The Bounty Hunter

The Bounty Hunter

The dirt road’s already asleep,
the sidewalk
(if one can call it that)
is paved in jukebox-pink
that shines through the gap
between the badly-fitted door
and blood-splattered concrete floor
at the heels
of my boots.

Dali-esque are my surroundings;
surreal dust clouds
form whirlwinds around my boots
with each step that I take,
and the corrugated iron walls
of the Buena Vista Saloon seem to melt away
in the blurry sway
of the only street lamp
this side of the desert.

The match stick’s gone soft on my tongue,
all the tequila and lime
(the Spirit of Mexico!)
is back in my throat again
as I drag my feet
toward the barbed wire fencing,
its little hooks gleaming
like the eyes
of a murder of ravens.

There’s been talk
of an ‘armed and dangerous fugitive’
hiding out on my side of the fence,
but I’m not concerned,
for I find cool comfort
in the form of an ivory handle
and stainless steel blade,
‘Be on the lookout; he’s out there!’
I heard the barman say.

Standing on a worn tractor tire,
I launch myself over the fence.
The wobbly tar pole digs into my palm,
but the sound of splinters
breaking off under the skin
is deafened by the sound
of the little ‘raven claws’
digging in and tearing
my leather coat to shreds.

Good thing the match stick was soggy,
because I landed on my face
feeling rather foolish
(and I would lie if I didn’t say ‘groggy’)
when I swallowed it whole –
can you imagine the shame:
a reputable bounty hunter
dying like that,
all alone?

Shadows have a way of creeping up on you
here,
in the soft desert sand;
I notice this now
where I’m standing,
dusting myself off,
almost cutting my nose
with the hunting knife
in my hand.

I also notice my wedding band,
the most beautiful thing
I’ve ever seen,
a glimmer of corroded silver;
broken promises wrapped around a finger
that’s just an extension
of the giant shadow hands
that keep crawling
over the dunes of dawn.

I know it’s only another twenty minutes’ walk
when I hear Kusko’s bark from the shack.
The poor mongrel had a broken back
when I found him next to the highway;
a police dog dragging his hind legs
shhh-shhh over the sand,
beaten and tortured by a drug lord,
but let me tell you,
Kusko’s bite isn’t half-bad.

It’s been two weeks since I caught him,
the fugitive and torturer of dogs, that is;
calls himself Meester Ramirez,
all mighty and very high,
armed only with a sly smile,
dangerous only with the angel dust
plugging his nostrils –
the next thing you know,
Kusko’s pulling at his designer tie.

The dog’s grown rather fond of our guest,
especially his feet and a bit of his legs.
Ramirez begged me to please hand him over,
or take the cocaine and go –
truth is I’m waiting for the authorities
to raise the price on his lice infested head.

Would you look at the time!
I’d better get ready for my date
with Meester Ramirez, Kusko,
and the Spirit of Mexico!

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