Tales From the Texas Gang PART ONE

Chapter One

(Of Man and Medicine)


We reached Juarez hurting and tired and not feeling like we like to be feeling. Bix was bent over in his saddle from being shot, and we took him to this hotel where Packy was staying and we said to them give him a room and a doctor and nobody else would get shot then and Packy would pay for it. Now this was a nice hotel and Packy was gone off somewheres and we did not want to run up too big an expense account before Packy got back and proved he had enough money and so we all slept in this room on the floor and gave Bix the bed and this old doctor they got for us sat in a chair and studied Bix's condition and we then got out some more of the loco weed so we could rest better on that floor while this old Castillian doctor went on and did what he was supposed to. I mean, none of us could get his Spanish too good, or not good enough, see, because he had come from Spain, or maybe even Portugal, one of them places, and he was nervous in the first place just seeing us light up some of that loco weed, and, I think what got the doc started was Sieb offered a smoke to him. Told him it would help him think on Bix better. They didn't understand each other very good, the doc and Sieb, and while they weren't understanding each other worth a shit, Bix started telling the doc he couldn't stand the pain anymore because it was driving him crazy, and the doc didn't want 'im to go out of his mind from pain, did he, no, so couldn't the doctor hurry up and give him a shot of something good, he didn't care what,just something different from all that marijuana, what had been making him feel all that pain all the way from Nuevo Laredo to here, he said, and just then Sieb pulled his gun and shot a hole in the floor at a cockroach, it was supposed to be the biggest cockroach he ever saw in his life, and he saw the doc was a little bit scared and jumpy, and he said to the doc excuse him but he was just taking a little pot shot at this big cockroach because he hates bugs, and then everybody came knocking on the door so Dan opened it and hollered at them to shut up and he had a head ache and let him sleep you sons-of-bitches. Except he said all this in English so the next thing happened was a couple dozen fellers with guns was about knocking that door off and we were real scared we were going to get worked over or killed just like in Nuevo which we were still all bunged up from so everybody got quiet and ready for them to get this big door loose and come through so as we could shoot first. Not Bix. Bix wasn't worried about 'em, had too much pain, I guess, because he had sat up and started choking on the doc, telling 'im he was going all out of his mind from pain and the doc didn't want 'im to do that did he, no, no he didn't, and could he hurry and give him something real good fast. I thought that was O.K., Bix making noise, I mean, because this is what kept them to knocking that door down and which was going to let us have the first chance, see, and, I guess, me and Black Hatch and Sieb and old Dan with his head doing bad after Nuevo making him kind of crazed, why I guess we woulda just about wiped out all the law in that town, except that doctor had this needle in his bag, and when Bix sorta passed out and fell off 'im the doc got out his needle and stuff, and he was wanting so fast to get that needle into Bix he was spilling stuff all over that bed, I mean, those Mescan fellers outside now was shooting to blow off the latches on that door, and why, we was all real loco and going to let that door come all the way down past the whites of their eyes when those crazy Mescans were going to be tumbling in where we wanted them, but now the doc was hollering, kind of insane like, don't shoot, don't shoot, you fools, that he had a patient in there, they they must stop shooting before they kill his patient, and he slammed that needle in Bix's ass, and then they stopped shooting down the door, and then that doc working real fast slammed another needle into Bix's ass, so help me, he had two of them. After that he got the door open, and he went on and hollered and screamed some more at those Mescans. So we all jumped up and put away our things and started in hollering too. Goddamn, then we could hear Packy way out in the street hollering he was going to see every last one of them fired off the police force and when Packy came up those stairs he had on real good clothes and he was yelling at the maids it was mostly their fault anyway for thinking his friends were not gentlemen just because one of them didn't have no boots. He didn't give no fuck if all his friends didn't have no boots on they was every goddamned last mother humping whore sons of them gentlemen just the same, he told all them police and maids and people sticking their heads out of doors, and Packy had been doing real good and had a great big cigar and some rings on his fingers besides, which he later sold for eating money. Sieb was explaining to everybody the only reason he had no boots on was because his woman had hid them from him out of pure meaness just before we left Nuevo Laredo and if we all hadn't made him hurry so much he would still have those boots today, and he wished he hadn't left anyway because back there he had all the marijuana and food and siesta time there ever was and now look where it had got him. Hatch yelled at him he was lucky we got him out of there before he got killed for being a bank robber, and Dan yelled at him the next time he wants to kill a cockroach, he doesn't care if it's big as a steer, to use his knife first, his gun second for god's sake, and not make so much goddamned noise shooting at a goddamned bug. Next thing the doc was fixing himself a little shot in his arm. Dan thought maybe some of that was what he needed, but Packy said let's all go down and have a tequila, let the doc tend to his patient, because the doc was a good man.

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