Tunny. So it was Tunny that barked, ’cause Raisin was dead by then, when her leg swelled up so bad…”
That barkin’ was so loud that Momma woked up, and Momma never woked much when she was drinkin”.
Slimy looked surprised. I don’t know if he was surprised to be looking at my good eye, which he rarely saw, or he was surprised that I interrupted one of his stories, which I had never done before.
Slimy, you have to go hide.”
There’s four men comin’ to kill ya.”
Slimy didn’t say anything. He balanced his chin on the end of his shovel and took it all in. Slimy was accustomed to violence, but advanced warning was new to him. So was running and hiding.
Go hide in the church,” I said.
Where do I hide in thar?”
Just find someplace.”
Slimy didn’t move at first. He just stood there in his ditch and stared at me. Finally he dropped his shovel.
Alright,” he said, and he climbed out of his ditch and went into the church.

I don’t know if Estevo was holding out or the men were having a beer, but they didn’t come out of the Rosa Linda for nearly an hour. It had me hopin’ I was wrong about ’em, or about Estevo.
I wasn’t. They came straight over to Saint Frank’s. Estevo knew Slimy and me had a job there.
Now, in all these western novels, and I guess this is one too, but I’m hopin’ it’s a bit more truthful than the others…
Where was I?
Oh yeah.
In all those other western novels, the bad guys are always big bruisers. I’d like to tell you that these fellers were little guys, or even just middlin’, ’cause as you might have picked up, I kinda like to be different.
But these guys were monsters. The smallest was half a head taller than me, and he was a fair bit smaller than the ugly one that did all the talkin’.
Maybe if you’re an Indian agent and you plan on selling guns and booze to Indians, you hire the biggest fellers you can find to stand with you.
Anyway, the particularly big and ugly one says to me, “Hey Cock-eyed, are you Beach?”
Nah,” I said, “the name’s Bego. Beach digs the holes, I build the latrines.”
Ain’t that somethin’ to brag on,” said the ugly one. The other fellers laughed. I guess I woulda laughed, too, if it weren’t me that just bragged about building outhouses.
So where’s Beach, Shitbox Man?”
I dunno. He ain’t in his ditch.”
I can see that. Where’d he go?”
Hell,” I said, because I was mad and wanted to hit someone, but these fellers were much too big to mess with, “I told you I don’t know!”
I learned something about lying that day. I’m sure that Father Gonzalez wouldn’t approve me passing it on, and if there are any children reading this, you need to skip over the next couple of lines.
This is what I learned. People don’t believe you when you’re tryin’ to convince ’em, but they will believe you if you sound mad.
The four men stared at me. I did my best to stay mad, because that was just about the scariest moment in my life to that point.
Yeah, alright, Cross-eye,” said the ugly one. I wanted to shout that I was cock-eyed and not cross-eyed, but it sounded too much like my brag about building shit boxes instead of digging them, so I just spit and picked up a scrap of lumber.
The ugly one laughed. “Well boys,” he said, “we better be movin’ on before our little shit-house builder takes to us with his stick.”
They all laughed, but they also left, so I felt a little better. Maybe I scared them some – well, it was a nice thought, anyway.
But I didn’t feel so good when I saw them go into the church.

Love this movie - Little Big Man

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chapter 6 Trouble in Taos Part 2 Spotting Trouble

This is part 2 of… Well, read the title. If you want part 1 here’s the link. You don’t really need it because it’s nothing but nonsense about global warming and aero planes. If you want to buy the book – please do. link
It was hot, but not as hot as it is now. Slimy and me was working together for the first time. As a matter of fact we were at church, but we was workin’, not going there for preaching.
There was a different padre at Saint Frank’s then, Father Julio. I’m not partial to religious men, but Father Julio wasn’t too bad. He was the first living client I had in Taos.
You see, Father Julio admired the coffin I made for Rutherford James and asked me if I’d be insulted workin’ on a couple nice outhouses for behind the church. He had this idea that men and women shouldn’t use the same shitter, so he wanted one for each. He thought I should carve Jesus on the men’s door and Mary on the women’s.
I told him that I didn’t much know what they looked like, so maybe I should carve a devil for the men and an angel for the women.
We finally decided to put hombres and mujeres in fancy letters. I guess Father Julio didn’t much care for devils.
Well, Father Julio wanted a whole new set up, so he hired Slimy to dig two new pits, and while Slimy was diggin’, I was banging together the planks for the walls and frame (I already had the doors done).
Now, Slimy was a peculiar character. I guess you knew that, but one way he was peculiar was the way he dressed. He wore all his clothes, all the time.
It was a hot day, and Slimy was digging a couple ditches, but he was wearing all his clothes, including that oversized duster. Ya gotta figure he was hot as hell in that damn thing, but there he was, digging ditches with his big fool coat on.
He was tellin’ me some story. I only say that because Slimy was always tellin’ me a story, but like usual I wasn’t payin’ any attention. I just kept my bad eye pointed his way as I worked, and that was good enough for him.
It was my good eye that spotted trouble.
A real thinking man might figure that one feller, especially a feller like Rutherford James, couldn’t work all by himself gettin’ all those guns and liquor to so many Indians. It just stood to reason a feller like that had people that worked for him. It also stood to reason that those people might not like a dirt-ditch-digger killin’ the Indian agent that was payin’ them so much money.
It just goes to show that no one at the Rosa Linda was a real thinking man, ’cause even Estevo didn’t think of it, or if he did, he didn’t say anything.

Might be trouble ahead for Slimy and Walter.  Maybe a number 6

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TNT Chapter 6 Part One - Damn it's hot

November is frequently the busiest month of my year, so those of you paying attention (there is help available,) might have noticed that I tend to serialize that month.  This is no exception.  For the next couple weeks, I'll be giving you Chapter 6 of Trouble in Taos buy it here!  Of course I'll be giving it to you in maddeningly little bits cause... that's the way I am.

Chapter Six

Damn, it’s hot.
I know, I live in New Mexico, so I should expect it to be hot, but Taos is usually cooler than Santa Fe – sometimes downright friendly. They tell me it’s the elevation. Taos is up high, closer to God and further from hell.
So how cold is it in heaven? I may not like the heat, but I’ve got no love for freezing cold either. Some preacher would probably say it ain’t freezing, it’s just right, about as just right as just right can be.
How can something be really just right? Either it is just right, or it ain’t. Something that’s just right can’t be less than something that’s more just right.
I’m tempted to go talk to Father Gonzalez about that, but he’d probably just change the subject and talk about my sins and how I ain’t ever been to church.
But damn, it’s hot!
I don’t remember it ever being this hot before. It’s gotta be something new, somthin’ that wasn’t goin’ on before. Somethin’s causin’ it.
I blame the damn aero planes.
If ya think about it, it makes perfect sense. We ain’t supposed to be up in the air. Only birds and angels and shit are supposed to fly. We send up these god-awful planes, bigger than any bird, and probably bigger than any angel too, and stir up the cool air that’s supposed to stay still.
Lindberg crosses the Atlantic, and everybody throws a big party. Then some girl does the same thing, and now people are flying all over the place, stirrin’ up the air. They’re doing fancy tricks and givin’ people rides, and now the whole damn country’s as hot a fry pan. One feller told me we got nothing but dust from Ohio to Colorado.
Nobody blames the damn aero planes – but I do. I figured it out.
Frenchie tells me they got a picture show in Santa Fe that’s always cool inside, like watching a show in an ice box. He says he’ll take me out to see a show there some time.
I don’t care about seein’ movin’ pictures. I saw one once, and it wasn’t much, but I sure would like to see the pile of ice they use to keep a whole theater cool.
That would be somethin’.
I’d read ya more of that Slimy book, but it’s too damn hot to read, and I ain’t finished tellin’ you about what happened after Slimy shot Rutherford James. You remember that Colmes wrote how Slimy killed six men with five shots? Well, it was five men with five loads, and like I said, it happened in two parts.

Damn, I didn’t need to tell you that; you read how he killed Rutherford James, and there wasn’t more than one dead body. I shouldn’t have to tell you that the other four came later.

Some have remarked that I needent have been so violent and graphic in my little story about a gunfighter(????)  For those people, I recommend The Warrior's Way IMDb  I consider it Kate Bosworth's finest work.  Of course, she's not in this scene.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tee Shirts - Celebrating Seniority

Back when I was a freshman - I envied the seniors - till I was one and realized the free ride was almost over.
I guess that was a bit of a dress rehearsal for the real thing.  But no matter our concerns, we can still wear our neurosis-es on our chests.
Many start with that that time honored phrase...
I forget - What did getting lucky used to... Wait, oh, yeah.
Sometimes I can do that.  It all Depends...
Things look so much clearer after four or five
Wouldn't that be ironic?
Sometimes you just have to stay there and play with the dust bunnies
Feelin' it George.
I'm still searching for that second entendre.
Here's one in reverse
And speaking of respect
I did have a calculator - I could make it say hello upside down!
It's an artform.  I'm an artist.
Not what I had in mind
But getting older has its good side
Thank God!
But now I don't want to be...
Blessed nostalgia
But in spite of all the years - and all the stuff I've learned.  The first lesson was the best.

Remember when this was funny?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Memory Tom Magliozzi

For those of you without an elder sibling to introduce you to the finer things in life, might not be aware of Tom Magliozzi, AKA Clack Tappet, and his brother Ray (AKA Click.) For decades they did a show – Car Talk - on national public radio that was ostensibly (a word I’ve always wanted to use – sure hope it means what I think it means,) about car maintenance and repair.
What it was really about was nonsense.

Ray’s job included fielding calls, answering questions competently, finding new ways to make their phone number confusing, compose puzzler questions and clever plays on words, and to keep the show moving.
Tom’s job was to goof off – which he did very well indeed.

Thankfully their shows are archived and available for future generations or the genetically mutated cockroaches that take over the planet. The site is I don’t know how that translates in cockroach.

Part of the charm of the show was that Click and Clack relished being slammed by their listeners. And so, as a way of eulogizing Tom (Clack) Magliozzi here is my final slam of Car Talk to the tune of Under the Boardwalk.

Tune into Car Talk
lyrics by Headley Hauser
To the tune of Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters

Oh when you’re so bored, you’d climb the walls to the roof
And your brain is so fried; you’d listen to the stupidest goof
Tune into Car Talk, Listen for Free-hee-hee
And where no one can hear it, that’s where I’ll be.

(Tune into Car Talk) On radio or phone
(Tune into Car Talk) And you’ll be all alone
(Tune into Car Talk) Don’t need to be aware
(Tune into Car Talk) Cause there’ll be no one there
Tune into Car Talk – Car Talk!

From outside you hear the happy sound of normal folk
Mmm and you’re wishin’ for a laugh from a truly funny joke
Tune into Car Talk, It won’t ever be, yeah
Cause funny don’t happen, on ninety-eight point three

(Tune into Car Talk) Hear them make a gaff
(Tune into Car Talk) And then hear Tommy laugh
(Tune into Car Talk) Bad for you and your car
(Tune into Car Talk) And worse for NPR
Tune into Car Talk – Car Talk!

Tune into Car Talk – And then eat some brie, yeah
And the men in the white coats, they won’t let you free

(Tune into Car Talk) Listen to Tom and Ray
(Tune into Car Talk) And you’ll be sent away
(Tune into Car Talk) Believe in Click and Clack
(Tune into Car Talk) And you’ll never get back
Tune into Car Talk – Car Talk!

Thank you, Tom for a lifetime of goofs and bad car advice. Here’s hoping you find your beloved Dodge Dart in that better place.