by Ron Langston
Chapter 44 - A Rosy by Any Other Name
Big John left me at the door of the sweat lodge. "I ain't going in
Boss-man," was all I could get out of him -- a man I'd seen kill a
armadillo with a single blow from a rolled-up Sunday Albuquerque
But this was another, darker, smellier kind of fear, and 6 feet 8 inches of
bronco-busting Navajo wanted none of it. "I'll be in the truck when
I knew -- rather, I hoped -- I'd live to regret the zesty chorizo fry-
tacos Big John and I had packed away like a tourist hoarding jackelope
postcards, but I didn't expect the smell that bitch-slapped me when I
back the flap and tried to peer into the blackstrap-molasses gloom
interior. Not much can cause me to toss my lunch, but you'd be a much
man than me if you could hold your Tacate in the face of that
A minute later, I spit into the dust, pale and empty, and steeled
Big John laughed from the old Chevy -- a laugh that was part nerves,
machismo. Once more, dear friends, into the breach. The smell was
a living thing, and complex and head-spinning like integral calculus.
a moment, my eyes stopped watering, and in a moment more I could make
form at the center. It drew into focus. Rose Anne "Rosy" Chavez. I
"Looking for these, muchacho?" she croaked, swaying gently side to
eyes glazed, as she held out her hand. Could it be that simple? Yes,
they were - the keys to Joey Ayala's Camero, the keys to the mystery
had me sweating away the summer in the godforsaken Land Under a
staggered forward. The last thing I remembered was Rosy falling
like a Midwesterner one Margarita over his limit. The gooey
moved inside my head, and all was silence.
I came to weeping like a baby in Big John's arms. "What happened?" I
to choke out, "Where are the keys?" "Later, Boss-man," was all Big
would say, as he pressed the Cuervo to my lips.
Next week: Chapter 52 - How'd That Bear Get In There?
(Transcribed by Ishmael Alighieri)