THE TABLE OF MALCONTENTS 6/8/2013

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2010

1.  GABRIELLA

2.  Where_the_Hours_Clanged_and_Fell

3.  Kenny_in_the_Crosswinds

4.  OLLA_PODRIDA

5.  HAIKU_THE_CAT

6.  LIVING IT DOWN

7.  OWED_TO_A_CIGARETTE

8.  EVERY_REVOLUTIONARY_KNOWS

9.  Dr._Seuss_and_Dos_Equis

10.   REQUIEM_FOR_THOSE_WE_SHELTER

11.  THE_WEDDING_OF_GRANT_AND_MICHELLE

12.  PAPA_GOOSE_-_”Rabbit,_Monkey,_and_Little_Girl”

13. HAIKU_THE_SPIDER

14. HAIKU_THE_THOUGHT_LEADER

15.  aDVISe_FrOM_A_fRIEnD

16.  PAPA_GOOSE_-_”Under_the_Stove”

17.  THE_REVEREND_O.L._DUCK_SONGBOOK,_VOL._I

18.  SEX_OBJECT

19.  ELEGY_FOR_OUR_CAT_RONCHO

20.  TRAVIS_HAS_COME

21.  THE_REVEREND_O.L._DUCK_SONGBOOK,_VOL._II

22.  VISIONS_OF_THE_GONE

23.  ON_THE_DEATH_OF_JOHN_LENNON

24.  THE_BALLAD_OF_HARRY_PALMS

 

2011

25.  THE_GRASSHOPPER_IN_WINTER

26.  HAIKU_THE_LOVE_ZOMBIE

27.  HAIKU_LE_SACRÉ_BLEU

28.  PAPA_GOOSE_-_”TWO_BLACK_SHEEP”

29.  BETWEEN_THE_LETTERS

30.  CRUZAR_MI_CORAZÓN

31.  The_Lickitty_Splitz

32.  Nothing Rhymes with Month, Silver, Orange or Purple

33.  ONE_LAST_LEAF_IN_WINTER_SKY

34.  HAIKU_CONVALESCENT_HOME

35.  HAIKU_THE_SINNER’S_HYMN

36.  THE_CATALINA_VARIATIONS

37.  HAIKU_MOON_IN_THE_YOUNG_EARTH

38.  HAIKU_THESE_THREE_THINGS_I_KNOW

39.  BOLSA_CHICA

40.  I_REMEMBER_TOMORROW

41.  We_met_in_the_4th_grade

42.  THE_AUTHOR_OF_OUR_FATE

43. THE_RAINBOW_BEHIND_US

44.  tHe_pUnK_cRitiC’s_NotEbOOK

45.  MY_FAMILY_TREE

46.  GENEVIEVE

47.  PRIVATE_COMPARTMENTS

48.  Professor_LeJeune’s_Substitute

49.  ME MORIA

50.  JACK_THE_HACK

51.   ABJECTISM

52.  HOW_WAS_YOUR_DAY,_DANNY?

53.  THE_TANGO_LESSON

54.  PAPA_GOOSE – “The_Wolf_Who_Cried_Boy”

55.  A_YOUNG_WIVES’_TALE_-_”Suzie’s_Bullet”

56.  LAZARUS_AGONISTES

57.  PAPA_GOOSE_-_”El_Burro_Viejo_(The_Old_Burro)”

58.  SCRABBLE_THE_MUDDY_COBBLES

59.  OH_BELOVED

60.  A_YOUNG_WIVES’_TALE_-_”Palmdale”

61.  THE_HARD

62.  The_Diary_of_My_Mentally_Ill_Brother

63.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_1_&_2

64.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_3,_4,_&_5

65.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapter_6

66.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapter_7

67.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapter_8

68.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_9_&_10

69.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_11_&_12

70.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_13_&_14

71.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_15_&_16

72.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_17_&_18

73.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_19_&_20

74.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_21_&_22

75.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapters_23_&_24

76.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapter_25

77.  Servant_Of_The_Scorpion_-_Chapter_26

78.  The OS Wednesday Fiction Club for 8/3/11 – CLOSING TIME

79.  The OS Wednesday Fiction Club for 8/10/11 – CONTROLLED BURN

80.  OS Fiction Weekend Club for September 2-4 – JOURNEES INDESIRABLES

81.  WhisperYour Name Into My Heart – Chapitre II –DANS LA FORÊT DE VIEUX HOMMES

82.   OS Fiction Weekend Club for September 9 – 11 – A TOWN CALLED BAD WEATHER

83.  The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE INDISCRETIONS OF KATE GRODY

84.  Whisper Your Name Into My Heart – Chapitre III – COUPS DE LA QUEUE DU DEMON

85.  OS Fiction Weekend Club for September 16 – 18 – The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE ONE BAD HABIT OF REX RAMSEY

86.  OS Fiction Weeked Club for September 23 -25 – Whisper Your Name Into My Heart – Chapitre IV – CHANSON

87.  OS Weekend Fiction Club for 9/30/11 to 10/2/11 – THE POUNDING OF NAILS

88.  OS Weekend Fiction Club for 10/7-9/11: A PIANO IN THE WOODS

89.  Whisper Your Name Into My Heart – Chapitre V – LE GRAND GUERRIER

90.  The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE DUNBAR, AUSTIN, & TAYLOR SECURITY COMPANY

91.  OS Weekend Fiction Club for 10/14 – 16/11 – MISS GAIDO

92.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club 10/21-23/11 ~HIDING OF THE FACE

 93.  Whisper Your Name Into My Heart – Chapitre VI – LE TREIZIÈME MOINE

 94.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club 10/28-30/11 ~JUST GHOST TO SHOW YOU

95.  THE CUTTERS LOUNGE

96.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 11/4-6/11 ~ THE EARTH ALSO MOVES

97.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 11/11-13/11 ~ THE COUNSEL OF FEARS

98.  Whisper Your Name Into My Heart – Chapitre VII – LES ACOLYTES

99.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 11/18-20/11 ~ VENGEANCE IS MINE

100.  The Outlaw Honey Moses and JUBILEE DUNBAR

101.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 11/25-27/11 ~ LA SCIENCE DE GUEULE

102.  Servant Of The Scorpion – Chapter 27 – Mateo, Marcos, Lucas, and Juan

103.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 12/2-4/11 ~ THE TWO FIGURINES

104.  The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE PASSOVER BANK

105.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 12/9-11/11 ~ THE CUTTERS LOUNGE – CARLA

106.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 12/16-18/11 ~ EUPHORANASIA

107.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 12/23-25/11 ~ INFINITELY BLUE

108.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for NeW yEaR*s 2012*THE END OF YEARS

 

2012

109.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 1/6-8/12 ~ VAN DIEMAN’S LAND

110.  Whisper Your Name Into My Heart – Chapitre IX – LES VOIES D’HOMMES (The Ways of Men)

111.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 1/13-15/12 ~ A YOUNG WIVES’ TALE: LORELLA SHIEKH

112.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 1/20-22/12 ~ THE NARROW WOODS

113.  The Outlaw Honey Moses and THE DOG NAMED PUSSY

114.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 1/27-29/12 ~ ALAMOUD THE GOAT

115.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 2/3-5/12 ~ I JUST FELT LIKE IT

116.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 2/10-12/12 ~ MAN AND WOMAN DROWNING

117.   Whisper Your Name Into My Heart ~ Chapitre X – LA CHANSON DE LA MÈRE D’ESPRIT (Song of The Spirit Mother)

118.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 2/17-19/12 ~ SEE SPOT READ

119.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 2/24-26/12 ~ TOUCHING

120.  THE CRUISE

121.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 3/2-4/12 ~ THE CUTTERS LOUNGE ~ THE SILVER STOGIE AWARD

122.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 3/9-11/12 ~ HEY THERE LONELY GIRL

123.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 3/16-18/12 ~ ANNA SYBILLA

124.  Servant of the Scorpion – Chapter 28 ~ ARMS OF FIRE

125.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 3/23-25/12 ~ COME APART

126.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 3/30-4/1/12 ~ THE RAGGED CLAWS OF MICHELA PIATTA

127.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 4/6-8/12 ~ UNDERGROWTH WITH TWO FIGURES

128.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 4/13-15/12 ~ ANGEL FALLS

129.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 4/20-22/12 ~ DUST AND DREAMS

130.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 4/27-29/12 ~ COLD, HUNGRY, NAKED, WET

131.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 5/4-6/12 ~ LAMBA RISING

132.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 5/11-13/12 ~ THE BEAST OF TIN CAN BEACH

133.   The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 5/18-20/12 ~ WALK THE YARD

134.   The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 5/25-27/12 ~ TWILIGHT IN PARIS

135.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 6/1-2/12 ~ FLASH DRIVE

136.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 6/8-10/12 ~ DINNER WITH MY MENTALLY ILL BROTHER

137.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 6/15-17/12 ~ DADDY’S DOLL HOUSE

138.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 6/22-24/12 ~ CROSS COUNTRY

139.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 6/29 – 7/1/2012 ~ CEVICHE

140.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 7/6-8/12 ~ ORCHARD OF THE GOLDEN APPLES

141.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 7/13 – 15/2012 ~ You are HERE

142.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 7/20-22/12 ~ HUNTING FOR YOUR SKIN

143.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 7/27-29/12 ~ I HAVE NEVER BEEN

144.  STALKING EMMA STONE

145.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 8/3-5/12 ~ SPESHUL OLYMPICS

146.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 8/10-12/12 ~ The Cutters Lounge – A REALITY TOO FAR

147.  THE LAST SONGBIRD

148.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 8/17-19/12 ~ APPOGGIATURA

149.  The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 8/24-26/12 ~ POLARITY (TOO OLD TO POLE)

150. The OS Fiction Weekend Club for 8/31-9/2/12 ~ WORD TO THE WISE

151.  IMPERFECT PEBBLES

152.  OS Fiction Weekend for 9/28-30/12 ~ ROLLING THUNDER

153.  OS Fiction Weekend for 10/5-7/12 ~ THE EDEN REUNION

154.  OS Fiction Weekend for 10/12-14/12 ~ SMALL TALK

155.  OS Fiction Weekend for 10/19-21/12 ~  CHÂTEAU DE CHATS

156.  DRAGGL

 

Cleek -à>>>pequeña publicita<<<

 

 

157.  OS Fiction Weekend for 10/26-28/12 ~ OUT OF SERVICE

158.  OS Fiction Week for 10/31-11/4/2012 ~ THE GRAVES OF LOUIS GAROU

159.  DANCING WITH THE BLACK BULL

160.  THE PILLARS OF HEAVEN

161.  AMISH MASH

162.  THE GRIMPILS FARM

163.  EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND (Chapter 1)

164.  THE GOLDEN RULE CLUB

165.  CAPTAIN CATERPILLAR

166.  (Farewell when OS failed) LOVE TO YOU ALL, MY SISTERS AND BROTHERS

167.  OUT OF THE PARK

168.  EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND (Chapter 2)

169.   SAVING JESUS

 170.  EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND (Chapter 3)

 

 

 2013

 171. A TRACE OF MAN

 172.  PATOFLAUTA

 173.  Goodies On Demand

 174.  THE TEMPEST LOUNGE

 175.  ECCLESIASTES 20:13

 176.  BAREFOOT IN THE PARKING LOT

177.  FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND DEBT COLLECTORS

178.  MOOD SWINGS

179.  ADOLPH MEISTERMANN (Carl Reiner Writers’ Contest Entry)

180.  THE END OF THE HOUR (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

181.  THE BAD BOY BLUES (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

182.  LAUGH THROUGH TEARS AGAINST HIS WILL (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

183.  GOD COUNTS HER TEARS (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

184.  CITIES OF REFUGE (excerpt from Adolph Meistermann)

185.  SOCRATES DIED TODAY

186.  IN THE TEMPLE OF THREE ANTE MERIDIEM

187.  PASS BY THE MINUTE

188.  THE UNICORN’S BLESSING

189.  MACK COBB “THE ARROYO OF THE SOMBRA OF DEATH”

190.  The Apples of My Eyes

191.  MACK COBB “THE BONES OF THE RIVER”

192.  THE PEARL IN MY OYSTER

193.  ETHANAC, MARGARTH, AND THEDA

194.  MACK COBB “DONKEY JÓTE”

195.  Whispers In My Left Ear

196.  HUNTING THE CLEAN BOOTY

197.  DIARY OF A BRINE SHRIMP

198.  MANIFESTOLES

199.  I’M A GUY

200.  BRÛLÉE

201.  GIN FLY

202. THE JERRY SLITHER SHOW!

 

 

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MACK COBB “DONKEY JÓTE”

mack cobb 1 again

MACK COBB

Chapter 3

Donkey Jóte

        Sunrise trickles molten gold upon the rim of the rolling horizon.

        Scott opens his eyes and stares upward at the roof of the SUV from under the sleeping bag which is spread over him and Carolyn on the reclining front seats.  Only half-awake under the blanket of the previous night’s tequila he can hear Carolyn softly breathing in the passenger seat to his right.  Scott turns his head to the left and he cries out, “Gah!”

        Outside the SUV Mack is leaning down with his face at the driver’s side window and he laughs, “There was a coyote out here listening to you snore.  You sound like a hen house.”

        Scott sits upright and Carolyn writhes awake reluctantly.  Scott exhales with relief and a patina of condensation glazes the inside of the windshield briefly and then dissipates.

        Mack stands back erect and looks down the hillside and says, “Our transportation is coming.”

        Scott struggles out the car door.  Dawn is bleaching the sky.  Glum with remaining sleep Scott silently follows Mack’s gaze down the hill.  The rolling hills are still brooding with the remaining crepusculum but in the bleaching sky Scott notices a slowly circling buzzard.  Scott smacks and licks the sleep membrane from his dry lips and juts his chin and mumbles, “Can he carry us all?”

        Mack points below the buzzard to the crotch of the hills.  The zipper of the dirt road is discernable now under the slow crescendo of dawn.  Scott squints and he believes he can see a moving figure.  Two figures.  A horse? and…No… A donkey and a person.  Now a dog can be discerned running ahead of the two.  Scott asks, “Who the hell are they?”

        Carolyn emerges from the SUV and walks over to Mack and Scott as she is hugging herself to wring out sleep.  She asks quietly, “What are we looking at?”

        Carolyn notices the slowly circling buzzard and asks, “Is something dying?”

        Mack replies, “Everything alive.”

        Scott puckers his face and says to Mack, “Come on now,” as he hugs Carolyn reassuringly and kisses the top of her head.  Carolyn smiles.

        Mack raises a cell phone to his ear.

        Scott is surprised and asks, “You have a cell phone?  How do you charge it?”

        Mack replies, “I called you didn’t I?” and then Mack points to the roof of the house trailer and answers distractedly, “Solar panels.”

        Then Mack speaks in Spanish into the cell phone and a brief one-sided conversation is heard by Scott and Carolyn.  Mack puts the cell phone into his shirt pocket and says, “Everything is according to plan.”

        Scott asks, “Who were you calling?”

        Mack replies, “Our transportation down there below.  The donkey says ‘Hi’.”

        Carolyn asks, “Donkey?” and she finally notices the trio of tiny figures advancing up the dirt road.

        Carolyn looks up at Scott and asks, “Are we going to ride a donkey?”

        Mack answers saying, “We’re going to ride our feet.  The donkey will carry the gear.  You don’t drive down to The Sombra Arroyo.”

        The three of them watch the approaching figures for awhile in silence.  The Scott shakes his head and says, “I’m falling asleep again standing here.  Mack, can we make some coffee?”

        Mack shrugs and says, “Good as made, dahrlin’,” and then he turns back to the trailer and Scott and Carolyn follow arm-in-arm.

        Inside the house trailer Mack scoops spoonfuls of powdered coffee into three disparate mugs and he says, “Don’t be afraid to tip your barista this morning.  What will it be?  OK, Megadlia D’oro instant espresso coffee it is.  Megadlia D’oro is Italian for ‘Gold Medal’,” then Mack says quietly, “It’s also the name of a horse, a thoroughbred race horse.”

        Scott and Carolyn both glance over to the skeleton head of Mack’s horse Lenore on the wall of the house trailer.

        Carolyn asks, “Any relation to… Lenore?”

        Mack places the cups into the microwave oven which he reveals up in the kitchen cabinet and he pushes the buttons and the oven hums.  Mack grins and says, “Always sounds like a hive of electric bees,” then he answers Carolyn’s question saying, “Yeah, Lenore she was a foal of the horse Super Espresso and a granddaughter to Medaglia D’Oro.

        Scott says, “Funny.  I mean, not about Lenore.  The coffee.”

        Scott is saved by the bell as the microwave signals the passing of three minutes.  Mack asks, “French Vanilla cream?”

        Carolyn replies, “I love French Vanilla.”

        Mack takes three plastic cuplets of French Vanilla individual servings from a small blue box and one by one peels the lids back and pours the dollop of cream into each cup.  Mack then says, “Swirl it.  I only got a couple plastic spoons left.”

        The coffee is especially gratifying as it floods through the tequila arroyos left in their throats from the night before, and then it plunges into their shrunken stomachs, and then it expands outward to inflate their eyes.

        Mack observes, “Consciousness in a cup.”

        Scott sips murmuring, “I never drank coffee until I was studying for my first college finals.  You know, the vending machine coffee in the food court?”

        Mack sips muttering in reply, “Grounds for expulsion.”

        Carolyn says, “Thank you, Mack.  I like this coffee.  It even has foam like real espresso.”

        Scott raises his mug in a feeble toast saying, “Yes, thanks.”

        After a unanimous second round of coffee the three of them stroll back outside to watch their ‘transportation’ approaching.  As they watch the steady ascent of the donkey, the person, and the dog, their eyes rise time and again to the buzzard still circling and apparently following the ascending trio.

        Mack begins to narrate, “I met this tough little Mexican runaway in town.  Calls herself ‘Valia’.  She works odd jobs at the surrounding homesteads.  Folks in Zelma have goats, chickens, cows, pigs, horses.  They think they’re still in Mexico.  I guess they are in a way:  half of them are here illegally.  I made a deal with her.  I have an account with the Zelma Groceries and Supplies.  I call down a list and the kid sees that the stuff gets up to me.”

        Scott asks, “She has a donkey?”

        Mack nods, “A donkey.”

        Carolyn starts to ask, “How…?”

        Scott prompts impatiently, “How?”

        Mack grins because he knew their curiosity would be piqued and he says, “Valia found the donkey.  The poor donkey had been left to fend for himself on an abandoned homestead that was fenced-in.  He was starving.  Valia told the Zelma grocer and he had a bale of alfalfa dropped at the homestead.  Had to cut the fence.  The way the grocer tells it Valia stayed in the abandoned house and probably ate alfalfa with the donkey,” and Mack snorted. “She named the donkey ‘Polvo’ which is Spanish for ‘dust’.  Kinda cute, eh?”

        Carolyn sighed, “Oh, that is sweet.  Valia doesn’t still stay in that abandoned house does she?”

        Mack rubbed his neck, “Yup.”

        Scott asked, “What about the dog?”

        Mack replied, “Well one day the dog showed up at the abandoned house and ‘adopted’ Valia and Polvo.  Valia would beg dog food from the grocer.  But I finally set up an allowance for Valia at the Zelma Groceries and Supplies.

        Carolyn cooed, “Oh, you are so sweet.  That was so nice.”

        Mack looked at Scott and asked, “Well?”

        Scott said, “Yeah, yeah.  You’re so sweet.”

        Mack grinned and said, “Thanks, but I’m still waiting for you to ask.”

        Scott narrowed his eyes, “Ask what?”

        Mack shook his head in mock disappointment and said, “The buzzard.”

        Carolyn gasped, “Don’t tell me…?”

        Mack replied, “I will tell you.  The homestead next to Valia’s abandoned place was chopping down Eucalyptus trees and a buzzard’s nest fell out.  They put the baby buzzard into a bucket and they took it to Valia.  Can you believe it?  Valia was getting a reputation as a little bruja, that is, a little witch.”

        Carolyn asked, “What happened?”

        Mack replied, “Well, the buzzard lived.  And I did some research: orphan buzzard babies almost never survive.  Even with pros treating them.  So go figure.”

        Scott asked skeptically, “Don’t buzzard babies need their parents to learn how to be buzzards?”

        Mack replied, “Yup.  The buzzard needs other buzzards to learn how to be a buzzard.  Just like you.  Need your own kind, that is,” grinned Mack.  Mack continued, “That buzzard you’re lookin’ at can’t or won’t hunt like a normal buzzard.  He depends on Valia for food.”

        Carolyn said in awe, “Whohhh, she is a witch, I mean a bruja.  A good bruja.”

        Mack concluded, “Yeah, Valia is something else.  I call her ‘Donkey Jóte’ as a joke.  Jote means ‘buzzard’.  I’m not sure she gets the joke but she always giggles.  And her dog is a young female pit-bull I call ‘Dulcinea’, get it?”

        Scott smiles wryly, “Very clever, we get it.”

        Mack continues, “Also because she is so dulce, sweet, Dulcinea.”

        Scott rolls his eyes, “Got it.”

        Carolyn asks, “Doe the buzzard have a name?”

        Mack replies, “I wanted her to name him ‘Destino’, means ‘Fate’, but Valia had already named him Abrazo, ‘Hug’, because she always hugged him to her face when he was an infant.”

        And so Mack, Scott, and Carolyn watch with renewed focus the symbiotic organism comprised of the orphan girl Valia, the donkey Polvo, the dog Dulcinea, and the buzzard Abrazo as it ascends up the trail to them upon Mount Zelma.

To be continued

Previously: THE BONES OF THE RIVER

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MACK COBB “THE BONES OF THE RIVER”

   mack cobb 1 again

MACK COBB

Chapter 2

The Bones of the River

        Mack intones in mock melodrama, “The Arroyo of the Sombra of Death.”

        Scott and Carolyn look at each other and Scott rolls his eyes.  He then turns back to Mack and says, “I didn’t see your vehicle.”

        Mack grins and says, “Oh, it will be here tomorrow.”

        Scott pleads, saying, “Well, Mack, our SUV can’t make the drop to The Sombra Arroyo.  You told me on the phone that you would arrange transportation,” and then Scott asks, “Is your mechanic bringing it back or something?”

        Mack answers, grinning tighter and saying, “Yeah, ‘or something’.”

        Scott is feeling a little exasperated at this character Mack and he asks him, “Then what do we do now?”

        Mack shrugs and replies, “Live and breath.”

        Scott deduces, asking, “So we’re going to spend the night up here tonight?”

        Mack imitates a dead-pan clerk and replies, “Well, you do have a reservation don’t you?”

        Scott finally joins the ribbing, saying, “The Triple-A guy did give you a One Diamond Rating.”

        Mack concurs, saying, “A diamond in the rough, yes?” and then he starts to lecture, asking rhetorically, “Do you know that Mexican scientists have devised a new method for manufacturing synthetic diamonds using tequila?  The University of Nueva Leon, Mexico, found that the drink produces crystal diamond structures when heated”

        Scott raises one eyebrow, saying, “Oooo-Kayy.”

        Mack turns to Carolyn and offers, “So, would you like some Romance?”

        Carolyn giggles and Scott says, “Whoa.”

        Mack frowns humorously at Scott and says, “Milagro Tequila Romance, of course.”

        Scott puckers and waves his hand saying, “I don’t like tequila.”

        Mack says, “You have never tasted it.  They don’t have this at your Taco Joe’s on campus,” as he proceeds to the kitchen cabinet and takes out a bottle with an extra spout coming from its shoulder.

        Scott puffs, saying, “It looks like a bong,” and then says, “So I’ve seen in pictures.”

        Mack holds up the bottle and says, “This, my tequila-challenged friend, is Milagro Tequila Romance, the bottle is hand-blown with three inner chambers suspended inside.  The three inner chambers represent the three years of its aging.  The outermost bottle is filled with tequila ‘rested’ in oak barrels for nine months.”

        Carolyn says, “I’d like some, please.”

        Scott looks down at her and grins, teasing, “Well, well, señorita, do you come to this place often?”

        Mack says, “Bring your tea cups ladies and let’s go sit by the fire.”

        It is still warm outside but the lowering sun spreads blankets of shadow on the rolling hills.  Mack walks Scott and Caroyln outside to a little red-brick beehive-shaped oven with an open mouth.  Facing the oven are four wobbly wooden chairs as different as snowflakes, and Mack says, “That is to say, if there were such things as snowflakes here.  Maybe every hundred years or so.”

        Mack builds a fire in the open mouth of the conical little oven using among other wood, Eucalyptus branches, saying, “Clears the sinuses.”

        While the stars emerge early without being shouted down by city lights, Mack, Scott, and Carolyn romance the tequila, watching the fire burlesque as they ride upon the chairs that sway like burros, traveling in equilibrium toward the constellation Leo and Mack spouts, “At 390 kilometers per second,” and then Mack toasts, saying, “To Equal Inebrium!”

        Scott finds himself thinking out loud, “I googled satellite images of The Sombra Arroyo.  Even satellite pictures are obscure, the way the hills surround The Sombra its always in shadow.  You only get a hint of the dry river bed.”

        Mack announces, “The bones of the river!”

        Carolyn has a tequila-enhanced flashback to the collection of skulls upon Mack’s house trailer wall.  She hunches with a chill in that warm night.

        Scott has a tequila-epic fantasy about finding the skeletons of Mexican soldiers, plotting them like the Custer battlefield in Richard Allan Fox, Jr.’s groundbreaking work.  He imagines appearing with Fox in a PBS special and then he imagines becoming a tenured History Professor and then he chuckles, saying, “Having made my bones.”

        Carolyn startled asks, “What?”

        Mack raises his cup and toasts, saying, “To making our bones!”

        Carolyn shudders, asking, “What?”

        But the tequila train rolls quickly onward to new destinations of memory milestones, emotional habitats, and sexual limbo.

        When the constellation Orion has begun to hunt above the hills of the western horizon, Mack uncoils erect like a charmed cobra swaying and he then waves a silent good-night to Scott and Carolyn.

        Scott calls after him, “Don’t worry about us.  We’ll sleep in the SUV.”

        Mack waves to the stars without turning back around and says, “Sleep tight in your SOB.”

        Scott and Carolyn arise and stumble together past the house trailer back to the SUV, Scott trying to mimick Mack by saying, “Like back-to-back Siamese twins.”

        Mack laughs from inside the house trailer, saying, “Not Politically Correct!  Rachipagus conjoined twins!”

        Inside their SUV in the front seats Scott and Carolyn pull an opened sleeping bag over themselves like a comforter and adjust their seats flat backwards.

        Carolyn in fading tequila illumination asks, “How about that horse head on his wall?”

        Scott replies, “I’m just glad he didn’t have his dead wife’s head on that wall.”

        In the star-shimmering darkness a coyote mourns.

Next:

MACK COBB “DONKEY JÓTE”

Previously: THE ARROYO OF THE SOMBRA OF DEATH

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