Chapter Six
(Of Man and Law) Untitled

CHANGING TIMES

We was nobody in good mood except Packy, and he and Tom went and got The Doc to come out to Juanita's house and fix us up, on the edge of Juarez kind of, and we laid low there, down on the river. There was chickens and ninos there and some friendly neighbors in the neighborhood, and Juanita was in love with Bix at this time and said to us these neighbors were all very good people. All these neighbors down on that end of town were respectful of the aunt of Juanita and that good woman was Senora Gutierrez, a widow and sort of comely while she was at it, and the neighbors was liking us for winning that big fight with the riff raff from the other side of the river and all of them pledged vows to see we stayed safe from the Texas Rangers or anybody like that. Like I said, nobody was in good mood none except for Packy because of saving the day and also The Doc because he was making good money and starting to like us and old Tom Bowman was cheerful much of the time and Bix was doing O.K. Dan had kind of collapsed by the time we got in and we sat at Senora Gutierrez's house and talked about how things was bad and it was not as easy to have fun like in the old days. Black Hatch was saying maybe instead of going south he would just get hitched somewhere to a Christian white woman and go straight and get to Heaven and all and not even have to eat peyote or nothing before he got his ass killed. This made me feel sorrowful because after getting that slug along his neck he was getting all messed up just like a white man and when I said this he informed me it looked like I was loosing my touch because I was gaff, gaff goes Hatch- loosing my touch because I took so long to beat that feller up in El Paso and I almost got beat up while I was at it. Gaff, gaff, Olive, for awhile there I thought maybe he had you, gaff. Hatch, I just can't understand it, goddamnit, I had kicked and hit him so much and did not kill him so I am sure he is the toughest man I ever beat up. Olive, you're loosing your touch, gaff. I felt real bad because here I was still sad about Wayhe and after that in El Paso I had kicked a man in his short neck and he then went and made me a mean fight of it and now I was so bunged up in my right leg and the left one was bad too so that it no lie took me damn near two goddamn years later before I was seeing this right leg back to normal, and in the mean time there was mucho back trouble too. I tell you I was a crippled man there at Senora Gutierrez's and as the good woman did put me and Sieb up I had to hear Sieb moaning all night long for must of been a week fore he was to quieten down. El Sieb is getting old, is what he said in the day time. Old Sieb is getting old. In a night or two I had crawled into Senora Gutierrez's room to see about getting some rest and at first she thought I was a lobo wolf, she said, and why did I not walk on two feet like a human being. Senora Gutierrez, said I. You know how it is, my back being broke and all and Sieb in there frothing at the mouth and keeping me up unto the wee hours. If I can get some rest I might be able to come out of this condition and be good as new. Poor man, you come to here, she said. Now Sieb was in a bad way with that cactus thorn poisoning and I can remember when he and I went to Mexico City and I got this ear infection and was out of my head with pain and fever, and cussing and howling and old Sieb stayed right with me through it all and pulled me through. He had brought me water and I cussed him for it and later was dying of thirst and he was out finding a doctor and I loved him for leaving me that big jug of water. So now when he needed something and The Doc was off doing something else I would give Senora Gutierrez directions from her bed as to what be doing about Sieb as only could I get clear things he was talking about and the Senora was a good widow and happy so long as we bought all the groceries and paid her for her chickens and eggs and one day Sieb even had a talk with the Virgin Mary. Naturally it was nothing spectacular like his religious experience that time he fought with the cockroach but it did dampen my spirits some more because it made it seem like he was getting lazy like Black Hatch. By the time Packy lost his good spirits because of reports he had of the Texas Rangers being after him, well, I was starting in worrying about the situation of the gang. The good folks were closing in and it was looking like we had to go south or do something of some drastic nature, and the gang was gloomy and it was hard to tell just what was in their minds. Dan was maybe the only one I knew would not go soft on me but I did not want to have to put up with him just by myself and go off on any more projects with just him only. He was hobbling around on a cane about that tirne and talking about how he had been living too fast and was going to slow down before he was old before his time and I saw he was getting restless and most likely about to make some foolish move if things did not look up some. In fact he and Bix had got drunk in town and were trying to walk back to where Bix and Juanita were making house and they were staggering along in the rain arm in arm on Dan's cane and, straight as I can get it, they was in a healthy mood due to this fresh rain and there was this Texas Ranger that asked Dan if he was Packy and Dan said it did not make no difference what sonofabitch he was because he was in Mexico and this Texas Ranger got off his horse to show Dan a warrant for him if he was Packy Gunter and so Bix said hit him with your cane Danny because it is against the law for him to arrest you in Mexico and so there was this fight with Dan hitting the Texas Ranger with his cane and Bix did his part by holding Dan up on his feet while Dan whaled the daylights out of that Texas Ranger feller. When Packy heard of this he said oh my god now they will get me for sure, and was mad for Dan making the Texas Ranger think it was him did it. So it was about this time when we were empty of weed and needing to have a pow wow and thinking maybe we should hunt up some more peyote except Packy said please no, if you boys eat more peyote I just know you will do something, kill a Texas Ranger or something, and they will get me for sure.

Kelly and his partner Jaime Acosta showed up, as they had been on our trail ever since we held up the bank in Nuevo just about. See, my brothers had been kind of settled down, Miguel teaching in a public school house where they wanted somebody to instruct those young men, down on the Texas coast, and Kelly was married and Kelly thought he would like to take some kind of little trip and so when our old man heard about this poor ass bank job and the trouble I was in he said Kelly, go find Bill and see if you can bring him back down where I can have a talk with him because your poor mother is worried sick and also see if you can keep him out of any further trouble with old John Law, and so here was Kelly then and with Jaime Acosta because Jaime wanted to join up with my gang and have a life of fun. Jaime, me lad, said I~after all the greetings and salutations and he and me and Kelly and Sieb and by and by all of us was settling down there at the Senora's to partake of this finest weed of Jaime's papa, now Jaime, it ain't no fun nomore, goddamn, Jaime, they da~n near killed us in Nuevo and though we had us some party since I must admit, it is looking like my partners is getting scared of the dangers involved in this life of violence, women, adventure, or getting old on me one, I don't know exactly which. Sieb got out of his bed for the first time in a week and came into the Senora's room where we was gathering and was getting his piece in for the second time in his life ahead of Packy could get his in and he didn't even have time to be warmed up good before Hatch sprung into the room saying Olive what's this about you saying Black Hatch is losing his guts you goddamned chicken livered squaw man, hello, Jaime, Kelly, say, I just got it on the grapevine about you fellers kicking some shit as you went through El Paso on your way here, what happened, gaff, gaff, gaff? Jaime had been trying to shout down Packy and Sieb to tell me how much fun he and Kelly had been having in El Paso just before they found us, and they had been eating and sleeping a couple of days at this hotel and noticing how much fear and respect they was getting and knew Kelly was supposed to be me again even with him six feet tall and weighs two hundred pounds when he's rested and they was trying to stay out of sight until they could get it straight what had happened in that town, did the bank get robbed or what, and had called off their maid service and fixed a trip wire with a shotgun at the door so if some-body shot through the lock they had a good chance of getting killed by opening the door just enough to see the door blown apart by this sawed off shotgun, which Kelly and Jaime had come by after a little encounter with some Apaches that had just wiped out the stagecoach, see, the stagecoach drivers had this fool idea of hiding one guard inside the coach with a sawed off shotgun so to be getting a little jump on Apaches if they was to get in close, but it did not work, the stagecoach jump on the Apaches, because Kelly and Jaime saw the entire fight from on a ridge and what happened was that when this bunch of Apaches made their second big rush some of them come in ahead of the coach and plugged one of the mules, and the man inside with the sawed off shot-gun for protecting the ladies was a lousy shot and when that mule went down it threw him off so bad he fired both barrels and missed everybody and as the armed escort had fanned out some to let him get in his big load of.buck shot the Apaches got through and was cleaning house on the stagecoach because the armed escort was trying not to hit the ladies and was having to meet them Apaches for some hand to hand and got beat. So when the show was coming to close and some of the Apaches was off trying to run down the several escaping armed guard and Kelly and Jaime saw there was this couple of females out of that stagecoach about to get captured by the Apaches they made the decision of using up their tired horses for a rescue, and the rescue worked. They got a couple of Apaches apiece besides fresh mounts, fresh as those Apache mounts might of been, fresh mounts for the girls too and got away in time while they were at it. Then, as these two girls what had come west of the Pecos to work in some of the bawdy houses did not want to ride day and night to stay ahead of these Apaches and get to El Paso, Kelly and Jaime saw the whole thing as impracticable, that El Paso was about a day and a night at least ahead of the lives of those little horses, even with it raining and so they had water and all in the puddles right on that stagecoach trail, and the girls was squabbling back and forth among each other and everybody and each time they took off from the trail to outsmart the Indians they was complaining of being tired and even with Kelly explaining to them the whole thing each time, so Kelly said, look, my brother Bill says one good way for a white woman to become a woman is to live among the Comanches, and I figure the Apaches will do just about as good, and besides that, you are about to get us all killed, so I tell you what, me and Jaime are going to stay off the trail and you ladies can stay on the trail. But what is funny about it is, so Kelly and Jaime say, more than anything these girls was mad about Kelly insulting their womanhood, of which they was mighty proud, so anyway, the girls was left to live with the Apaches and Kelly and Jaime had to settle with only the sawed off shotgun as booty, being as their horses was about as tired as the two they traded to the Apaches. So they had this shotgun rigged over a chair set to blast the door, but the thing is they did not expect to have the entire door knob blasted off first, not knowing that insane owner of The Bent Hand House Of Chance And Love like we did, and that is what that man did, had brought his own famous sawed off shotgun up there and with howls and blasphemous talk blew that hotel door in two and disconnected the trap. Which also destroyed the boy's new shotgun. Next came a rolling wave of the hired thugs and riff raff of that bartender and as Kelly and Jaime had on the shotgun blast overturned Jaime's bed for some sudden cover they had that rolling wave rolling all through the room and everywhere and a couple even rolled out a window and down the little sloping roof and crashed into a horse trough and setting off a minor stampede through the streets of El Paso there and that was how Big Dallas Stoudenmire found out the big fight up in The Good Taste Hotel, and a veritable surge from the elements was this wave of riff raff going over the boy's mattress and trampled bed frame and Kelly got trampled under that mattress and for a time was not to be found and the bunch was rolling this way and that trying for a shot at Jaime Acosta that was going this way and that with them over the room hit-ting on them with a leg of his trampled bed and for effect was screaming at them you got the wrong man, you got the wrong man, why do you want to kill me for, I'm just a poor Mescan. Then it was the riffraff stopped maybe to wonder and you saw they was no longer a rolling wave but just about a dozen drunken riffraff minus say six for wounded and missing in action, and they pulled back from Acosta and apologized and then made the decision of shooting him down and Kelly came up with that mattress and a grand roar and caught about four of them and drove them out into the hall by kind of wrapping them in that mattress that come alive and that gave Acosta the time to be slugging the couple of them that Kelly didn't catch. The bartender had disappeared somewhere, it seems, Kelly and Jaime said they never saw him at all, and Marshall Stoudenmire got there about the time Kelly and Jaime was packed up to leave town. Stoudenmire was coming slowly up the stairs looking at the four men on those stairs with their broken heads and limbs by Kelly Olive, just kind of coming up those stairs cautious like and when he saw the boys on their way down he stopped in the middle of the stairway and when they met him halfway Stoudenmire tipped his hat with politeness and said howdy. Howdy they answered him and then Stoudenmire said you'd think a hotel with the name of Good Taste would keep their stairs cleaned off. Yeah, you would they said back and it was down at the bottom of the stairs they had some more word from Stoudenmire. Say, boys? Still in the middle of the stairs among all that shit and piss and puke and blood and human stench the Marshall said, say boys? Say, you wouldn't by any chance know what took place here, would you? I mean, near as I can judge it, these cluttered stairs is mostly as a result of a single action of human depravity. Also, near as I judge it, seems to have all happened a short while ago. See, this feller here is still sort of conscious, and, judging from the coarseness of his speech, there is a chance he could, by and by, get up and leave on his owm two feet. That is, if both his legs are not broke. So, if I may ask you boys a little official question, do you have any information you can pass on to me regarding this most base state of this hotel, any information at all that may allow me to carry on my duties as Marshall of this sorry town? Kelly and Jaime stepped apart a bit because they saw the Marshall was a determined sort of man when it came to his work, and they told him no, we're just a couple of honest cowpunchers. I did not ask you what you were, said the Marshall. In other words, boys, I want to know who it was commited this piece of outrage up and down these stairs in my town. I'm just a poor Mescan said Jaime and he hadn't yet washed off his sleeves real good either. We're just trying to get back to the ranch. Yeah, said Stoudenmire. We got an awful lot of poor Mescans in this town. Too goddamned many of them, way I see it. Marshall, Kelly said and pulled loose a pistol to wave at the top of the stairs and leaned on the head of the banister there for effect. The Marshall was hunched out with his guns in a jiffy and slipping around on the messy stairs, and Kelly said he was a fast man, just that he had a mind that was dulled with too many details. Marshall, I think if you mosey on upstairs and go knock on door eleven you may get some answers. There is no door there, Kelly. Say, Jaime, that is true. There is no door for room eleven, but I got a hunch that if you was to walk right on in and have some words with that bunch of riff raff up there, you might be finding out a thing or two. Marshall Stoudenmire was all sweaty by then and clutching onto his guns and said, is that a fact now? Say, where in hell is all the other folks around this stinking place? I mean, the ones that run it, as an example? Damned if I know where they are, do you know where they are, Jaime? No. Because Ijust all the time mind my own business. Goddamn, but this a creepy goddamned stinking place, ain't it, said Stoudenmire. Say, he asked Kelly. You are a big fellow, ain't you? Not as big as you, sir, spoke Kelly, and this settled with Stoudenmire. Well, I see you have the handle of Kelly, said Stoudenmire. Yes, I do. Well, I always liked the Irish, myself. Never was a harder working bunch or was ever a tougher bunch of men in a fight, the Irish. You might say that, said Kelly. Say, Marshall, is there something on your mind? I mean, me and old Jaime here, we have to be getting along, have some fences to be mending, you know, way everybody's using fences these days, you know, yessir, we have to be getting along and putting up this strip of barbed wire before our herds start running away. Yeah, said Stoudenmire. I understand, Kelly, you and old Jaime better be getting along, I understand that, and I am glad your name is not Bill Olive, Tom Bowman, or even Packy Gunter. I mean, I heard tell Wild Bill Olive had come back to town to challenge me to a fist fight. But I am mighty glad to see you are not him, yessir. You are right on that, Kelly smiled and using both hands to play with his pistol, flopping his pistol around in his hands like a little toy, slap, slap, yeah, Marshall. Say. Marshall, would you be knowing where Wild Bill went? Just smiling down on his pistol. He went to Juarez, said Stoudenmire. I hope to God he stays out of my town, too. Adios, said Kelly turning to go and pulling out another pistol and Jaime pulled out his pistols and they could hear Stoudenmire slipping some more up on the stairs. Also there was this loud wailing from upstairs just starting up. Kelly is kind of dramatic and he acted all this out for us while everybody induldged in Senor Acosta's finest, and our moods got better. Said Packy, just what did that sonofabitch Stoudenmire mean when he said "even" Packy Gunter, goddamnit.

By the time Bix and Juanita had joined us and everybody was there we started having a big talk. I was sitting up in Senora Gutierrez's bed and flexing the legs and back and could see I had improved and I said, Bix, whatta you think? And Bix said, well, Dan, whatta you think? There was a little rivalry beginning between those two Scorpions for Juanita. and so Dan said let's move on. Maybe so, said Bix. Don't know. I am familiar with Juanita. Juanita was real happy to hear that Bix was familiar with her and Hatch said he thought it was alright about Bix was familiar with Juanita and that he might get married himself. Shit, said Packy. Packy was sad about the Texas Rangers spoiling his operations and he said no woman will marry a pirate. No woman need concern herself about my past, Hatch said. That's right, said Sieb. And if you think Dan is horny you ought to know more about Sieb. The main difference was that Dan could fool women about being crazy and Sieb most of the time could not, and Sieb said that no woman need concern herself with a man's past. Hum, said I. In that case do not concern yourself with your woman's past either, and that is how you can marry yourself a good white woman, Black Hatch. Eat shit, Olive, you're no help, said Black Hatch. The good Senora had been wandering around and maybe getting nervous because here were all these gray eyed wolves smoking loco weed in her house and she once told me it was difficult to understand why I was named Wild Bill be-cause I was so sweet and easily handled and all and just worrying about the lives of my brothers was all, and she fixed us this coffee to keep us civilized and it was real good and we drank it up and kept talking and smoking and she fixed us more and we drank that too and I guess for one thing she was getting attached to me and so by and by was getting to be the life of the party kind of, shouting at people and being a dominating female and she would not even smoke any weed and was drunker than anybody there just because of her brown woman's passion and she messed up the coversations for a time. But that black coffee and good weed was getting together and making its impressions and we did not mind waiting her out, she was good entertainment and had her style down pretty good and in a little while she got into bed with me and I hugged on her and the conversation was coming back together but even better this time. Now, what was it, said Black Hatch. Hatch, I was only talking about real things. Well, fuck shit. Now what was that again, Hatch? Now what was that you said again? I mean, Wild Bill hits him with a blow that was so long in coming it was oughta be the kind of death dealing blow that was oughta be chopping into old Lem's face so that it's like he was hit with a rifle butt because of the sound of it, heh, heh, gaff. Shit, Hatch, said Packy. You ever see a bigger face on a human being in your goddamn life than the face this one old Lem had? Ever see it, Hatch? Whatta you say, Hatch, hah, hey? Ah, says Hatch. Fuck shit. Ah, fuck shit. Could we have a vote on fuck shit, says Bowman. Hatch, I say fuck shit, says Bowman, and I bet you Olive says fuck shit, too. Well, goddamned man, says I, I been explaining that, goddamn. Sieb said well let me explain this and what he wanted to know was we going to be at home in the space of our lifetimes or was we not. Fuck shit, maybe never, Hatch said. Well, Packy says, whether we do or whether we never do, I say to you, I say to you, did you ever see a face bigger on a human being, and I venture to say most of it bone, too. Well, fuck shit. Bix said he wouldn't mind staying here until we got well and then going and kicking some shit in Nuevo Laredo and then we could all live in Texas up until we went south. Bix, said Packy. Man, that sounds about like most of your in-sane big thoughts. I thought so, said Bix. From the fever of his mind Dan asked do you think we will ever get out of here. Oh yeah, Packy said. Say, Olive, what's your stand on that? So I told them how I was not physically able to move so had no choice to make. It don't make a shit, eh, said Packy. It don't make a shit to you, eh, Olive? Wild Bill, said brother Kelly. Why don't you come and see the parents a bit first? Nobody will give us any shit and we can stay out of the populated areas. Aw, no, Kelly, said Jaime. The trouble is, said Sieb getting emotional. I don't got no home, sniff, sniff. Well, that settles it, said Bowman, fuckshit. The way I see it, Kelly said, Wild Bill should go see his poor old mom. Aw, no, Kelly, Jaime said. You know, said Hatch, there is a new era begun. Sure, said Packy. But at least you don't have these Texas Rangers on your ass. Aw, shutup, Gunter, said Dan. We're all in this together and I got enough goddamned troubles without you hanging some of yours on me. Shit, Dan, you just don't. Look here everybody, went Hatch. It's time for Black Hatch to tell a story. Tell us one of your famous stories, Hatch, spoke Wild Bill with his troubles of getting a little nuckey in and then getting out of it, and besides, Black Hatch is the best story teller there is. Well, spoke Hatch with a manly draw from the pipe. Even though he came off a ship, Hatch looked like one of the oldtimers, one of the old squawmen, trappers, the like, old men wild as any men ever was. Well, said Hatch. This is a story ain't been told before. Anycase, ain't been told right. So starting off with those couple little lies he said he was going to tell about the time he met Wild Bill Olive. See, he says, me and Packy went down to the Olive's spread when we left Galveston behind. This was some years back when most people agreed on that Wild Bill could throw anybody in Texas. Or Louisiana, for that matter. Before Kelly here got big. I said aw shit, Hatch, you're already tangled up on that story. Shut up, Olive, I'm telling this. Anyway. Me and Packy got a big feed of mullet from the Brownrats, yeah, I remember it clear now, hee hee, that's the way it was, and we got John Brownrat and Jim Brownrat to come ride up with us to see the Olives which I had heard so much fool talk about, heh, heh, heh, yarr, gaff. Yeah, Mike Olive and Bill Olive was both out building a big pile of wood for their mama, haw, haw, haw, gaff, gaff, yarr. Haw, haw, it's coming in clear as a bell now, yarr, gaff, gaff. Tell us your goddamned story, Hatch! Well, you keep Olive here quiet and I will! So we come up and I see these two Olive boys out there at the wood pile with with no shirts on working like devils to be pleasing their poor old momma. Mrs. Olive had her plenty of cooking wood but she wanteci even more wood than that in case she got cold and it was even in the month of April, har, har, gaff. First, I sees Miguel, and he's a going real hard at this big log, to be chopping it in two, and he is at it real fierce and we ride up and he waves kind of at us and he goes right on at that log to show us all how hard and springly he is and I can see he is not going to stay with that pace he set because he ain't even half way down in to that big log and Packy claps for him and we all just ride in and reach a halt and wait there for him to get tired and he just keeps on breaking into that big log. Next here comes Wild Bill Olive and he is dragging another big log out of the brush. Wild Bill Olive is soaked wet and built like some statue and this he knows and so he even has something to say about sound mind comes from sound body or some such shit and he has one end of this tree he brung down over his shoulder and there is his ax stuck in at the top and he comes in and a pulling this big tree trunk like he is Hercules and he shows how he likes his little part in the Olive legend, heh, heh. Then Packy has got down and he wants to spell Mike, says he needs to get in his daily exercize himself, and they go to tussling over Mike's ax. Mike is sweaty and greasy and Packy slips off him and falls over the log and nearly got cut on the ax. Give'im ten minutes, says Bill Olive. Mike, take pity on poor Packy, give'im ten minutes so as for him to get his daily exercize and then we can get back to work. Now, both these Olive boys was breathing like demons and I was wondering at the insanity in which they worked. I was wondering about all them things I had heard about these Olive brothers and I was thinking why they must be real mad men, and I wasn't wanting no trouble with them, no sir. That's what I was thinking at first, see, but then, I started studying this shit-eating grin Bill has, and I began to realize, why this man is plumb conceited. Now, Miguel, he was a little nicer, see. Packy was using some of his fat on that log, shut up, Gunter, hold your piece, I'm telling this one, O.K., hard fat, Gunter is using his what he calls hard fat on that log and I dismounts and shakes hands with Miguel and then Bill drops his log he's been standing under with his shit-eating grin, that's right, Olive, you stood right there under that damn log till you decided to be polite enough to introduce yourself, and you had been prodding me on the entire time with your worst shit~ating grin, yeah, that's right, and I says to Miguel, say, is all this true I hear about you boys, and Miguel says, well, maybe part of it, but Bill, he says, why Bill says that most of it I will never get to hear at all, that's right, that's just what you had to say to me then, why you said you hope most of it will never get out. Goddamn, I said to Miguel. Hope you aren't conceited like your brother here. Then, Miguel, he says, aw, Bill don't mean nothing, he just likes to try people out, see if they're good enough to be in his gang. See, both these Olive brothers was pushing me, but it took me a time to catch on because Miguel was a little more crafty about it. Fact of it was, fact of it was, even Gunter had to be in on it then, because he was the first to bring up that me and Bill might have us a wrestling match as sport, and I had thought that Gunter was my friend, but they was all prodding me on, even those Brownrat boys started prodding me on. Now, now, I did not want to be wrestling with no greasy squawman, no I did not, and the only reason I did get halfway worked up to be tossing old Bill around was because he was showing by his shit-eating face just how he didn't think I was worth the goddamned trouble, why, no he did not think I was even worth the trouble. He was saying how he had all this work to do, just as if he was inclined to work thataway everyday, just as if a squawman was not lazy or nothing like that, no, he was saying he appreciated all the respect, but thanks all the same, boys, I just have to get this big old log chopped up before I play out, and before the sun goes down, and before my dear mother starts getting cold. So by and by I says, Wild Bill. I am tired of all this goddamned fool talk. Let us go a real quick one. So maybe your goddamned friends will shut up. Then along come Mr. Olive, the father. He had just driven past in a buckboard full of grain, and he was just walking up to see what kind of bad company his boys was bringing around, just about the time I got carried away and grabbed old Wild Bill in a neck hold and brung him real hard on against the ground. Now, I am real good with a neck hold and Wild Bill could not do anything about it afore he was passing out on us and he spread his fingers open in sign of defeat and so everybody was yelling that I had him beat and to turn him loose. So I got off him and he was close to passed out and Mr. Olive was tickled plump to death, why he thought it was down right funny. He shook my hand real hard and said why, Bill it looks like this man is too much for y6u, say, what did you say your name was, Hatch? Then Wild Bill stands up and said I took him by surprise and that he hadn't exactly thought I was that strong nohow. Said he had to have another turn. So we had another turn and it was exactly'the same, I got my neck hold on him and took'im on down to the ground and he had to surrender once again afore he passed out. So then he had to go again and I did it to him again, cept this time he starts pounding in my ribs and his old man had to telI'im no fist blows that was against the rules and that Hatch had'im beat. Well, it took Wild Bill a long time to get over his big defeat by Black Hatch. Why, he moped around like a sick dog for a week after that trying to get me in a rematch. He was telling me he had been real tired from all that hard work he'd been doing and he hadn't had no idea I was very strong anyway. Finally, I think it was about a week later, I give in to him and let him have his little rematch, and I let him win that time so he would not be feeling so bad. I had started feeling sorry for him by then, haw, haw, gaff, gaff, haw, haw.

Maybe I should of got a might bit riled at Hatch's wee distortions in history about our Texas Gang. You might think that. Well, I lay on my back and I thought about it all deeper than that. See, here was Senora Gutierrez with her voluptuous body sent to ease the ache in my backbone, and over there, and in places, sat my old compadres, hard men all of them. These were fellows what liked living better than working for a living, yes. Can't say that about every kind of human life, no, you cannot. It was hard men all of them, now, because there had come change in the times, and it was harder and harder to take life easy. I guess a man can take a store of weed and a peaceable woman friend like that one I rested with and go find some mountain and river where he can dodge everybody and not be so restless. Guess too he ought to, yeah.

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