The hidden years in Canada 45, the thirsty horse

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Sunday 31 May 10:22

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The thirsty horse

We were washed, no more smelly armpits and cleanly shaven. The doorman held his hand out, codes and rites which we recognized and we had become used to. ‘So boys,’ he  laughed standing at the door,’ are we going to do some ladies,’ while he slipped the money into his pocket, ‘or bash Indians?’ ‘Neither, I hope for once,’ I laughed and we pushed the door open and entered the Smoking Hole where poor men met. The Queen's saw blue. A boy named Sue came drifting to meet us, the singer almost sounding like Johny Cash. Then you know that you had walked into a cowboy bar. We saw the lip at a faraway table and you would just expect to see Freddy and Fuzzy as well again, but what is done is done and we would never meet them again. Much had happened in recent months. Fuzzy was buried in a prairie village and Freddy was still in custody and would never see the light of day again, we reckoned. The men were trapped here and were king for a day and it was busy with a lively buzz.

A couple of cowboys were hanging about  being tough and it was still early, the hookers were not there yet, but would not be long in coming. The lip had a small group formed around him and I realized that they had to keep a low profile, we were vulnerable in numbers. There were two young boys with him at the table. There was one big guy we knew that went by the name of John. But the rest were new, they were wimps who did not know the world but had come through the intimidation of the Lip. ‘This is bull,’ Louis said, pointing to a boy sitting next to him. ‘I am actually called Al,’ the boy said. I had to chuckle, he had a lot to learn and he would not know better within a few months. ‘ Is he as strong as a bull, ‘Rico asked? ‘No,’ said the lip it is the 'Bull from Bull shit. ‘ ‘Hey Al,’ I laughed, ‘if I were you I would change my lastname.’ The table laughed, like Fuzzy had never existed.

‘There next to him, this fine gentleman, Simon, I call him for convenience Simple Simon.’ ‘Hi Simon,’ I said, ‘and you know John,’ Louis continued, ‘Big John.’ We nodded in his direction and John took a swig of beer.

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John was a bear of a farmer who was quite hot-tempered and unbelievably strong. He started working for us when he went bankrupt and his wife ran off. He was severely frustrated and was a secret drinker who could become  very aggressive in no time. ‘Well just do a round, 'I said to the waiter,’ but do me a coke. ‘ I was in my head doing the driving test the next day. ‘So,’ said Simon, ‘beer is too strong for you, 'and he took a sip from his pint glass? John's hand shot out and hit him hard right out of the chair. His glass fell to the ground and he looked bewildered as he got up. ‘ Hey Simple, ‘said Big John,’ don’t fuck with good people. Just forget it man, we have done more hard work done than you can imagine, if you do that again I will beat you with your festering gob through the table. Sit down again. ‘ Simon now stared at me from John.

‘No more falling out of your chair, Simple,’ I said, ‘then you have a nice evening.’ The first ladies entered and the glances of the men followed them wherever they went, which always happens when a woman enters the dusty world of men. We were a round or two further when the first Indians came in. The one in front I recognized right away, 'Oh dear,' I said aloud, ‘he has been already released,’ it was the Indian with one feather. The one that Freddy always called, chief shitting bull. He looked around as if he was standing on the prairie, his eyes scanning the tables, until he came to our table and his eyes rested upon us. Then he turned and spoke a little with his friends. 'Okay lip, ‘I said,’ I feel a bad moon arising, check this out, I reckon we’ve got problems. ‘ ‘What do you mean,’ asked Simple Simon? ‘You should just be quiet,’ said Big John.

The men stood between the cowboys and the bar and ordered whiskey. I had learned a lot from Freddy, I had learned to look at people. ‘They drink themselves courage,’ I said. ‘ Firewater, big mother, ‘said the lip to me. I nodded, we had been through this before. ‘Why always against us,’ said Rico? ‘Because it's going back and forth,’ said the lip. ‘We slap them a bit, they come for us, we give ... and so forth.’ ‘You’ve seen that well,’ I said, ‘that is how it goes.’ Some more women came in, the cowboys turned their heads to follow them with hungry eyes. The Indians with their whiskey in hand as well. ‘The evening has begun,’ I said. ‘What do you mean,’ asked Bull, who was actually Al? The door opened and five Indians came in. They walked immediately to their comrades and later looked at us with a whiskey in hand. ‘They’re making a calculation,’ I said. ‘Yes,’ said the lip, ‘about now or later, they realize they can have us.’ It was now.

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Big chief walked away from the bar and squeezed provocatively in passing a lady’s bum, who shunned away. He walked with the friends that followed  him slowly a few steps, our direction. ‘Hey,’ he called out, ‘white trash, white trash, where's your friend fuck face?’ ‘I know you,’ said the lip while he went slowly rose to his feet, ‘you hump Aardvarks.’ ‘What are Aardvarks,’ Rico said to me? ‘Anteaters or something like that,’ I replied. 'Okay,' Rico said, ‘now we know again what we are talking about. ‘ So aardvark fucker I am ready, whenever you are you bloody brave, shitting bull‘ Rico said loud and clear. I was stunned, it was a game, a deadly serious dangerous game that had to do with honor and respect and Rico had voluntarily presented himself as a player in a game in which people were beaten to pulp or stabbed.

Two of the Indians drew a knife. Why, am I here, I thought, and the second thought was, what a pity that Freddy is not here with his twitch 303. Big John pushed his chair aside and stretched out in full length. He craned his neck and moving muscles as if to make them more flexible. Then he took a few quick steps forward and lifted shitting bull into the air, sideways, by his crotch and his neck. He raised him far above his head spun around a few times and then threw him against his tribesmen. He paused and motioned them, 'come here aardvark fuckers, come to Uncle John, I want to play with you, ‘and his voice was an octave higher and sounded downright insane. When the big chief with murder in his eyes got up, the double entry door splintered away and a man on a horse came crashing in, a cowboy with a wild look on horseback came breaking into the bar.

San Daniel  2015

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When I read about cowboys and indians automaticly I return to the end of the nineteenth century 1886, A boy named sue was a hit of Johnny Cash in 1969.
So strange , not much has changed.