Chapter Seven

I can remember some seasons starting out from where I first got shot and got to the Water Hole cause there was a order to the events, how I met Fritz and then Elizabeth girl and so on. Before then, especially from where me and Dan had this big fight down in the Lost City and walked out of the jungle, and so on, things are more blurry, and I have maybe missed a few seasons, a year or two. It was like I had been born and died, born and died, a few times. I was maybe thirty five in my years. Peyote lets you do this, grow old and die, come back younger. If you're living a full life to start with and we was. But what I want to say here is our skins was actually safer along the river then they had been before, because, whereas, on the U.S. side there was always a fit of change, just in the people and what they was doing next and that government couldn't keep up with everybody, on the Mexican side during the operations of the Texas Gang there come a change of the politics, and in these times we learned to get along with a lot of the people better, and a lot of the people liked us.

Robert Siebenthol, as he was known on some wanted posters in Texas, killed a couple henchmen of Cant, sometime following the double cross, this one named Cruz, Sieb seen'im with Cant's man Sanches in a whorehouse and went and got a shotgun and come and got'em both, crazy Sieb, thinking we was dead, and he got away doing it. Funny how we was all so reckless and lived. Cruz had a gang of his own, them the ones that shot me, and now me and Hatch had let Juarez know we was back, keeping to our style, and the gang was now controlled by Cruz's brother Mateo, and they come to Senora Gutierrez's. They seen us in the river, Mateo Cruz and three more, but more coming, and thought they had me and Hatch, hollering obscenities and shooting at us and everybody ducking and dying for air and Juanita hit and about to drown and I think I lost consciousness trying to stay under. Before the shooting had started people had come and told Bix and when he heard the shooting he didn't go back for more guns but come running hard and crazy and with these others riding up and down a craving our blood there was one was sharper than the rest and took a look around and seen Bix coming and pulled a rifle and shot him down, Bix being not in pistol range. But funny how much it takes to kill a man gone mad. This made Bix the third of us to get shot through the chest. Hatch had seen this, come up for a breath of air, and there is a demon in Black Hatch too, and Mateo had gone a little reckless wanting to get me because I was supposed to be dead and his brother was dead and now him running his horse out in the water when he seen my head float up, and his horse hit a hole and went in up to her ass and Black Hatch swims good and he got Mateo's horse by the tail fore she scrambled up and next thing he was on Mateo's throat and them going down and up and down in the water and a bunch of the neighbors was along the bank, mostly children, screaming, and Senora Gutierrez doesn't swim too good but floats and was flinging herself over me and loses me and flings herself at me again and I guess this give Mateo's men a little hesitation, children and everybody praying and screaming, but they was losing their victory and shooting at us again when here come Bix. Guess they didn't see'im in the crowd, and there was children running in the water to save Juanita. Bix was rid of his extra energy, a calmness over him, and shot two men in the head and the last fired twice and lost all his nerve and took his horse across the river and Bix fired the third time and broke his neck and the man floated like a ghost out of the saddle and his horse made the other side. I saw that one. Then I saw Hatch choking Cruz when Cruz was already dead. And Bix fainted. Hatch, I said. Cruz is dead and Bix killed the rest so go help Bix. All right, said Hatch.

More of that gang was coming but when they heard how their leader and the others was wiped out and seen how unpopular they was down on that end of the river they turned back to get organized and I don't think they ever did. Juanita had a forty-five slug high in her thigh but our old friend, The Doc, come down to Senora Gutie­rrez's and took it out and Juanita did well and kept her baby. Bix was bad off, rib stuck out of his back, could not breathe right, and The Doc give him a shot of this and that, cut the piece of rib out and then laid it back in there and tried to patch Bix up, and told us Bix had to die this time for sure. Naw, Hatch said. Want some weed, Doc? No, no, I am afraid your friend has fought his last gun fight, said The Doc. Naw, said Hatch. I see it all now. Bix is going to ride his horse this winter. Have a little weed, Doc. Let you see it the way I do. No, thank you, but I must be on my way. If you take care of the little woman she will have her baby.

The bed was bloody from Bix and Juanita and Mary Ann was still sitting up in the corner of the bed with her knees up and eyes wide and one sheet pulled clear to her mouth. A discreet man is The Doc, just had told her, pardon me, but with your permission. Mary Ann didn't have nothing to say to nobody for a time, believe she felt a bit persecuted, cause here was her friend Bix looking like he was killed. The Senora and her daughter went to the market and me and Hatch sit there in our pants and boots and guns and knives eating peyote, ready. Enjoying ourselves, had word from the people how more of that bunch was on the way, and we was through playing with women and was hoping they was coming. Couple times we'd hear our horses cry out and Mary Ann would duck as I'd be hopping over the bed and out the shutters and Hatch hitting the floor at the door with my rifle, and it'd turn out to be some damn farmer in a wagon or something. 'When Mary Ann started talking it was for her clothes, thought we had'em or something. They got tore up, Mary Ann, we said. Have a little peyote and settle down, Mary Ann. Think that'd settle'er down, Bill? Hell, anything for a change, Hatch. Eat some peyote, Mary Ann! I want Packy! she said. Give me my clothes! She got out of the bloody bed with the sheet and went looking around the place, kind of getting on our nerves. The back side of her wasn't covered and one time she was looking under the table Hatch pinched her on the butt. She jumped back, ooh! How dare you, Mr. Hatch! Hatch said to me, I don't know why I did that. Me neither, we got to be more alert, Hatch. How dare you indeed, Mr. Hatch! she said. She's such a damn fool woman, said Hatch. After that we tried to be on the alert, while Mary Ann got bolder and less scared and the next thing she was fixing a tub of bath water. We sure take a lot of baths around here, said Hatch. Yeah. I see you're fixing me a tub of water, Mary Ann, Hatch said. Hatch, we got to be more alert. So we do, liar. Mary Ann hummed a little tune and found her ostrich hat and tied up her hair inside of it and after pouring a lot of hot water she give a big show of testing it with her to~ and after so much of this, none of what we looked at direct, she held up her sheet arms out and a facing us and she backed herself into that tub real delicate and humming, stepped into it and sank down, holding up her sheet, whereupon she next turned her back to us and her sheet mostly wet and over her shoulders and above the sheet was the ostrich hat. Whooee, thought it was alive, said Hatch when he took a direct look. We got to be more alert, Hatch. Thought it was a gigantic bird of prey! Why, I damn near shot it! Glad you didn't, Hatch. Mary Ann would never of been the same. Arr, nothing'll ever change that girl! We was sitting there, feeling the energy of the Texas Gang, getting lazy and powerful and ready by time Mary Ann put herself back in bed, and Hatch told her to get on back to bed, ain't no cause for you to be running around in middle of a gun fight, Mary Ann, now is there, and Senora Gutierrez and Felicia was back inside and figuring on the problem of going to sleep and building themselves a mat neath the table, when everything got quiet. Real quiet. Well, you had old Mary Ann shuffling around up in the bed and sa'ying things under her breath, and Hatch said, you make too much noise, Mary Ann, and you had old rattling Bix that was a wee bit louder than Mary Ann and he was trying to say things, for example, once he tried to say, got you that time, you sonofabitch, but all he could get out was a rattle and a heave and a cough, and there was Senora Gutierrez all in a muttering cross-eyed mood now that the party was over, over for the gals least ways, and it got quiet and the candles flickering down and Hatch said, Bill? Yeah? The way I see it, this ain't never going to end ever. Yeah? Then what's the meaning of it, Hatch? Ain't none, Bill. Nothing means shit, Bill. You believe that way, Richard? I do, Bill. I feel real good, now, real good, but nothing means shit, Bill. Feeling good ain't just nothing now, Richard. We're sitting here feeling good and that ain't just shit, now, Richard. Yeah? Yeah, Richard, we're the Guardians Of The Universe. Har, so we are, hee! But still, Bill, still, it just don't end, and when you come right down to it, it don't mean shit. Nothing means shit. Richard, ah. Ah, I see what you mean, looking at it as though it was going to end somewhere like a piece of string but instead time just spreading its waves, but, Richard, it's the joy and fun that counts. Bill. I'm going on back to my good woman and four kids before I get killed. Ah, there you go now, Hatch, a poor Guardian Of The Universe you are. Hell, Bill, I will guard my woman and four kids. But you don't got no profit yet, Hatch, I said by the rattle of Bix's cough and the knowing that Mateo's gang was never coming. Arrr, hell, maybe something will come my way! Next thing, we took to suffering. We was very tired and so on since no more enemies was going to come in, tired down in the soft of our bones and our blood pulled near to a halt and our muscles hanging loose like the nooses what had waited for us so long and had given up in the wind, and the bodies slept, first one then the other rolled and overturned and slid along the floor and rested, so to be mending for the living out of them that was yet to come, maybe growing some children, maybe killing a few more men, but the big run and big fight was done, and we dreamed, sleeping like the dead and we dreamed together three and four dreams in the same times. I moaned and cried for what we had seen and done and won and lost, Hatch saying, there, there, Wild Bill. Wild Bill, we got to let be the water holes and all them people and see them out and have'em get done with it! No, I said, I can't get air, I got to fight! I pulled gun and blasted one real scorpion clean through the ceiling, and nobody thought nothing about the big blast cept Bix that said, got the sonofabitch! Then in one way and another Bix joined our conversations and dreaming and he said in a spit of blood, give us fifty year more and a young man will grow crowded in fear, afraid of man and afraid of his own manhood when it strikes out. Our kind will play as children and run and hide, and play as children and run and hide, and finally, God be willing, we will find ways to resist and get up on our hind legs. Mother of God! went Hatch hacking out what for a moment he thought was Bix's dried blood for him. I see it all now, too! Bix is right! There is a very bad time a coming! But God will tell Wild Bill the answers, said Bix out the hole in his chest. And if Wild Bill can bear up to it we will all ride in Eden and be known as the Golden Children, amen! WeIp, said Hatch. Got any answers yet, Wild Bill? Can't say as I do. Think you're going to bear up to it, Wild Bill? Don't know, Hatch. I'll need some help. Ah, hell, said Hatch. Nothing means shit. Wait, Richard, give me a chance, man. Give Wild Bill a chance, said Bix. Well, he's a grown man, said Hatch. It's time he got started. Hell, Bill, by time he was your age, Jesus Christ had already got hisself strung up and crucified.

Well, they ain't going to get me. Well, I went on, we could build a monastery or run for politics, maybe. Hell, said Hatch. I'm on my way. Why, I might even become a governor, soon as I get my nest feathered. Naw, naw, Richard, that ain't the style. Hatch! Hey, Wild Bill says that ain't the style, heh. Huh! 'Who the hell do you think you are, you damn squawman, to be telling me what's the style! But, Richard, Christ was right, man. Christ was right? 'What! Of all the things for a goddamn squawman to be saying! So Christ was right, huh! Well, let me tell you something, you damn squawman. God helps them what helps themselves! That's right! 'Why, that's what God does! Yes, he does! And, you have been helping yourself all along, all your life, every goddamn chance you ever got! Right, Hatch, you're right on that one! But, man, I want to heal wounds! I want to live forever! 'Why, Jesus Christ is right, and I want to be like him, yessir! And you'll see, Black Hatch! Next time they shoot me I'll just call on God's love, why, I'll just spread my arms and drink in all that heavenly power and my bullet holes will mend on the spot! I'll have such a pure body and spirit I'll be able to heal old Bix's chest by the touch of my hand! Because in power all life is together and all mankind brothers and this is the only way it can be! Touch me now, Wild Bill! Bix hollered. Let's see how much you can do right now! Well, Bix. I don't know that I'm ready yet. But try, Wild Bill! Just try and maybe you can do something already. Har, har, it's worth a try, you damn squawman! So, I went over to Bix and I tried. I put a hand to his broken chest and looked in his eyes and seen all the blood and love between us and life's energy flowed and growed bigger and flowed. I put all I had into it and Bix got better. I'm better, Wild Bill. See that, Hatch? Hum, so he is, said Hatch. Then, Hatch, it's time for us all to become Jesus Christ men. Heal wounds and live forever. Htim, you got a point there, Wild Bill, I must admit.

In the two three weeks that followed we got more peyote and eat enough of it to be keeping ten men alive and our religious fervor did plenty to our women, too, and they bustled back and forth, Mary Ann too, cooking grand meals and keeping the house clean and pure as was our spirits and bodies, and if they had passion before they sure was in heat now, cept we didn't have all that much time for'em and was outnumbered with Bix laid up, and Juanita was in the first place the least controllable-bad leg and all she would always pitch in with plenty energy and faith just so long as she could play a big part and in the way she wanted it-but there was not always a big part for her and then she would get the least impressed of everybody and like as not bad leg and all be wanting to talk Bix into a holy union even with him not yet a healed man-she sure did beat all-but wouldn't you know it was Mary Ann become the big sister now and every morning give us reading from the Bible which she had picked out the night before. It amazed us all how much wisdom and truth was in the Bible if you just had the intelligence peyote give you to let you look at it in the right simple way like Jesus had intended way back before man got scheming enough to find ways to make a great big mess of the whole thing. My dear mother had probably read me and our family just about the whole Bible before then and I had lived with the wisest people of war there is, Comanches, and lived weeks at a time alone on the plains with a horse and knew blood and what Jesus must had been doing and how scared and mean was whites to be eating bread and wine in church and not thinking about what they was doing it for, that man grows from Mother Earth and animal, cries tears and bleeds red blood, breathing air and burning fire, and if you don't face it like a Indian you don't know and love where you're going, and you got no faith then. Don't know that man and life is all right, is the right thing, God is Father and all there is, too. Comprende. Well, it is a lonely white man that thinks about it directly but like I say my compadres did know it in feeling and the Comanches had done me good, warriors and honest and free and just loving to see their life and death in close, humble in this way, knowing life and man was all right. And if you don't think faith is the first step you sure got to learn. Well, anyway, I knew a few stupid Comanches, too, sure, and some good ones, too, and had gathered a few little interesting pieces of Indian metaphor here and there, cause all men will think a little in pictures though when living in sight of their blood and death must think more by pattern and rhythm, well, the Bible has some good rhythm and some good pictures, too, but I sure never knew how good till we sit day after day at Senora Guitierrez's smoking and eating God's little apples while Mary Ann did the reading, yessir.

But after about twenty days of this we begun to crave further adventure and me and Hatch went into another big talk one morning after everybody else was fallen to sleep. Bill, Hatch said and reached for a bowl of menudo and tipped it high so some of it run on through his whiskers and settled in his navel, and put the bowl back down and said, Bill. I was cleaning my teeth with a handkerchief so decided to wait and see just how big old Hatch thought this pow wow was going to be. He looked at me, waited, I looked back, he said, Bill, and then slopped his thumb through his navel. He stood, proud, went to the tub with last night's bath in it, ducked his whole head, run his hands through it all one time, stood back and shook like a dog, Bill! Damn your soul! There was a big talk coming on all right and I said, here I am, Black Hatch! Bill. I been sitting here all this time and listening to all this go on and trying to keep the women all settled. Don't see as we could do without you, Black Hatch. Then Black Hatch found some old crumbs in a end of his moustache. What new idea you got, Black Hatch? Welp, Wild Bill. I been sitting here. Yes, that's right, you have. Haven't said a word about your wife and kids lately. Hum, so I haven't. But they love me. Well, I'll get to them. But, I been sitting here. Yes. And the way I see it. Yes. And you're right about Jesus. For sure, Hatch. Glad you come along. But the way I see it, Bill. How do you see it? I see it this way. We can sit here and read the Bible for the rest of our lives, I mean, be us immortal or no, why, we can sit here and carry on and get smarter for all our lives, be us immortal or no, and it won't never change nothing. It won't help nothing in the rest of the world, Bill. Won't never change a thing. Hatch, you're right. Yeah, so I tell you what, Bill. First thing we do, we go tell the churches how wrong they been, and set'em straight! Set them straight, Hatch? Sure, get'em on the right track for once! You want to do that? Damn! Bill! They're our brothers, too! It's got to be done, Bill! Damn, Hatch, this could take a lot of work! It has got to be done, Bill.

I wrote one letter to the Water Hole. We have become Jesus Christ men, Christians, so to speak, except that we differ from the so called Christians in that we have been born our last time and are healing wounds and living forever. Bix has been shot and we are healing him. We will see you when he is healed and heal your souls, too. Mary Ann is footing the bill. Your blood brothers, Wild Bill and Black Hatch. I did a quick one to Elizabeth. I have killed my last man. I have been born my last time. I have joined the Lord. So soon as my calling permits me, I will seek thee, and join thee, and we shall become one, for such is the path of righteousness. Your male servant, Bill. I also did one to my family in Texas, of a somewhat longer conversation, but I understand it made the least impression on them as it all did on any­body and I doubt that they even brought it up that evening at suppertime.

Then, being that Black Hatch's argument was infallible, me and him set out to convert the Catholic church. We had no plan of direc­tion, being we was just resting along in the great main flow of the universe, and, armed though we was, for God gives man a right to defend his flesh when it ain't his time to be crucified, we noted how the people did not give us the normal fearful looks, but looked upon us with kindness and reverence, and we thought, why, this ain't going to be so hard afterall. We had just about got to the center of town and was enjoying it all, when, lo and behold, out steps a padre. He was shuffling along with a basket of eggs and was in a hurry. Padre! Padre! Hey, Padre! He kind of faltered out in the middle of the street. Yes, my sons? Padre, we must talk with you. What about, my sons? We could see he was a pretty alert little padre and we said, Jesus! It's about Jesus, Padre. We wish to talk to you about Jesus. You have not been drinking, my sons? No! Nary a drop! Padre, come to El Centro with us so that we may speak of Jesus! I am in a hurry, my sons, but come along and we will talk. No, no, Padre, let's talk over here, among the trees and birds! He was a little overwhelmed and said, ay, and drooped his shoulders, and said, ay, very well then. We took him over to the plaza and sit down neath a big tree and he sit down by his eggs and we said, why, it is such a beautiful universe, Padre, and such a beautiful day, too! He agreed about that. 'What is it you young men wish to speak to me about, he said. Jesus, Padre, why Jesus! Are you Catholic? No, but we're Jesus Christ men, all the same, Padre! I bless you, he said. Why, thank you, Padre, and we bless you, too! 'What do you wish to know about Jesus? Then he trembled, and the definite feeling that he was not in his environment shook him, and he asked me where was my shirt, to be keeping out the sun on such a hot day, and he got a little hypnotized by all the niches and markings across my lean wolf body. Black Hatch leaped to his rescue. 'Why, Padre, we love Jesus! We love Jesus! 'Why, we love Him, why, we just love Him so much, yes indeed! Blessed thou art, countered the padre and blessed us all over again. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, said the padre. Yessir, said Hatch. We ain't going to kill men no more! We ain't going to rape and pillage and burn ever again, nosir! Do you repent, my son? Are you sorry for what you have done? We're working on it, Padre, we're working on it! We're trying our damnedest to love and understand and forgive them for what they tried to do to us, amen! We love Jesus and He loves us and says love is the way and everybody is brother and life is all one with God and we want to be just like Him! The padre started forgetting to talk altogether, he would start some Spanish and then maybe fade off into some Latin. His mouth begin to hang and he begin to get caught up in Hatch's language. You wish to be like Jesus, he said. Yessir, just like Him! Then when Black got a little too emotional to always keep his words straight, I took over. We want to heal wounds and live forever! Love is the way! And all our peyote run right over into the padre's head and he knew exactly what we were talking about, and I think we might had won him over, even with the small crowd that was starting to come around, except that here come running some other padre and this one had a nun tagging along, and they commenced to break the spell. The crowd knew us and there was some children and excited mothers but, too, some laughing drunks and three bad men walked up and tipped their hats and the nun stood like she was ashamed and just looking down at her hands and the other padre was big and fat and not wholesome like ours and he tugged at ours and wanted him to come along and quit talking to bad men, and Hatch snarled, sit down, you fat turd! We quit being bad! and was tugging on our padre from his other sleeve, and there was this argument and struggle, with the nun standing and looking at her hands, and our padre was most confused and a little scared and started to cry, and the big padre fell on his ass and his white elephant legs going in the air, and the word went around town that Black Hatch knocked him down, but at this point the crowd was pretty mixed up, whether they thought Hatch did knock him down or did not, I mean, it took that hog so long to get back up, all what he had to do by first rolling on top his belly, and then by pushes and grunts his knees bend under him and his ass slowly points up till it's broad as the land, and the nun looks at her hands, and our padre weeps, and me and Hatch judge the crowd, some against us, some not, and stand talking. Bill. Hatch. The church wins this one. Yep. Let's go smoke some weed.

Good idea. We shook the little padre's hand and patted his bent heaving back and the bad men tipped their hats again and we left. Everybody was still snoring back at the house and we sit and had a good smoke. Maybe the Catholic church ain't ready for us, Hatch said. Maybe it ain't. They got some years on us. Well, I think we should strike at the people. The people? The people, Bill. Richard. Do you mean everybody? The people, Bill, the people! All of 'em? Niggers, Indians, Squawmen, Baptists, all them sonofbitches! God, Hatch, I mean, I got me a few blood brothers, and maybe a few more business acquaintances and neighbors and a couple aunts I can spit in front of and I used to know a lot of Comanches, afore the Rabbit Drive and I headed out here, but, you know, man, I been killing this that you call the people all my life and I ain't even learned to be sociable yet. I mean, I ain't a big lawyer man like you. I ain't learned no manners yet, Hatch. Wild Bill, you did pretty good today, till that fat one come up. I can talk to one man at a time, maybe, Hatch, or maybe even sell a horse in a saloon, but I'd be scared to death to talk to a whole gang of the people at one time. I might shoot somebody for moving his elbow wrong or something, and then where'd I be? You know, I never would of lived to kill so many the people had I made it my habit to talk first. Well, Bill, me neither, but you learn to judge the situation, and this I been doing learning my law, and there be shooting situations and there be talking situations. 'Why, we can just start out riding from town to town, like we was selling medicine, which is peyote, and maybe we'll do a few little acts to get the crowds around us, and. Aw, shit, Hatch, now I ain't going to do no acts for nobody! All right, Olive, all right! Now, I'm just trying to piece our problem together here, and you ain't helping me at all! Well, Hatch, I just don't know. Maybe after our little experience today I'm feeling a might discouraged. Ah, hell, Olive, you discourage me. Maybe we just ain't got the talent for missionary work. Well, Hatch, actually now, I did get that little padre going there for a while, didn't I? Yeah, with my help. Yeah, Bill, for a while there I thought maybe we had 'im. Well, it does kinda tend to give a man hope. Well, Bill, why don't we do this. Let's leave the Catholic church out of it for a time. The Catholic church has been here for hundreds of years and when it grabs hold a soul it ain't hardly going to turn loose less maybe the man is tough like old Jim Brownrat and you see what it has done to him. My own mother was a Catholic, so I know. I never told you that one, did I? No, Hatch, you never even told me you had a mother. Well, all right, anyway, I know, and I was born in Ireland, Bill. Damn, Hatch, you never talk much atall, do you. So was my mother, you know, Hatch. Olive, the difference tween me and you is you talk too much. Olive, you'd make a real good preacher. That's what Fritz told me. Well, Hatch, so you was a Catholic? Naw, I never took up with it. Look, now, Wild Bill, let us leave them Catho­lics out of this, least ways for right now. Now, what we want to get hold of is them Protestants. So, how do you want to do this, Hatch? WeIp, why don't we just go across the river and look around in one of them towns till we find 'em. Hell, Hatch, them towns are full of 'em. That's what I mean, Bill, that's just what I mean. Leave Bix here? He'll be all right, Bill. We're working inside the law of the universe now, for once, stead of poisoning our souls, and Bix will lay here and heal, safe as a babe, by natural law. Hey, Hatch! Hatch, you hear that? What's that, Bill? Yeah, Bill, I hear it! The Mother Rhythm, Bill! Right, right, Bix is safe! Said Bix, I'm safe as a babe! Follow your callings, compadres!

Now the fever had really got into Hatch. He was really taken up. I had never seen him this way and the next morning we set out to be dealing with the Protestants. Senora Gutierrez come along because she made such a big fuss and so did Mary Ann because she wanted to see Packy on the way and she had the money and this left Juanita and Felicia to be tending to Bix and Mary Ann give them some more money and we was on our way. We did not go through El Paso because it was a Catholic town in spite of all the Baptists that had come in during the last couple years and we went northwest. I can't say that Senora Gutierrez had given up the Catholic religion herself, no, because she was just a woman of passion and instincts and not given to deep thought and when she eat peyote you never knew if she was going to come out Catholic or Aztec or just what and she was seeing no differences in Christianity but just that Christianity was more plain than ever. I never understand women and Mary Ann was hard to figure as ever and she kept reading the Bible out loud and talking of her good man Patrick and clinging to Black Hatch and doing every little thing he told her to, and, whereupon the Senora chose to go with a skirt over her riding breeches, Mary Ann was riding side-saddle and did not ride too good and asked Hatch could we either buy a coach or go on the train and Hatch told her we was all staying mounted and free and for her to just learn to ride, and from there she did her suffering with such pride you would of thought she was having a baby. We rode through a day and come to a crick and place we knew and there was about a dozen Apaches been waiting a few hours for us to get there, and they knew by now it was us and got on their horses ready to go and they watched us ride up, Black Hatch The Crazy, Mary Ann banging her ass pretty as you please, Senor Gutierrez and tits sticking up and rolls a tobacco cigarette and sticks it straight in her mouth, understand, she was never a smoker of habit but there was a proud fire in her eyes and she rides up to see these feared warriors, and then comes me, a little more careful and far in the rear, thirsty, leading our pack horse. The warriors pulled apart a little to let us ride clear on through, and Hatch said, hi. They circled around a little bit and looked at us, and I come on through and I was the closest to any of 'em, and I knew, cause my heart started beating like a fight, that at least one of 'em was some sort of relation to those seven I killed. Couldn't help my grinning and I said, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Peace, brothers. They let me on through and somebody said, you be sorry. Hatch already had the horses drinking and Mary Ann under a tree and he drunk out of his hat and then give it to Mary Ann and Senora Gutierrez was making eyes at the Apaches before she even drunk and the Apaches edged off some more and watched Hatch, and Hatch lit his pipe. See, Bill, said Hatch. They can tell we're Jesus Christ men.

This was the season of Jesus Christ. There be a time for growing, and a time for dying. A time for making love, a time for making war. Time to eat, time to be hungry. A time to remember, and time to sleep. There be time for everything. This was the season of The Christ.


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