Monday, May 4, 2009

The Hiatus Gunslinger

I've got a very itchy keyboard finger today.

I'm staring down an imaginary muzzle, my eyes very intent, taking dead aim at every purposeful person in my path. Notice I said purposeful. I've seen enough westerns to know that any gunslinger who stands on Main Street pays no attention to old men dashing out to pull children back in their house or ladies hurrying home with their hats. You might have the old undertaker standing over by his door, but he's OK too. It's only the hombre that comes strolling out with purpose, looking intent, just asking for it who's going to get it.

There'll be no self-berating today. I'm all stewed up. Nothing new about that. But today all my wrath is outwardly focused. Toward those purposeful hombres who say I shouldn't have taken a hiatus, that I shouldn't have prolonged my hiatus, that I either ought to be here or simply go away -- no muss, no fuss -- and every other variation there may be on the subject of my hiatus and what I should or should not have done or should or should not do now.

Well, the time for talk is over, that's a given. Now it's time to meet one's maker. I wonder about some of my enemies here if they were made at all. Maybe they were formed, you know what I mean? Like something that exits the back gate. Patties. Pies. Piles.

A guy just went by my house with his black dog, Extra Crispy, and Extra Crispy dropped one of my enemies (a representation). You remember the old creation story about the god who threw dollops of mud behind him and those became man. That's what I'm talking about. Extra Crispy arches his back toward the same purpose. They teach that in Instinct School. He has a look of quiet intensity. He may not make many decisions on his own, but this is still one that can't be performed by others on his behalf. He knows when he needs to go and when it can be pronounced done.

As to my enemies -- self-pronounced, because I am as harmless as a feather; I'd do anything for you, just ask. I greet with a smile, no scowl, no scorn. As to my enemies, whether they are made or formed, they must meet their maker. Because I am standing in the street -- just itching to reach. It's high noon. There's a light sweat at my temples. My hat keeps the sun out of my eyes. Someone's got some western music playing softly on their boom box. My fingers are rubbing themselves, hovering just over my holster.

I've got my legs spread a little. I'm slightly bowlegged anyway, going way back to when I was a baby and Grandpa set me on sawhorses. Those tiny pelvic bones had a way of remembering. But it was OK with my Mom because it made it that much easier to get my diapers on. So I'm waddling along. And anytime we played crawdad soccer in gym I was a natural. When the other kids would see my legs spread and my feet at an angle hurrying across the gym floor, they knew they didn't stand a chance. The only way to slow me down was to tie my hands, and even then I could still drag the upper half of my body at the same speed the other kids were going normally.

Anyway, my legs are spread a little. I'm waiting for my enemies to appear. You don't like my hiatus, huh? You think I should either get on with it or drop out all together, huh? You're calling me out? We'll see about that. I'm calling you out! Come out and show me what you got. It better be something or I'll drop you like Extra Crispy's latest thud. Waiting, waiting ... anticipating.

Until -- this is a mental picture -- Garrett Al, whose name always reminds me of Geritol, steps out of the Skidrow saloon. Typical. The man is drunk with lust. He's tipsy. He's over the legal limit. And that's why every man, woman, and child has a restraining order against him. He doesn't know anything about taking me on. But let him try. I could drop to my crawdad stance and be wrapped around his legs before he knew what happened, but I'll play fair ... this time.

We might have a conversation. "Great day to die, Al." And it would go on like that ... until, finally, he would be lying in the middle of the road. But then, after everyone has given gifts to one another in celebration, after a couple of days, Garrett Al rises from the dead and vanishes from sight.

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