Chapter Three

Elizabeth's parents believed her story and this was because there, had been a bunch of Apaches run through that neighborhood and took some horses off one ranch, and maybe because we was quiet and did not do a whole lot of talking about it, and Fritz was there and believed the story at first and me and him went off to the bunkhouse and cooked ourselves a pot of coffee and had a talk. He said, I'm afeared I'm getting carried away with you boys, and why I don't know. So Manuel don't like no Gringos at all? Well, he tolerates me because he knows I don't care about it. Well, we can steal our own, things can't be changed much since last winter. What was you doing then? Mostly? Mostly we was eating peyote. We did rob a train every now and then. We used to steal some cattle, among other things. You boys are the dangest bunch I ever heard of. We sit at the table in the bunk house talking and in come a couple hands which come from town buying corn and they talked a little to Fritz and fixed their own coffee and sat down the table from us and talked about what went on in the town the night before, the men killed and this feller Treefrog and his partner and so on, and wondering who was to blame besides the town drunk if anybody and so on. Full of coffee I said to Fritz, let's go to town. Why? I'll tell you on the way. You sure about this? Yeah. Let's eat first. Let's eat in town, Fritz. Damn, you must know these scalawags. I hope they ain't so crazy as you.

Elizabeth was full of energy as ever and whipping up the big dinner meal and flung me and Fritz some big tacos and I said I would see her in a day or so because I had some big business to do in town, and she looked to be doing all right then.

We got to town by sundown and I smelled the right hotel and there had signed in Ratt and Treefrog and we stood outside and listened. It's dark, Treefrog, said Packy. Time to eat. You move that bed, said Treefrog. Cause if I do I'll piss in these good pants. Let's piss out the window, Treefrog. What's out that window anyway? Nobody, maybe a stray brakeman or a tramp. Maybe a dog, just the riffraff in any case. If you got to piss like me you might even reach the tracks. Well, then you go first. Cause no telling what's out there and I don't want to get the piss scared out of me. Let's flip for it, Treefrog. Ah hell, Packy, I'll go, oh-oh. Hey, Packy? What do you see, Treefrog? There's Olive's horse out there. We're saved, Treefrog, go on and piss! Open the door, Gunter, I said, or we'll do it ourselves. The name is Ratt, Packy Ratt, Olive, you sonofabitch, and I'll open the door soon as I piss!

Fritz was not a town man neither and all four of us rode out of town on our one horse and mule to this Mescan cafe we knew two miles out. Packy and Treefrog had rid in on the train with nothing but money and these rumpled duds and knife and pistols, ready for anything and figuring they would lose weight and need new clothes. Even in the cafe old Fritz couldn't help his fidgety self once we got past one course and had warm beer on our way to the next one and I said to the matron to bring in more chile in the next one cause I was falling to sleeping on one bench and dreaming about my true love and Packy was hollering for me to pull out of it and be myself because I had not seen my old compadres all winter and here they had been grieving my death when all I had done was stab a mountain lion and fall in love and shave my face, and Fritz said how he was hating to break up the party and all but he never was no heavy eater and could never stand no roof over his head longer'n a hour nohow, and it was a cool night but he was dropping little sweat spots off his head from the chile or some damn nervous edge, and Fritz too is a shy man and by time I was a snoring he had done argued and debated and flung his arms and got outside and on the mule and headed out. When he was a half mile down the road and Packy and Treefrog slapping a pile of grub back on my plate he woke me by calling, see you at the ranch, Bill! Fritz is quite a feller, said Treefrog and swallowed and La Matrona brung food like a bee and this might had been cause she had the three best eaters in the West, and this is no lie. Her place was a tail end of a little ranchero and we made a little camp on her tables, ate and drank and slept and powwowed till about twenty four hours later we had bought two more horses and was just about ready to ride slow, and who did walk in but Rattlesnake Dan. Met Fritz at El Rancho Baca. Hi there, Dan, we said, you got weed? I got weed but I ain't got too much time cause I come to rob the bank! You sure talk about it loud, Dan. Hell, I ain't seen a soul in three days can speak English cept Fritz! Dan was raring to go and we had a council and passed me and Dan's pipes and had a hell of a time and stayed another twenty five or thirty hours and then Treefrog recollected about the pipe he lost gambling in Juarez and how now that he had bought a horse he next must buy a pipe. I don't know how many people around there got the direction of what we was saying, but the funny thing is how this Mescan deputy sheriff, which was the one what when he was second in command looked after the town when James took off with the posse, tended to be influenced by Mescan sentiment, which was in our favor, the word been got around that Treefrog was a half breed Me scan and Mr. Ratt his cousin, and if any Mescan had any money in that bank he just took it out, and we did ride in like a pack of fat clowns, and rob that bank, and the deputy sheriff was too drunk to get on his horse and everybody got out of the way when we walked in and robbed the bank and that broke quite a few of the Gringoes in that town. There was a woman Dan fondled while we was doing all this, and she had a father that paid a calvary feller to kind of on the side take his outfit and come on out after us and they followed us clear to the Baca ranch and out there nobody knew what was going on and Dan took the money and snuck out on foot across the land and Fritz got ready to follow him in a day with both mules, and me and Tom and Packy had gone to bed in the hayloft just as the U.S. Calvary come riding in, and the reason they had got this close to us was cause we had partaken of numerous naps on the trail, having understood we was crossing a friendly neighborhood, but being rested we moved quick and from there the events come a little more clear in my mind. It was early in the morning and you could hear the beetles and the birds chirping and sunshine was pouring bright over the mountains and this troop of U.S. Calvary rode on into the ranch and Senor Baca come outside and I come out of the bam with no shirt on and waved to Senor Baca on my way to the outhouse. He was a little sad to see me back but was more interested in the Apache situation and struck up a conversation with this captain and I went to the outside on the other side of the bam and dumb atop it and looked out and saw Rattlesnake Dan scurrying along in the distance and I got down and out come Fritz buttoning his pants and complaining about getting involved with us boys. Hell, Fritz, we're rich, I said and wandered on around to see the troops again. Senor Baca was hearing out the officer's problems, all about the Apaches but how too he thought he might as well run down this bunch of men that robbed the bank and molested the daughter of a established citizen and that their trail led to here. Howdy, Colonel, I said, and hung my hands in my pants and squinted and stood a little apart to listen, and Fritz come up behind me and Bowman come out of the barn wearing just his torn britches and stretched and yawned and belched and went toward the outhouse and Senor Baca glanced that way a half second and looked more disappointed in me for the trash I hung with, and other people begin gathering and Elizabeth come out and asked me when did I get in. Around midnight, I said. The colonel here says that somebody robbed the bank. Oh! Say, Colonel? You seen any injuns? Me and this young lady run across quite a few about a week ago. Less than that ago. I believe, she put in and was now quick and alert. You don't say, said the captain, and the captain turned to some new comers in the audience, and Elizabeth and I wandered over to the wood pile and talked while I begin breaking up kindling, and next a fierce wind begin to blow and a dust storm took hold, and got in everybody's eyes and Packy had took over the big conversation about the Apaches and was giving the captain his long drawn out opinion on the situation, and the long line of U.S. Calvary was having a little trouble with the horses, and in a little while more they left, rode on out, and the working people went to work, did what they was able. There was just a little change in Elizabeth at this point. Since the night we took the ride her mother raised hell by a utterance of my name. That mountain man! He is no account, dirty, violent! Look at his friends! Pigs! None of this seemed important to me at the time, and it hurt my true love and I could not see why after our tremendous love affair there could be any problem anywhere. What else does a woman want? She can build fire, cook meals, scrape hide, beat children, lift heavy burdens, sleep in a hovel and jump up a hour fore dawn to grind corn, so long as you nourish her body and soul, keep her filled with penis. Certainly. Just know the moves in her body and she is your angel. God, give this man liberty, ain't no point in his pam. When Fritz moved out the next day Packy and Tom went too, for they did not want to be among me and Elizabeth and our fussing and they could tell they were not that welcome at the ranch and were even suspected of robbing the bank. They wanted to have some fun and adventure and they said, so what are you going to do, Olive, stay in love with the belle of the Baca ranch and be the wood and water man? I just want to get things straight, I answered, because I mean to marry the girl. We have lost faith in you, Wild Bill, they said, and left me. But in another day I wished I'd gone with them, because Elizabeth was refusing to give love and her folks were bad on her and sat waiting for me to go and it bored me to chop wood and I was having a hell of a time. You beat any woman I ever saw, I told her. I am not any woman you ever saw, she said. Don't touch me, she said. All right, then I'm leaving. Go, she said. She had also taken to flirting with the ranch hands in front of me and this turned my stomach and so then I was leaving two days behind the others but she come running out with this letter from a lieutenant out of that bunch of calvary had come to the ranch. He had written one to her, and one to her father, and he wanted permission to court her. He even talked about his big future in the military in these letters. He was a nephew of the colonel what run the post. I saw him looking at me, she said, and he is very handsome! I guess I'll kill'im, I said with a smile. You better not, she said and didn't take me serious and went on back to her mother. I was bored sick in my guts for a few more days, besides being in the pain of lust, and heartbroken, but I wanted to see the calvary feller, thinking that I could kill him and feel better. Elizabeth did not trust herself to bring me coffee or see me alone and I stayed in a fog of marijuana even while working and then the day come that he was to come. I felt pretty good that day and was smiling and Elizabeth was in a good mood too to be seeing this new feller but she did not see why I felt good. Maybe she didn't feel so good as I thought, I don't know. He come in that evening, along with another young officer, and I was ready and happened to be sitting on Grey as they come up and Senor Baca come out to meet them. When Baca saw me he was worried and wanted to get these two young men on inside. I didn't know which was the one after her so I just looked at'em both, and then smiled, and then they smiled and then they looked at Baca and then back at me, and I had 'em scared, all right. Inside, there went the little dinner and sociable affair, which in the ordinary situation would go on a few months or so, the daughter always in sight of her parents until the engagement. I waited till around midnight, sneaking around outside and getting to hear some of the chatter, and then the calvary fellers decided to go on and get back to their duties rather than spend the night, and when they went, I did too, laughing a little at how Elizabeth would see me gone in the morning. I guess she had thought I was her dog by then. I followed them till midday, and by then the quiet in the hills had come over me and I knew how unimportant was these young fellers, how Elizabeth would never marry anyone like that, and so on. I had a peace in me, but felt so foolish I took the notion to go on down and see them while I was still up to it, as they didn't have much to go to get to their post. Here they was, tired from wine and dinner and then riding, and was going to cook a little coffee, and they look up and here I am again. They each took out his pistol and stood, and I watched all this, and one said, pretending he did not know me, we don't know you, mister, who are you? What's your business? I come to ask you some questions, sonny, I smiled. He was looking damn crazy, and he said, ask me about what? I want to ask you are your intentions honorable? He took fiber from the gun in his hand and said, what I do is none of your business! His friend said, you haven't answered our question, mister, who the hell are you? You pipsqueak, I said. You know goddamn good and well I am Wild Bill Olive. So put those guns back fore I kill you both for fun. Their sweat poured and their throats were parched and this second one drew a aim and fired and I flopped alongside Grey and ran him straight over that one and on through I flopped back over to the side with the rifle and took it and rolled into the dirt, all which allowed that other one to fire twice. From the ground I let him have a quick one, which broke his hip while he had run to his horse, to get his carbine, I guess. He was drug away before he would pass out and turn loose of the saddle. The other got about halfway up and I shot him through the heart. It was a very quiet day, very much hot sun, and I got up and started walking to the wounded lad, and we had woke a rattler and he was buzzing and I had to go around him. I Went on and shot this one a very clean hole in his head, better than to fight the U.S. Calvary. Grey was at my shoulder and I got back on and trotted. I did not know, Manuel, like fate, was seeing the whole thing, and coming to talk.

He come up after me in a little canyon. Wait, he called. I looked and waited and he come a walk. He carried a pistol and knife and rifle and rode a tough horse and I kind of liked his simple dress. Our eyes come together and he said, why did you kill them? They wanted my woman. Manuel had a chuckle. Said he thought the matter pretty funny and how since he was part Apache he liked to see U.S. Calvary killed. Hope you liked the show, I said. It was good, he said. I said, why, I bet you are Manuel the half-breed Robin Hood. No? Si. I know Fritz. I'm one of the Gringos down at the water hole. We rode along, and he said, ey, gringo, sometimes Apaches use the water hole. Are they friendly? No. Too bad. Hey, look, he said. I'll come and visit you men sometime. All right, Manuel. Then he left.

There was a feeling in me like a claw. I lit my pipe and rode through the afternoon and it was still there. Though it worried me killing those two, not robbing them like it was Apaches did it, and me not knowing Manuel went back and did this, took the horses and everything else, what was deeper in me was Elizabeth. She would know. She knew it right then. Riding through the day thinking about fighting the U.S. Calvary, I was mainly worried about the love affair, the way it was suddenly there, and suddenly gone, turning my stomach, and turning me to a blood lust, in poor favor of women, mother rhythm, mankind. There are some I can kill least as easy as they can ride into a camp of Indians in cold weather and shoot anything that moves. A fine world we have, and her side of it much different than mine, and I emptied my pouch of weed going up a side of a mountain with the dark getting there and crossing and going down in shadows of the moon and looking into depths of the earth, and I knew again that so well as there was trouble in the race there was trouble in me, and the claw hung in my chest, or it might of been the bullet hole. There was some trouble breathing.

The sun come out and I wanted a cup of coffee and my head working in instead of out I took Grey down a pretty rocky slope, kind of in a hurry to get back and this was such a bad piece a worse horse you could never of got down it, and a couple small rocks rolled out under a hoof and we went stumbling along till I saw Grey was never going to get back his footing less maybe I got my weight off him and I sure hated to have him break a leg and I dropped down and rocks slid and smashed me into a place and Grey went on down some more and probably stayed upright. I was cut up but it was bad because my leg was broke under the knee: I saw that and I kept those nerves fired and took the leg right on down hill, crawling on one side. I called for Grey. Grey! Grey! Grey! It was more a scream and he answered from down a part but he was not stupid enough to return and pick me up. After some time I got to him and crawled up and wished the saddle was not there so I could lay down and he knew we were going to the water hole and I let him do it by himself.

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