This was one of those days where Whalebone Jim had to hustle. He was unshaven and his hands where starting to shake. He had no more beer money so whatever needed to be done, would be done. He was well connected to some of the local fishermen and had arranged a ride in his buddy's truck to pick up a bunch of buckets of fish guts to sell to some of his gringo amigos Mr. H and Anna, who utilized it to fertilize their vegetable garden. Jorge, his buddy, a stocky local with mischievous grin and a Zorro mustache, was known for being involved in local cockfights and occasional sales of stolen gasoline. He had come in handy many times when Whalebone found himself in a pinch.
Mr. H, who was about to receive a load of fish guts, was a skuffy man in his 60s, who had retired in Mexico on a minuscule pension, too skimpy to live off in the US, but just about enough to get by south of the border. He was a dysfunctional artist. Most days he showed signs of physical self neglect, which affirmed the image of the impoverished, suffering Bohemian. It wasn't so much that he was really suffering, more that he liked to look like a bum. It simply appealed to him, including being odorous from a hard days work on his sculptures made out of trash, found in the desert, and other various scavenged materials. His piercing blue eyes peaked from under the bushy eyebrows like the treasures a bower bird would hide for his female in the stickebush, dark rings encircling them, crowfeet deep as a damn river bed. His grey hair sticking up like that of a mad man. Him and his mate Anna had taken up residence in the Ranchitos in a small, rickety Mexican house.
Anna was a spent piece of euro trash, who immigrated from Germany to the US in the pursuit of a memory of a time long gone. She grew up with spaghetti westerns and had managed to acquire a Clint Estwoodesque type of look from being exposed to desert sun and dry wind for more than a decade. She was weathered like an old leather boot and her appearance was almost androgynous, and so was her behavior. She could work and cuss like a man and could scare the living hell out of her adversaries. She left Arizona to be with Mr. H, after she realized that there where no more cowboys and Indians roaming free in America, in fact, nobody roamed free anywhere since the government slowly but surely had tightened the noose around everybodys neck. Her entanglement with Mr. H was unusual to say the least and most folks found the couple rather odd to look at. In short, they where weird enough for Whalebone Jim.
Jorge's truck with Whalebone and 5 buckets full of fish guts came to a screeching halt in front of the humble dwelling of the odd couple. They where accompanied by an increasing armada of flies, as the fish guts became more rank in the summer heat. Whalebone and Jorge got out of the truck and Whale tipped his hat to greet Mr H, who wore his usual ripped up shirt and filthy shorts.
"Hey man, here is your fertilizer....20 pesos a bucket."
"Deal, bring it on....good to see you son of a bitch!"
"Lets get this shit buried and gone before we catch the pestilence."
Jorge's eyes were darting around the yard. Anna who had just rushed out the door to help dumping the guts was keeping a small flock of hens and a rooster, who were considered family members and on occasion sought out shelter in the house from the afternoon heat. Visitors had to be careful to not slip on chicken shit when entering the house. Jorge spotted the rooster in the yard. As a cockfight expert he had an eye for good stock.
"How much for the rooster amiga?" he pointed his lips at the fowl.
"My cock is not for sale muchacho....forget it."
Suddenly there was pistol fire ripping through the neighborhood. Two shots coming from the dirt road and two cars rapidly approaching in a chase, right by the house. Mr. H, Anna, Whalebone and Jorge dropped straight to the ground to not get hit by misdirected projectiles. Two more shots as the cars speeded by towards the mountains, stirring up a dust storm on the bumpy dirt road and then one more shot from far away and the spectacle was over. The group got up and dusted themselves off making sure everybody was still alive.
"Chingado...those pendejos having the red ass today." Jorge scratched his head.
"Let's pay up Mr. H....I need a beer. Jorge cabron, it's time to go."
Mr. H handed Whalebone the money. Anna was trying to find the chickens, which had disbursed in a panic during the shoot out. The others could hear her cussing and grunting in the nearby arroyo. Whalebone tipped his hat and him and his buddy got into the truck off to the liquor store. All in all, so far this was just business as usual in the little drinking village with a fishing problem.



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