Outside New Orleans Captain Jack and his boys had to unload fifty tons into a barge because the vans were one night late. They were tired, said, let's call the Olive brothers. In the eyes of these others, we Olive brothers are strong, in good shape. We are three, but in Texas it is Kelly and me. From this one, these guys would call me "Mr. Bale." We work from the hold, tossing the bales up, maybe weighing averagely fifty pounds, and the work moves faster. This is why they cut us in at the last, called Kelly who lived in San Antonio, who contacted the Ho11ar Service Station in Austin where in my truck with Griz I slept. In this neighborhood Clarksville, best neighborhood in Austin, I left Griz with old friend, Trooper. On the San Antonio freeway my '65 Dodge pickup faltered, and slowed, finally making it to about a mile away from Kelly's place. I jogged on in, unaware of pressing time element, arms overhead waving, I made it, yay! He growled in his front yard, let's go, we're late. We jumped in his truck and towed my truck to his yard. We just caught the San Antonio plane that would allow us to sprint through the terminal in Dallas and board that one to New Orleans. It was a long sprint and I had to stretch out to stay with Kelly, split my last pair of old jeans fully, besides I don't wear underwear. Kelly would give me his extra jeans. The terminal in Dallas is less cosmopolitan than the ones in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans - or to say more common are the fat rich louts in cowboy boots and hats and cropped hair, with expressions of local vision. We were slowly checked for weapons. I had to go back around because of my pocketknife. we boarded in time. Man, that run was starting to tire me, did you feel it? Naw, he said. Man, Wild Bill, you sure are getting some looks. We ordered Scotch.
A shrimp boat brings in fifty tons from Panama, people are on a high. Money spent, power felt. Texas Coastal Bend boys learn their better selves. A half eaten meal to a side, the Captain's brother-in-law, Skip, lounged on his hotel bed. Roll yourself one, he said. Bill's pretty hungry, said Kelly. Here's the menu, said Skip, and pressed the button. I'd like a shower, I said. Griz and I living out of the truck, I had not had many showers lately. Kelly and I ate some filet mignon, but three of those sissie plates could have sufficed me. Care for a drink? said Skip. We would be busy in a couple of hours, Olive brothers once again heroes of a night.
From Skip's hotel we went to a motel room, full of reunion and camaraderie, sickeningly clouded with cigarette smoke. The Captain was jolly, complimented me on my green cap and current stockiness. Like a pit bull, he said. Heat had been on for three years and people grown poor. Captain Jack's old high school partner, Fred, big gutted, whisky drinking, coke snorting family man, showed form this night, though a year ago had spoken his best line: Jack, I need a hundred grand a year just to live! Fortunes change. And now Captain Jack is on the lam in the Caribbean, Fred is in Newfoundland cursing the weather, tossing off a shot of Jack Daniels says to his young son: Shut up or I'11 kill ya! And Skip has no trade.
But this is not the Captain Jack saga.
I had hoped, with inflation, Kelly and I would each get fifteen grand
this time, but it was only the usual ten, and very late it was. Like I say, there is trouble on the coast. And late would be the cash and not even in hundreds but in twenties, couple spring months later. I was selling my Texas Gang novel in the designated arts and crafts area across from the campus, The Drag, the poorest vender I. O.A. (Onward Always) Price introduced himself. His happy mission was to hand me a grand. Where can we go? he said. Also, he had been on the boat in Panama too long, a bad story, and needed to get laid. I deduced he was on acid. Go to the bars, I said. Am sure he had been getting laid already, some. He is a natural sailor, the eternal intrepid traveler, sexual athlete, alert, cheerful. Soon indeed, he knew the Austin bars. We were partners. Got hold of plenty good LSD and did some partying. But he spreads his blond good looks, wherein I like to know women, and hate cigarette smoke in bars. It is not really the cheap tobacco but the shit put in it. I ran an add in the amusing personals: "philosopher, adventurer, warrior, would meet woman of any race who is intelligent, compassionate, sensuous, and not addicted to nicotine. I look like a bearded Viking or Greek god, so she should be attractive and strong." At the Ho11ar Service Station I promptly had calls at all hours, besides mail at my P.O. box. This was fun for a time. Many women only wanted to talk on the telephone, and two or three hung up on me. Commonly many in appearance would be less exciting than what they had described. None of it had quite worked out when I met Cynthia. A Saturday on The Drag I had picked to sit for old time sake, before going to New Mexico. Sitting in sun with shirt off drinking Shiner Bock with old friend Bix, I saw her coming, wild, tallish, a thinned down girl with a colorful tattoo on her lean chest. She talked at people as she walked. She lifted a copy of Texas Gang from my table - what's this, a story about your reincarnation? Yep, said I. She accepted a bottle of Shiner Bock and babbled, speedy fragments. I listened, she would step to a corner of my eye, when I turned she popped back the other way. She would move on down the sidewalk, raving, circle The Drag, interrupting sales, and be back at my table. Bix remarked to me that the McConchies (old friends Dave and Sherry, never Dave's brother Rattlesnake Dan) are always good with crazies. Cynthia learned I was heading to New Mexico and wanted a ride to Las Vegas, N. Mex., where she had wintered. I said she could come if she would not smoke cigarettes in the truck. In our talk I put on shirt and we went into this nearby seafood place for their deal on all the fish one could eat and a pitcher of beer. Cynthia ate some fish, drank the pitcher of cheap beer, played the juke box and having a cigarette paced the floor, rhythmically, short steps, non-stop fragments all about her life, part of it Appalachian. Said the music did this to her. She was not on speed. I knew not what to make of her, gave her the friend's phone number on whose property Griz and I stayed then, South Austin, free rent of a cottage without doors or window panes or wiring. I had understood she had a place to go and we had parted, but I was hardly up next morning when the friend's wife came over, told me a chick on the phone wanted to know if that Blackolive was ripe yet.
Cynthia had survived and suffered enough to be manic by age twenty two. Then, meeting me, she had escaped for the second time from two kidnappers. I don't recall where she had spent the night before this morning she called, probably at a certain friend's head shop. That day we took some acid and went to the lake, so called, Colorado River swollen by dams. Usually, she would make better sense to me tripping. Yet at first I could not gauge this story, two guys claiming to be "black-belt hit-men" with contract to hold her. She said she didn't know if they were narcs or what. It had taken me a couple of days to get this much linear information, while this first day after fun at the lake we had gone over to the punks' house to get her very few possessions, this before my understanding she had been held against her will. One guy was there, young clean-cut muscular guy, thirty pounds lighter than I. He was polite. I was. She was not acting angry with him, though had already babbled something about maybe he/they could be narcs. He sat on couch without shirt messing with some marijuana on the coffee table and looked rather athletic, like maybe he did more than pump some iron, and I considered he could be a cop. I was trucking around my old 140 lb. iron barbell and weighed maybe one ninety before breakfast. We both put on a gentle air. However, in a couple more days or so, I had pieced together enough, and got her to directly answer enough, for me to get these guys.
Cynthia is an arts & crafts person, quite versatile and skillful. She had run through some money her mother had given her for a project, was in Austin someway, somewhat agitated with herself, when these guys gave her a ride, and kidnapped her, scared her, played sex games and fear games with her, telling her they were contracted to hold her and so forth...raped her....
Now as I am recalling, by time I caught onto enough of this, the friend of the property where Griz and I hung out before going to New Mexico, was rude to Cynthia and we were pulling out of there, to stay at Bix's couple days. But we had been at the South Austin place a few days during this memorable spring of Austin flooding, great rains, and Cynthia and I had had some fun. For a time for me, she smoked pure tobacco out of a corncob pipe, till one day in temper threw it from the truck window. 0ne day on acid in big rain we observed layers of earth at the cottage's back door washing off of sundry old trash and junk, and I can't remember what she found, was it a meat hook or what but information of much technically she does have, and she told me the cottage had been a butcher shop. There was some great thundering scaring her - she fears natural disaster - while we were high on acid and I indulging my old personal sensations of the wild - and she said: you're a wolf, aren't you. Yeah, I answered, and that was all said of it.
Besides my never caring to jump guys where they live, I was at the time in this cop shit , plus a legal hassle of a pending shoplifting trial, but firstly having to have this pre-trial. My book sales off The Drag had long peaked, and I and Griz lived out of the truck off the occasional sale and it is illegal to sleep in vehicle in city limits, which I needed to do to get to the Drag on little gasolene and all year I had been meeting all the loose cops and most were stupid, scared and dangerous. Too much TV, couch potatoes with guns and all the U.S. government for backup. I wanted to see the trial, maybe pay some fine, next break a drunk driving probation and go to New Mex. In my life previously, several times I felt cause to smash somebody, I will do it, hit and move on, though not on the enemy's property - where besides any legality or illegality everything is less certain, weapons, no telling. Cynthia decided she needed to confront these punks verbally, and I went along only to look at them, then.
It was the other one she had said was the dominate one, not the one I had met, but the so called dominant one was again not there, just the first guy. We could only get him to come to the locked screen door, and then he went back to his bed, by screened window near door, shit ass scared. I did not have my glasses on for nearsightedness but though unable to see his eyes very well I bald eyed him, the little shit. I sure can scare guys. But Cynthia is a social type, my earthiness never much registers with her, and she tried to question him, communicate, accuse him. Yeh, she and I are different. We left. Guess I could have grabbed him through the screen and crippled him among the bushes.
But I took inspiration. And it was still kind of lost on social Cynthia - she kept telling me I didn't need to do this for her. But on the cover of the Texas Gang book, I look decent, no shirt, sixguns, leaning beside my woman. I still had plenty books and I took one and cut out my
picture, without the woman, wife, first wife, dear Charmaine. I cut out two of the brown pages (selected by Charmaine, who designed the whole thing, before pulling away in jumps and starts and leaving me to take care of my own self hopefully, good Charmaine so misjudged by my friends, ah, so she had a temper), two pages each having to be all gun fighting not even any break in paragraph, plain happy savagery. For TA fans, these pages are 53 & 34, Bi & Dan in the cabin on the Colorado, and pages 11 & 120, Wild Bi and Rattlesnake Dan in the Lost City. I got the address of the punks and mailed this to them, along with a letter which never referred to any of this. My note demanded the left ear of the particular punk I had not met. The LEFT one goddamnit! Said I would think on something similar for the first punk, but I was having this police hassle and was having to leave town for the time, but the Texas Gang would keep an eye on them for me. Sent them that, and later from New Mexico did it muchly all over again, I was really looking forward to it, they just had never known who they were messing with and men who scare women are fearing men and are always so easy. Now, it has to be the LEFT ear.
Now this story of Sergeant Felix is typed off a rough draft Bix had chanced to have. The smoother draft was lost somewhere. In the original story, that got lost, I referred to the cop witness of my shoplifting pretrial lying for his brownie points. In the story that has been on texasgang.com that Jack Saunders liked, Austin Law did Jackson Jones leave it at, of original whole title Austin Law Enforcement and the Anarchist, these guys who jumped on me bodily when I had stolen a bunch of coon cheese, I referred to as "cops." Someway, I am later given to understand, they were not real cops. Can't remember how I heard this. But cops they could have been, as re. LL later, somehow some actual dumb cops in their off time were doing this dumb shit for a super market - jumping upon thieves, jumped on me for stealing a package of Actifed. 0f course it is because I don't cooperate, and this time I wore no glasses I in penury needed to secure, and I shook off these couple wasted minds, got headed off by police car, et cetera. But only to say, the cop (of his own mind) lied for the judge, and I next had my student lawyer to inquire from this wasted judge, should I have any chance of going to jail. Maybe the judge went into my records because I had bald eyed the little shit ass cop-of-his-own-mind. But get into my records he had, and told my ignorant student lawyer, of course he is going to jail. Why, he has a record for car theft and for repeat shoplifting. I got this from the young student lawyer from phone, startled. I knew of stealing a bottle of aspirin in 1970, wherein I had cooperated because I had not thought the supermarket would press charges on a regular customer for an on-special twenty-eight cent bottle of aspirin I had dropped into my shirt pocket. That was a fine and night in jail. Here in 1981 I figured that should be off the record, but no, keep learning. The "car theft" I could not recall, of a "1960." In a couple days, dealing with my new woman, Cynthia, as she put on a couple pounds in her latest salvation, it came to me if slowly. In my first return from New York, before quite my twentieth birthday, hitchhiking in mad rush to get back to my first true love, who lived in Mexico, I took a ride with kids who had run off from a reformatory and stolen a car. They were tired and had me drive but I got us caught speeding in Indiana, and we went to jail. Some little town, I got finger printed, talking to these cops and one who was reading Hemingway, and after a few days in jail I was let sign something, to get out, charmed my way out. Just an American boy going to be a great writer, heh. Yessir, but in 1981 this judge dug deep, car theft. Cynthia and Griz and I left for New Mexico next day. On the lam. 0wlhoot trail. Stoned to the gills. Wondering could the irreverent literature I had been selling on the Drag three years be great factor.
To Sergeant Felix.
Cynthia and I had met my L.A. sister in Albuquerque, and Cynthia had helped us locate the cabin, for she had been familiar with the area, of Las Vegas in New Mexico. Once we had the cabin, in my sister's good name after my down payment and I was broke, Cynthia and I got food stamps and she soon left, but after Griz vanished. She had borrowed the truck and Griz to visit somebody she knew, got drunk, Griz jumped out and vanished somewhere. It crushed me, he was last of a decade of this wild line. Mad Cynthia soon left, for then, hitch hiked to her parents in I think then Maryland, and I would carry on and grow a crop and catch her in Eureka springs, this mother of my child.
First time I had met Sergeant Felix ("Felix") was before cynthia took off. We were hunting for Griz in my '65 Dodge pickup. Felix had been into contacting women through Mother Earth personals, and in the yard of one, a woman in San Geronimo, a bare village, he stood holding a bow and arrows. A lightweight frame of sinuous musculature, dark bearded dramatic. There's a guy with character, I said. Let's ask him. But Felix had not seen Griz. While in some conversation I determined he is literate and gave him a Texas Gang book. We smoked some good grass he had. I discovered he had spent time in Berkeley during the same time I had. He told me he was from the Four Corners, age fory-five, that he was a grower. I told him I intended to grow.
About two months went by. It was well into September past an unusually rainy summer (following summer a drought, and I grew an amount of strong weed), mud then. I would be getting stuck and I had this staunch neighbor always pulling me out, Fred. Broke, I had this little two room of double story log cabin, and 5.48 acres of pine and scrub oak. I had thrown in 5 grand of 16, my strong sister taking care of it from Los Angeles. It is worth much more now but this is beside the point. I was taking my siesta when Felix knocked.
Before even coming inside, he said Dennis Hopper had read my book and wanted tb make a movie of it. This was when Dennis Hopper lived in Taos or thereabouts. Said Hopper wanted to be in the movie. I did have electricity, fixed us coffee on the electric stove. I brought up how I have been up and down for years on this book. But I can't stay calm on caffeine, never after boredom and suffering, said I would have to have one percent off the top. Presently I was even running down grand scenes in the book a mad friend and I had concurred on for the movie. Felix took pen and pad and jotted these scenes down studiously. Told me Hopper was very erratic, I should expect nothing yet. We reached the subject of growing weed on my place and I showed him the property. He left to return the truck he had borrowed to make the visit. I was cheered. It was medicine, while it was a lie.
After that I had word from somewhere - I forget now - that Felix was having trouble with the crazy woman where he stayed and that she had called police, whatever police. I had either already told him he could hang out at my place, or then sent him word he could, but he and the woman were having an affair of sorts and another couple weeks went by. 0ne afternoon I heard him - Bill! Bill! He came striding up, needed to get to the bus station in Las Vegas twenty very hilly miles away. The woman had shipped all his stuff out on the bus to Albuquerque. We only had time to catch it. We sped to the station in my sixty-five Dodge bouncing pickup, caught his stuff, and Sergeant Felix moved in.
He had a nice radio and for a few days some remaining weed. We got decent music and news out of Albuquerque. Felix is hip to jazz, he is hip to very much. He related a personal history of world adventure, starting with juvenile delinquency somewhere in the Four Corners area then earliest sixties Special Forces sergeant in Southeast Asia, and radical politics in Berkeley, and New Mexico, and Wounded Knee. Said he was Chicano-Scotch-Shoshoni-Kiowa, something like that. His story would get back to periods in Europe, Israel, Middle East, Africa - he did mercenary stuff, firstly told me only for decent causes, but by and by it worked down to South Africa. He will use a piece of fact, such as there were people we both knew in Berkeley. Later, another friend there would show me the same thing with Felix, they had known some same people out of New Mexico ten years earlier. Felix claimed familiarity with numerous celebrities, primarily the more radical types, Cleaver, Newton, Leery, Rolling Thunder, et cetera, various writers, actors, directors, said Hopper had helped him get a bit part in Apocalypse Now. We got on for maybe a week. We did some trips to town, washed clothes, drank Dos Equis though he is a diabetic. As a diabetic he "got by," if primarily his notion was the simplicity of favoring protein over carbohydrates. Two beers went to his head. He was going to get himself one of these cattle running loose, have steak with his eggs. We also discussed this when he was sober. The first evening the weed was gone, we sat aimlessly on my porch, facing the mountains. Maybe we had had a couple of beers. Two half grown bulls or steers grazed out in the field before us, almost on the property, an angus, and a hereford, fifty yards from us maybe. Felix carried on: I think I'll do it right now!
OK I said. Let's do it. He said, let's do it. No aimless talker, I went inside, donned sheath knife, took twenty-two single shot rifle, a round of short in it. I have a thirty-thirty but that is loud. In a fog, I walked out behind some oak chaparral, aimed at the white-face, fired. I hit low, had not judged the anatomy, gave the critter a nose bleed. It was startled and slung a little blood and trotted off, dripping. We have to get it now! declared Felix. Being the poor shot, I gave the sergeant the gun and shells, you want to do it? He likened this to one of his stories, had to kill a dangerous wounded bear that had hurt a guy - this is like the bear! He ran after the calf. It got away, and he returned in a few minutes. He said, ah, it'll just look like it ran into some barbed wire. But the angus grazed in peace. Well, let's get him. Sergeant Felix took a prone position in the brush, aimed, fired. The half grown calf looked up, then resumed grazing. Sergeant Felix reloaded and tried again. The bovine looked about, and resumed grazing. Rather relieved, I shouted, can't be done with a twenty-two short! Third round, the animal rolled on its side. We went at it. Get the pickup, he hollered. I backed up the pickup. Felix tieing hind legs to the bumper, it began coming to, and it kicked loose from the rope. Cut its throat! I did, but did not seem to have the jugular. Get the jugular! The big calf bubbled blood, strangling. Get the ax! I ran upon the porch and got the ax, came and in three or four whacks beheaded the animal. (That is my recall. I have in past years noted how large is one of these half grown ones, huge their necks. But if but 3 or 4 whacks, a neck is not a tree.) He enabled then to tie it and hauled it in. Using the truck, we hung it over a limb and butchered it in the dusk. That night we drove and threw head and remains over a ledge. Next day we were hurriedly jerking the meat and hanging it in the upstairs room, and two friends from Austin, Trooper and Mary Pat, walked up, having left their van a mile down the road where pavement ended, unsure of their route. We had a good visit, barbecue, and Trooper had weed, but the paranoia got them and they left early next morning without telling us goodby. They had pulled their van up onto the property, and slept in it, and we never heard them go when they departed early. But we finished jerking that day and there was so much meat hanging in my upstairs little room I could not stand up to undress. It was wealth.
Felix was a man of industry. His hands had to be busy. He drew well in the evenings, would draw while he talked, wasting paper, talking plans of things he would build on the property. Initially, in the lower room, he built himself a nice cot, pine limbs tied. Same way he built a book case, and a cabinet. From there projects did not get finished. We wanted a fence - some heads of cattle still ran through, and, as at edge of the property where we had killed the young angus, we had buried its entrails, under a full moon one night, maybe this was a night later, a little group of cattle pawed and moaned. I suppose it a coincidence that, as this neighboring herd had both white-faces and angus, all the ones there complaining of our felony were angus, am I spelling angus correctly, can't find it, but everyone of these were this breed, black, no horns, noisy,
pawing, very weird. Too, Felix was paranoid of the meter man, when he came, for my sister's electric bill out of a nearby tiny town. Felix said we should have a fence, at least slow down the meter man from walking up. We built a big gate, ran out of nails, by time we got some money for some nails we were onto building Felix's hogan, to be his hogan, up ridge, a good view of mountains, Sangre de Christos. Felix, in the evenings after supper (I did have quite a store of dry goods, beans, peas,rice, flours, had pissed Cynthia all my last fifty dollars went for that, no beer, and now we had plenty meat, then), drew up plans for an immense Chinese garden, fish ponds, with tea table. Felix reasoned we should look good, while we got rich growing his super weed. He did have thousands of seeds, and a couple or so notebooks of his experience with several crops. He had fled a big bust in Hawaii, with his sister. In earlier day, Felix would be clearing stuff, tossing stuff, setting up stuff, while I, who dislike work, would be up on the porch doing my elevated one-armed pushups off the porch railings. Too, up in my room was ye olde hundred forty pound iron barbell. Working hard? spoke Sergeant Felix, when I sat meditating profoundly between sets. I began humoring him, pitching in, keep him mellow. He was turning out ugly in the mornings. Diabetic, he kept his pills in the small refrigerator that like the stove had come with the cabin. He would arise in low blood sugar, but energy in determination, gobble a breakfast, and hit the day. I like to sit over coffee, tend to letters, be active by eleven o'clock possibly. But his energy would be gone by two or three in the afternoon, that I could expect.
I had two female dogs, dropped on me at that point. 0ne, Saphire, was Cynthia's, a pup Cynthia had picked up, turning adult, nice mongrel dog with one eye blue and one eye brown. Tut was the other, post Criz I had accepted, from a son of my good neighbor Fred who was going into the Air Force, mostly coyote, looked like a coyote, my kind of dog. Before came Felix, I had been walking and hitching with backpack and dogs into town for groceries - guess I had run out of gasolene - and Tut high energy ran about everywhere, up ridges and back and forth, but got hit by a speeding car a few miles from the cabin, broken pelvis, and I had gone for good Fred's help with her. I took care of Tut, time of Felix she was just healing enough to do some standing, would be slightly crippled. Felix liked Tut, rated her a coyote. Saphire he said was a devil-dog, where he came from dogs like her were stoned to death, bad luck dogs. I was so easy on Felix because we were in a partnership, had important business. He did not believe dogs should eat on the porch, of course my dogs come in and out and eat where they want to eat, and he grew some uglier, late one morning I had said something of this low key response in the matter, I live here and put dog food on the porch or the like, he said I would be finding Saphire hanging from a tree. Much of this, Sergeant Felix amused me. I was curious, how outlandish could the guy be. He was literate and he had read and dug Tales From the Texas Gang and knew I could hurt him. Physically, I was leaned to maybe one eighty but had forty pounds on him at minimum. I suspected he had been in prison (he had, wasn't telling yet, I knew he had been through something or other in vietnam, none of which could impress me and he knew it could not. A thing however which did mean something someways to him was my "gentle side," of which he spoke several times. He knew I held mercy. I believe, as things went on, it was less a matter of his testing me than it was of his being irrational, and a little nuts. Still, intrigued I can be, but my creed allows never any physical threat, not to me, my dog, or a friend's dog, or a friend's child. I said, hurt Saphire and you deal with me. Still I had never raised voice to him. Alright, said he - just watch your back, just watch your back! OK, I watch my back, big fucking deal, but you hurt the dog you deal with me. The calf hide he had kept, and went off to soak it in the creek. I walked the dogs over to the foothills of the Sangre de Christos, the fence of the Pecos Wilderness, national forest line, maybe would be two miles flight of the raven but a big walk, hills and gullies and woods. In the day later, he came around. Care to talk it over? OK, I said. We sat on the porch. I don't take kindly to anyone threatening me, he said. I didn't threaten you, you threatened me. He paused. I did? I brought up his vietnam demons, told him earnestly I like him, and he could gain control or he could leave. His personality had switched, he was apologetic, agreed he had a demon or two after him, its being wrong to kill anyone, their spirits come. They are cunning, take you least awares, he said. He became an actual gentleman, for two or three days, showed a sophisticated comportment.
Felix drew me into scavenging materials from a neighboring property abandoned by the owner who had not kept up payments. Next, he found stuff a mile or so away in a girl scout camp that had not operated for several years, we collected useful things from the girl scout camp. Normally, I would not get around to considering this sort of thing, but Felix had cut the boredom; and pain of loss of Griz. Felix is a born thief, seeks stuff. Meanwhile, his mellow side could not last. The dog issue resurfaced, a day we were among a few other people, at Fred's - we had given Fred a bit help working on his new great adobe house, a beer work party. We were sitting around and smiling Felix came off the wall with he is going to have to hang Saphire. Then we'll have to hang your demon, I said. He started to get loud - you know she is bothering me. I cut him off, don't bring up that bull shit here! The others looked away. Returning home, having had a few beers, I said, Felix, we are going to have to keep away from that dog shit. He smiled.
Our bigger little project was building him his hogan. He needed the space. While one of his uglier trips is being an "Indian." With him, being an Indian is a racial sickness. Except using an ax, I do not care for work, but was doing much labor with him, our arms were wearing out by pick and shovel, our backs from carrying the logs we fell, pine trees. I was maybe doing more the heavy stuff than was he even, picking up big rocks for the hogan and so on, proud of my strength of course. We were taking trees wherever, on property or off, but one he had got me to chop down had been one in the front yard that had been rubbing our electrical wire to house. Here we were both bodily tired from past days, and using an acquired bow saw trimming the log for his cabin the monotony of toil edged my mind. I believe he was having the same trouble, thus could not much further be checking the madness in his craw. It came out, weird little tributaries outflanking. He had petted and encouraged this stray dog, an old, fat malamute cross, to be "his" dog. Saphire would try to play with the old dog, was behind me leaping at him. From upon the porch, Felix yelled, get her away from him! Felix, don't be silly, she can't hurt that big dog. He railed, I'm going to kick her right now!
Here I be, retyping this rough draft of two decades back, had meant to whip it off with this bad typewriter, not be adding and subtracting much, did I skip over description of cabin already, small with two stories and on posts, and the porch some feet up then, Felix insane, and my goodness, did I have more patience with neurotic dumb insanity twenty years ago than I do today. I did like the guy, but that is no excuse.
Ah, another lost story is THE RETURN OF SERGEANT FELIX. It is sequel, but truly lost. He had left, come back when I had my crop going, had been in the slammer for breaking some kind of probation and different bad luck had happened to him. We did not get along any better, eventually Fred drove him to a house he had rented in Las Vegas. But among his stuff he had two very good tarps of mine, mindlessly stolen. I went into town and looked through his locked screen door and saw my tarps right out in the middle of his floor, still folded neatly. He would not answer his door and I jerked it off its latch. He came forth with machete raised, same old shit. A11 I had to do was let him get close enough in his guff and clamor, snatch his wrist and take his machete and toss it outside. I also threw him down and made to crush his face and he said calmly: Don't, Bill. Ah, even today I would not. He was a friend, bad off, cursed.
Yes, I believe, with the machete, he said: Freeze, just freeze! At the cabin, he had run down from the porch, running at Saphire except I got in his way, to restrain him, and he circled and snatched the ax from its stump: Freeze, just freeze!
I lifted leg to stump, leaned on knee. Man, can't you see, I am really trying hard. I really like you, you have as much strength as anyone I know, yet you just keep dissipating. I am really trying hard. You're not going to hit me with that ax. He stood, ax raised, eyes glaring suspicion. One thing, he could not adjust to my having my power. I went on dog walk to this beautiful waterfall from mountain, cascading falls from beyond fence line of Pecos Wilderness, usual dog walk. His stay had become more unpleasant than interesting, and I did not need his partnership, had plenty seeds my own self, had been given these local, strong seeds. I did expect apology, for that outburst, and it never came. But that was about as far as the hogan got.
More days passed, he would get better, get worse, come around to "talk it over." He had my sympathy, was forty-five years old and this bad off. I was tired of him. From his lawyer on the west coast, so he said, he had word he should make this court appearance. Too, his sister, a more responsible outlaw, was angry about something, wanted to see him there. He also said he wanted to work on a fishing boat - Mafia connection for jobs, owing the Mafia some money - said he would send me some weed and acid and a bit of money for items, beer - we were getting food stamps back when one could get real money for change, get a sixpack that way. Also he was claiming he would be back in time to get our growing underway. Middle of a night I drove him into Vegas to catch this bus. He laughed about the funny stories he would have for his sister. Said she had a crush on him and he would soon
have her over whatever it was she was angry with him about. At the bus station we shook hands and told one another to take care. It was good to see him go and waking in the morning and he was not there was better yet.
I had aided him in stealing this little wood stove from the Campfire Girls of America camp, for his hogan to be. Stashing it in brush on the camp property, we had hauled in all the pipe, to be getting the stove with a sling later, and put the pipe under the cabin, cabin on posts. We had not got to the stove when one afternoon he awoke me from my nap, with "bad news." First, Fred, ex-cop, was authorized deputy of our area. I knew that, said, fine, I like Fred. (Fred had been a jailer at some point, but Fred has his own mystery.) He knows about the stove! was bad news next. From there, came this terrific creation for Fred.
Fred finding from the camp's occasional caretaker about the stove, drove up here while we were busy (uphill on property among the pines) working on the hogan, saw the stove's pipes under the cabin. Fred was "very disappointed in us boys" - here he had been talking up for us - he's out here trying to get some peace and he may as well be walking the beat the way we've been carrying on. Here Bill is already wanted in Texas - what gets Fred is how we were stupid enough to leave the pipe under the cabin - he can see Bill who is so spaced out following along into all this shit but Felix is old enough to know better - that if we'd just take the pipe and stove back he'd let it go this time. But he didn't want to see us before spring, just grow our marijuana and keep out of his hair.
Thus, we carried back the pipe, and yet, all we did was lay it beside the stove in the brush, which was not far from the camp but is likely there now. I do not recall how this was. Maybe Felix had said he had been told that that would do. I dunno. Madness.
Shortly therein, I ran into Fred and thanked him for letting us go. Clearly he knew not what I referred to. I spoke of the stove. He knew not of the stove. Said, well, I would've told you to take it back.
I think this story had got lost at the cabin over the years. When I firstly had it, I showed it to Fred. He said he liked the sex.
It did feel so strange, discovering Felix's creation at first. Many other details unrelated came untrue, too. "Neighbors hostile to me for my beard and being inept acid head, a neighbor being a Ku Klux Klan wizard, a neighbor from Texas a marine killer and Ku Klux Klan guy's right hand man, rumor I got lost up in the woods naked on LSD, neighbors worrying they might eventually have to carry me out on a stretcher." From Fred I learned Felix had told him he had used the ax fending off an attack from me, about Saphire. But Fred had been surprised at Felix's twist on Saphire, and had said to him were he to kick my dog I had reason to beat him up.
Mail of his from his Mother Earth diversions continued to come to my Las Vegas P.O. box, the women's replies. Here is my favorite, an actual attractive (sexy photo of her in a creek) young girl with a job in Ca., of several exuberant paragraphs perhaps this is her best one.
"I want to be with you in your eight sided hogan facing east/west/south. I can almost feel the red sunset light spreading across the wilderness. I can almost see your face bathed in that glow. Magic, all of it is magic, as the world each night is another show - from the blazing glory of goodnight light, to the subtlety of dusk as the first night noises start, into the drama of black night - stars and moon and owl hoot. It is me. I am wind. I am cloud. I am twilight. I am falling rain. And I know you understand."
Couple of these women, like this one, he told he is Pueblo Indian. Maybe so.