Chapter Ten

(Of Man and Orgy)


When the railroad reached El Paso and Old Dave and us was not yet back there was a load of people poured into that town, school teachers and preachers among the general rabble. In no time there was some law against men and women swimming naked together in the irrigation ditches, and the Pope himself had not bothered about that one but now you had Baptists. In that throng come a widow with name Mrs. Barker to marry a local politician named Cant. Mrs. Barker was just a little over the hill, or was, buxon but flabby with a sour face and Cant about the same but ambitious and after her money I guess, knew her family and meanwhile was impatient with Stoudenmire and wanted to get Packy, something on Cant's finest mare being auctioned in Juarez by Gunter, an incident, Packy won a horse race or something on Cant out of Juarez and claimed the mare was in the bargain and knocked out Cant's teeth to get it and Sieb and Bix wiped out the only body guard Cant had along that day, and so Cant put spies along Gunter's trail and I don't know exactly what Gunter saw about Mrs. Barker. Well, she was Mrs. Cant when Packy first saw her, married with Cant for a week or ten days maybe. Packy was eating a lot of peyote too, a sign of the times, was sensitive like any hunted animal, says the spies come as a certain type, cowardly little devils all of them and trying to figure the most likely spot for him to get assassinated, where he slept and so on and one of these little spies he out flanked and then followed back to Cant's house in New Mexico Territory near El Paso, was in a good peyote frame of mind and took this mood to see it through with Cant for final, and on horse with shotgun in Cant's front yard and sensitive as a beast he shouts, Cant, Cant, you sonofabitch, and Mrs. Cant peeps through a curtain and he almost shoots her. Where's your man, yells Gunter. What do you want, she calls. Says Gunter, why I think I will horse whip that shyster you married right now! Uh, this is the right house, ain't it? But Mr. Cant is not here, she says, and Packy could see by all the little subtleties and femenine need coming from her voice that she was fed up with the man herself. You are lying to me, mam, says Packy. From that she says bold, it is not up to me, Mr. Cant. Packy says he only gambled Cant was there, but by knowing the spy had gone that direction he should of been on the alert better and when these two come creeping behind him and at same time Cant runs out with hands up as decoy all he thought about in the instant was Cant and said, Cant, you low life chicken livered slithering toad on a dung heap. Why, you turn my stomach! Now, now, Gunter, says Cant with a big smile. I ain't that bad. We're all just trying to make a buck these days, you know how it is. Then Packy saw by Mrs. Cant's eyes there was someone back of him and he brung his gun around and it was getting late and first he only saw the little spy to the left of him and blew out his brains and come back around to get Cant that had gun in hand and he heard CantI wants'im alive! -so had a moment of confusion with the horse doing circles and Gunter not wanting to kill the lady just did manage to take off half Cant's upper leg just as the other man is springing clear up over his horse and corning down with him on its other side. This one, as Gunter puts it, is some kind of huge half breed brute, and had him helpless with the wind knocked out for the length of time it took for the great fist to come from the sky into his face, and while Gunter had some dreams about his past life which is Louisiana Catholic, the half breed brute flipped his hand gun up on the porch and rolled him over and got the knife Gunter carried under his shirt between his shoulder blades and flung that one on the porch and this fourteen inch chunk of blade might of been what tipped off Mrs. Cant into her faint and with all his peyote rumbling in and out his dreams Gunter could see Cant over there cussing out his wife while ripping up his pants to tie his remaining fat leg and the half breed brute ran over to tie it for him and this gave Gunter time to make his comeback. First he got on his feet and started running. But the brute was alert and right on top of him and they went rolling till the brute was next to ripping out Gunter's throat, and the brute carried a knife too and this time with Gun. ter's throat in his hand it was the knife rather than the fist way up there and from a far distance Gunter could hear Cant, please, Jack, this one is worth votes. All of that give Gunter time to think and his conclusion went that it would have to be mind over force from there on so when the brute put his knife back Gunter laid both thumbs in the brute's eyes and next twisting the force of that body in a direction seperate his own he made a mistake of ~iting the brute's hand and the brute near ripped his jaw off, tore Gunter's mouth all up inside, and Gunter is a fighter and jerked loose and dashed for the weapons on the porch and Cant was passed out and the almost blinded brute was nose to Gunter's trail all the way and Gunter just couldn't find a gun but snatched his knife by the ankles of Mrs. Cant and for a instant there he and the brute rolled on Mrs. Cant, enough to wake her to and then they went off the porch into the shrubery and she said something about get out of the geraniums and next they was in the middle of the yard in plain view and in a death lock the brute squeezing Gunter's wrist bones of his knife hand together and won't quit even with Gunter slicing him in his arm till the brute got his own knife and they broke off of each other. From there they took the fast look at each other's patterns and too fast for Gunter with the brute flinging blood and doing great wide ax chops over and under and back and forth till nearly out of sight of Mrs. Cant but not quite Gunter was backed crash into the pen of her milk goat, and just in time Gunter went double and through the rails with the brute cutting him through one boot, and Gunter was ready to finally make his move under that swipe which is a downward, and the milk goat caught him from behind and he was sure he was dead in a split second, and hung half in between the rails he was of a mind to get down and whip out some sort of final confession, although he decided on his way to try a desperate one and just did stick the brute in the belly, just barely and seems in that meantime the goat broke that downward sweep, got her spine severed and saved Gunter's life. Mrs. Cant wailed about her poor goat and under the goat the peyote was finally working good and Gunter knew just what to do and, as the brute snatches the goat off him, Gunter ups one arm shielding him from the interfering hoofs, and thrusts deep through the bars and his entire hand is buried in the brute's entrails. Take that, says Gunter. See what you can do with that one! But too, he was pretty winded, and by time he dumb back on through was started to having visions, something about barbarians and the dark ages, seems he and the woman knew each other out of some other life time, and as he wipes off his knife and fits it back between his shoulder blades and went finding his gun and then finding his shotgun and having some trouble finding his horse the woman has been running all around, tween her goat and geraniums and husband and neither her husband or goat or the brute yet dead-the brute on hands and knees trying to get strength for his comeback and just braces there over his pile of guts-and when ready to mount Gunter says, out of politeness and plus his dark secret kindness for all women, anything I can do for you, mam? Don't leave me here, she pleads. Please, oh please do not leave me here! Since he knew her from somewhere in another life, he told her to get on his horse, they would ride double, and then he grabbed her and pushed her up there because he heard horses up the road coming quick. They moved on out, she whimpering and babbling and mashing her bodice on his knife.

Next scene has Gunter with a face like a purple potato in his long hannels sitting and soaking his stabbed foot at Juanita's. Mrs. Cant has been talcing turns from states of shock to raving in madness and now is in Juanita's bed and will not get out and the boys have decided to give her treatment, and Juanita is mad about everybody coming into her house all the time and has gone with Tom Bowman to a bull fight, and Bix is boiling peyote and straining it through sheets to work it down in a medicine form. Yessir, says Gunter, I am sure what this woman needs is a sense of the cosmos and all eternal life force, get her off her god­damn western civilization environmental upbringing. I hope you know what you're doing, says Bix. Why I think so, yessir, hee, hee, hee. Damn, this water sure is hot, hee, hee, hee. If I had been one inch faster that bastard woulda got my little toe, hee. Well, Packy, why don't I put on a tub of water, because, man, what that woman needs is a good bath. Yeah, you're right on that one, throw'er on a tub of water, she stinks. Bix had a basin boiling and her tub of lavender water ready by time they had a good sized jar of the blackest peyote tar. She had gone into one of her fits again when Bix went in the back room to get her and Bix had a hard time till Gunter hollered out, goddamnit, woman, desist! If I could walk I'd come in there and beat you right now! Gunter had a hold on her in the first place, no doubt about it, and she fell back into her state of shock and Bix brung her in easy from there and took off her clothes and dropped her in the tub of lavender water and then poured the hot water and said she smelled so much better just getting out of those clothes. She ain't a bad little hellion, said Gunter. Give'er a couple spoons the medicine then bring me the jar cause I can use a little for my pain. Medicine, Bix told her, medicine, here, medicine, take the medicine, that's a good girl, um-m, good! She took a couple spoons without much trouble and then Bix and Packy had a couple. They had a short powwow on what to do about Cant, as Cant, crippled for life, still lived and had the countryside after Packy for white slavery, among other things. Next they went over to soap down the woman, Packy moving mostly on one foot. When they did this she smiled like a little girl so they named her Mary Ann. She never vomited or made the least fuss so they give her another couple spoons and took another couple apiece too. They forgot what they was doing and kept washing her over and over while first they worked out the problem of Cant and then they talked about their childhoods and oldest memories for a time. Then Mary Ann snapped out of it by complaining of her stomach ache. Hell, pour some milk down'er, says Gunter. We got any milk? Bix wandered off to find milk and had to go outside and ask the neighbors and this took some time but the neighbors was used to us and somebody give him the milk for some money and when he got back she was out of the tub and running around the house. Am I glad to see you, said Gunter. I just can't keep up with 'er on this foot. Come and have some milk, Mary Ann, Bix said. I want my clothes, she cries. Goddamnit, Mary Ann, says Gunter, you look fine! Don't she look fine, Bix? Why, yes, she sure does, said Bix. Come have some milk, Mary Ann. You know, says Packy. She ain't really a bad hellion. No, she ain't, Bix says. All she needs is work a little off here and there, Gunter says. Right, Bix? Right, Packy. Why, I betcha if ol' Mary Ann just had the right kinda attention and care she'd be a good looking old gal. Right, Packy. You're right on that one. Why are you looking at me like that, says Mary Ann. Then she got too excited and went on about heaven and hell and Bix had to wrestle her back down in the tub. Now look here, Mary Ann, says Gunter. Forget all that hogwash! You're Mary Ann and we're going to give you a bath and there just ain't no problems nowhere. They bathed her some more and by now started to feel her up and talk and would go, oh, look how she does when I do her tit this one, and the other would say, aw, look what she does when I do her down here this way, and the other, shit, man, now this here move beats all, and she was coming out of the tub so they kicked the tub aside and proceeded one thing from another into a little orgy. When Juanita and Tom finally come in they see everybody naked and there was Mary Ann done ever which way and tossing about on the earthern floor calling, more. Packy and Bix was tired and wanting to look at stars and asked Tom if he could step in for a spell but Tom thought he may as well take care of Juanita and Juanita screaming everybody get out, so Packy and Bix tied a sheet around Mary Ann and got themselves into some pants and boots and was out by time Juanita was throwing butcher knives and frying pans. Bix says it was getting time for a change anyway so now Tom took Juanita, and Packy and Bix run off with Mary Ann to find old Sieb. We're unarmed, said Bix. They run back to get their hardware and Juanita was crying and already in bed with Tom. What the hell do you want now, says Tom. Hold'er down there, Tom, they say, you take care of that one and we just got to get some knives by Bowie. See, they decided knives was more of the nature in the occasion and there was knives and guns at Juanita's and soon as they had a knife apiece on their belts they was back out in the weather. Mary Ann between these two half naked mountain men, each holds her hand and running through the streets of Juarez. In their other hands their knives because people was still out. Sieb! they called. Bob Sieb you old rascal! Now you get a insane woman in her later thirties and peyote or no she will get hard to handle at this point. Bob Sieb you old rascal! Sieb had been having a hard time with hisself and switching back and forth from a couple hotel rooms in town and the boys had to figure which one, if he was in at all, and they sniffed out the right one and waving their knives in its lobby got the information that he was out, and they thought to wait there but police came and Mary Ann then clung to Packy so the police went-we was getting kind of known in the town and breaking no big Mescan laws and spending money-so the boys took Mary Ann, that was now just a mite bit sweeter, out to intercept old Sieb and went in a bordello and there he sat sipping tequila by hisself at the bar. Bob Sieb you old rascal! Who is that young lady, says Sieb carrying on like a gentleman. Lady is right, says Gunter and very sincere. Why, she says lady written all over'er. Why, this I saw the very first time I saw'er, yessir! Take a bow, Mary Ann, say the boys, and Mary Ann looks fearfully about and then takes her bow and they have to re-tie the sheet. Give'er a hand there, Sieb, you old rascal, give'er a hand there, son, .yessir, whooee, my, lord o'mighty gosh! Sieb was clapping but now the several other girls in there were getting a little nasty and too the other couple fellows gathering around and gawking, and the bouncers getting nervous so Sieb said he could see she was sensitive as a doe fawn and let's get'er outta here. With that they all run back out and flagged down a coach and as Sieb understood they had come from the hotel he took them to his other hotel, said a man can never be too careful these days. They got her into this room and she was hard to handle again so they stroked her and called her duchess and told her she was tired and needed her beauty rest and she complained about being thirsty and they give her a jar of water with a spoon of tequila, and she complained how she did not want to get drunk. This is your night cap, Mary Ann, girl, now settle down, said Packy. Who is he? she points to Sieb. Sieb sitting there breathing hard, had not had any that day. They told her how this was just old Uncle Sieb and she was crying and scared of Uncle Sieb so they told Sieb to run down to Juanita's and be getting that jar of peyote medicine and they would be putting her to bed. This Sieb did and as he was out they set about soothing her and giving her drinks of tequila water, but she was growing more and more unreasonable. Sieb got on back with the jar though Juanita had cut his finger and they carried on from there. There were some other problems, such as having to take Mary Ann out to the water closet and seeing to maids bringing her in more water but by and by they had her take more medicine and they all took some. In no time she come back around, forgot who she was and wanted more loving. You step in now, they said to Sieb, cause she has to get used to you. From there, she and Sieb started doing alright, and Packy said to Bix, whew, am I tired. That woman is a lot of trouble. Let's go out to get some fresh air. They left and did not want to have to go around by Juanita's to get their horses just yet so had to walk all night getting to Packy's house.

Cant was a mighty angry man. After marrying Mary Ann he was in the chips while he was at it and his men got word from the Juarez police department how two half naked devils run through the wind in Juarez with a woman and the woman was wrapped in nothing but one sheet and the devils waving knives and that the woman appeared to be Anglo and could have even been his wife, but that they did nothing illegal before they disappeared. If we just don't rob no Mescan banks, said Packy. We should get by. I should hope so, complied Bix, and the two of them boiled down more peyote and strained it through sheets and laid it out in the sun to dry like chile pepper and then they sniffed it like snuff. With Sieb it went a little different, and then the police department caught Mary Ann when she run through the streets with no sheet. She was sent back over to Capt and Sieb was the last man seen with the woman and the Juarez police decided to comply with Cant and the Texas Rangers and capture Sieb. But before everyone got orga­nised Mary Ann poisoned Cant and went back east. These things Sieb picked up from some whores that knew some police. The matter blew over and Packy Gunter Inc. remained at large. Sieb stayed out of town after that. Isee I have been doing some repeating about how tough life was getting to be. But no damn joke. Packy had a nice little hacienda, had three fat maids, said he didn't want no one after his maids, one to cook, one to wash, one to clean up, and he had a hot mineral bath in his patio. When we brung in Old Dave we gathered at his place to rest, and started off in a big talk on what we were going to do. We flung off our clothes and sniffed peyote and we all, Sieb, Packy, Bix, Hatch, Dan, Dave, me, Sat in a circle in Packy's pool, with Tom still out doing his relationship with Juanita. The maids kept a lookout, kept the pipes heated, brung us anything we called for. Heat those pipes, damnit, we would holler. Or, more barbeque! Or, hey, anybody coming yet, what's those horses I hear off in the distance? Or, here comes Dan on his way to the privy, watch out, he has been known to rape fat women, Maria! Maria was the cook. We had not talked long before Hatch said, hell, we been over all this a million times in the first place. Now, what we need to talk about is just what in the hell we are going to do about it all. But I got that one worked out a long time ago, Dan said. And we all listened for a time to Dan and his visions, but along about sundown we was spreading out and a rider was spotted on the horizon, and this one was coming our way, and Sieb was on the roof and he spotted the rider because the fat maids had all three settled down in the patio and smoking cigarillos and sipping coffee as was always their custom after work, even as this evening to their thrill and amazement they had a bunch of big naked crazy outlaw gringos, their patron among them, crossing back and forth. I remember these maids well. All three maybe a inch neath five feet and say going between one thirty and one fifty pounds, little dumplings, mamas which had all reached age forty, all had a man somewhere or other and all capable of bringing over children at times, Maria, Gabriella, Consuelo and Consuelo had a infant on her breast there and did most the talking and they was plumb delighted with this break of monotony, even as they would not thed smoke no loco weed, and this rider on the horizon was Senora Gutierrez, and I did not even know she could ride. I guess this is where the Senora first begin to get corrupted, and this was before I even tried to deal with her out on the mountain. She come in there with riding breeches neath her dress and she is a fair sized and strongly built Mexican woman with great breasts and like I say somewhat voluptuous body and is domineering. She was mad at me and doing her style more than she normally did, hands on hips and cussing me out, said I was staying here then so was she and to prove it took off her riding breeches in front of everybody and tucked them under her arm and asked one of the gals for a cigarette, and naturally the gals was resenting this interruption of events so I finally dumb out of that wonderful pool and took her to a bedroom somewhere. This brung on just a little more chatter and less fear from Maria, Gabriella, Consuelo, and Consuelo put her infant to bed and said that pool looked so good she just about felt like sitting down in it herself, and the boys all said she really ought to in that case. Then everybody in that pool except Gunter decided to quiet down and get the gals in there too, but Sieb was still up on the roof keeping his fearful lookout but would every now and then spoil things and holler down at them, save some of that pussy for me. The gals didn't speak English but they could understand that, but lit some candles and sat in the chairs with their skirts going up a little and asked the boys about their past lives. On this the boys talked and spared no details but Packy would throw things off again by comment such as, don't believe a word of it, and, Maria, you keep showing off your butter thighs and I might forget you are my cook and then where will we be. Hatch tried to dunk Gunter at one point but the water was only two feet. Too, it was getting cold, so Gunter told Maria to go heat up the pipes. But, I am your cook, she said. Hell, I can't remember, he said. But somebody do it. Consuelo heard her infant bawling so she went to do it. Now Gabriella was the quiet one. She had been sitting there smoking and not showing her legs too much but everybody could see her little eyes starting to gleam out of the dark and darting hither and thither. Seems Bix got tired of the bull corn because he got a hard on and raised it up free of the water and Maria put her hands over her mouth and Gab riella giggled. Ho, Gabriella speaks, said Bix. What's that you say, Gabriella, hey? Maria crossed herself and made like she was going to leave but suddenly Gunter takes a change of mind about it all and stands and says, hold on there, Maria, just because my friends are all fiends, and Gunter crosses his arms and jerks his chin for her to keep her chair and, under­stand, Gunter is built something like a horse, no lie, and under sheer amazement both gals forgot everything for a moment, and Gunter, sensing some kind of moment of glory, says, c'mere, Maria! Ven Aca! She stood but was hesitant and Dan naturally lost his head and ups and in a flash has hold of her and Gunter lost his temper and flung Dan back in the water and Maria went in with him and there commenced a great big wrestling match wherein Maria was close to drowned and then everybody was yelling don't hurt'er and take it easy on'er and she yelling help me, please help me and Consuelo had run out to see the activity and she and Gabriella stood yelling, we can do nothing, we can do nothing, and in the meantime I had even got Senora Gutierrez to sniff a little peyote because I was given a hard time getting to her but it did do her wonders except now, and I still had not even got any in, she runs out stark naked to steal the show again and takes a mop and goes to knocking everybody in the pool in the head with it. Hatch snatched the mop and snapped it cross his knee and flung it up on the roof. Of course, Sieb was standing up there yelling save some for me, and added for Hatch to not be so reckless. So finally Gunter has his cook in his arms and is showing great strength dragging her screaming off to his bedroom, and is saying, cook or no, cook or no, and then from the bedroom Maria shrieks and moans and lets everyone know how she fought all the way and everything else happening. All this has its influence on the other gals, and they was, afterall, about forty-two years old apiece, and Senora Gutierrez was now wandering up and down in a huff, so Consuelo and Gabriella said they would join the boys in the pool because it was such a hot night, if the boys would be nice. They went in with their clothes on and told the boys to tell them about their past lives, starting in just before they was interrupted. Sieb come off the roof then, but later on Old Dave took to worrying and went up to be lookout.

Toward dawn he is joined by Sieb and Hatch. Think we'll ever get outta all this alive, ponders Hatch. I dunno, I jus dunno, Old Dave says. Then Dave says, looking out over the land, but, somebody is going to have to pay for all this. He is referring to the killing, which is understood and Sieb brings in The Mark Of Cain and Hatch says, I don't mind the killing but what I don't like is getting killed or crippled for life myself. I tried to get outta all this but I just can't seem to make it. We are cursed, says Sieb, cursed. Well, I got a rich little filly in Laredo and I know she loves me, says Old Dave. You're going down with the rest of us, says Hatch. Nosir, nosir, not me, says Old Dave. Look, Dave, just because you always try to put someone else up to doing it for you doesn't mean you fool God too, har, har. Well, well, I dunno, I jus dunno. Aw shit, says Hatch. I look at it like this. If there was a God in the sky, he would not care what you do. Aw, no, Hatch, don't say that, says Old Dave. Why should he? You're on your own, Dave, har, bar. Sieb finally says, we are all elements of the cosmic life force, and it is natural law that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Well, well, I dunno, Ijus dunno, says Old Dave.

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