Monday, December 24, 2012


By: James Dubeau

Around the drain
That is a dark lament
Reaching out
For a handhold
To pull free
Wanting something
To click
Turning brass gears
Latch into place
And embrace
While taken for a ride
Across the cosmos
Through time and space
Into the great darkness beyond
Where lights of stars
And whole galaxies
Would only dream
To dare to tread
Background radiation
Drowns it all out
To nothing but
A pleasant
Choking out
A throaty scream

Monday, December 10, 2012


By: James Dubeau

Everywhere I go
In my tiny life
Everything must be
Single-serving strife
The coffee
The sugar
Even the cream
And when I do cook
Massive batches are made
Of chili
Or even pasta
To be divvied up
Into single-serving batches
To be eaten as lunches
Over a week or three
For if I don’t
All the groceries go bad
Siting in the fridge
Waiting to be eaten
But I do like to cook
Honestly I do
And would cook even more
But it is just no fun
To be cooking for one

Friday, November 30, 2012


By: James Dubeau

Just out of reach
Of outstretched arms
My fingertips almost touch
Can almost grasp
Can almost make it mine
But no matter
How I contort my body
My arms cannot stretch any further
It would not be so painful
If I never had the taste
The sweet taste
Upon my lips
Knowing I was almost there
Almost had it
Almost achieved the desire
Makes the craving
All the more

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
By: James Dubeau

A few flakes of snow
Drifted past
My fogged over glasses
And frozen white breath
Greens turned yellow
Then to red
And I pushed off
Feet struggled to find traction
Upon my peddles
As my bike rolled
Across the empty crosswalk
I looked up
My vision filled
With a large symbol
Which I once knew well
I stumbled
I peddled
I got out of the way
Movement washed cold wind
Across my face
Clearing fog and improving vision
I turned to see
The flaxen haired motorist
Who hadn’t graced my presence
Since the sun was hot
And Cajun music
Wafted through the air
Our eyes did not meet
She had turned to fiddle
With something in the back seat
The light turned green
And she was gone
But the memories of days gone by
Flooded back
And I wondered if I would ever
Grace the tavern again
To put down money
For beers and the gambling of meat

Friday, November 23, 2012

Our First Laugh

Our First Laugh
By: James Dubeau

As we sit here
On this curb
Sharing our first laugh
We are living moments
The best moments
We’ll ever have
Between you and I
This is as good as it gets
When anything is possible
No annoying habits
No hurt feelings
It’s all downhill from here
Someone will say something
Bitterness will creep in
One of us will be hurt
It’ll all become a chore
Until it is ended
And we go our separate ways
But let us not think about that
The way it always goes
Let’s live in this moment
Live it up while we can
Be happy and joyful
And enjoy this laugh
Before it turns to tears

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So Long Space Cowboy

So Long Space Cowboy
By: James Dubeau

Single streak of white
Against the endless azure
As it turns to black
And the starry void
Above and beyond
With you was carried
More than just
2800 tons of rocket fuel
There was also
The hopes and dreams
Of every man, woman, and child
As you bounded across
That hunk of cheese
Even today
Children still dream
Of walking with you
Bouncing with each step
From the Eagle
So with a heavy heart
I must say
To you Neil Armstrong
So long
Space cowboy

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mid Fall

Mid Fall
By: James Dubeau

Footfall after footfall
Against the trail
Running across the countryside
The sun tried to cling to the sky
But slowly fell behind me
Joining leafless trees
And dead prairie grass
Upon the horizon
It is these autumn days
Same days as last year
And the year before that
Which has me wondering
About my place in this world
As I watch those blossoms
Which once had vitality
Wither and die

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Under a Sanguine Moon

Under a Sanguine Moon
By: James Dubeau

“That’ll be two fifty.” Lauren said as she grabbed a bottle of beer from behind the bar. Her short red hair was a stark contrast to the black dress and pinstriped suit coat. A single strand of pearls clung tight to her neck and added a splash of coloration to her pale complexion. She patted pockets in search of the bottle opener.

“I got it,” Jonah popped off the bottle top and pocketed the opener. His curled mustache flexed as he winked through horn rim glasses. The pink elephant on his vintage t-shirt seemed to copy the move. He had been drinking and conversing with the bartender all evening.

“You’re the last. It’s closing time.”

“Had to keep my new favorite bartender company.”

“Thank you for the conversation. It has been most appreciated on this slow night. Would you care to join me for a walk when I finish closing up?” She smiled.

“But of course.”

By the time he drained the bottle she had finished the closing duties and had dragged him into the crisp night air. Jonah walked his bike as they walked through the Monroe Street neighborhood. They soon were walking through Forest Hill cemetery. City lights were hidden behind the trees surrounding the old cemetery. A clearing at the top of a hill gave them the opportunity to gaze at the night sky in tranquility.

“I love the sanguine moon when it is bright and big and full of life.” Ruby lips exposed a broad wolfish grin.

“I’m glad you invited me along.” Jonah wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek.

Lauren locked him in a tight embrace as her lips met his then wandered in lustful flurry across his face and neck. Teeth grazed his flesh. She paused and looked up with large doe eyes which glowed red and mean with hunger. Vampire fangs glinted in the moonlight before sinking deep into his flesh. His blood boiled into her mouth.

Jonah screamed and struggled to free himself. He fished the bottle opener from his pocket and stabbed her side with the pointed end. She reeled in pain, letting him kick free of her embrace. Before she could swoop upon him Jonah was on his bike weaving past gravestones. As he neared the entrance the bike slammed into a gravestone, sending him tumbling from the bike, and destroying the front wheel. He was to his feet and limped into a maintenance shed before the vampire caught up to him.

“Got a little fight in you, I like that.” Lauren pounded on the shed door.

Jonah leaned against the door, bracing against her efforts. He searched for a weapon as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. She over powered him, knocking the door open. Jonah snatched the first hard object his fingers touched and turned to face his attacker.

Lauren lunged into Jonah, knocking him against the wall. The pair stood face to face, their bodies pressed together. For a moment neither moved. No words were spoken. She took half a step back. A pair of hedge clippers was lodged between her ribs. She blinked once then fell to the floor.

Exhaustion overtook Jonah and he too collapsed. Lauren lay unmoving. Her large eyes had a vacant stare towards the ceiling. He turned to search for a tool to ensure the vampire’s destruction but when he turned around she was gone. Only the clippers remained where she had lay.

Friday, September 14, 2012


By: James Dubeau

What is this
What am I doing
Sitting in the coffee shop
Drinking it black
While tapping keys
Idly working on
One project
Than another
Before losing an hour
Or maybe three
Surfing the web
For this and that
Why is there no focus
Why is nothing finished
Where did it all go
When I was not looking
Did my muse run off
Taking my creativity with her
Did stresses surmount all else
Do I not want to write anymore
Or maybe my creativity never was
Leaving behind all the projects
Pending on my computer
Novel third draft only just started
Short story fourth draft halfway finished
And least of all
This poem
Is not…

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wondering Thoughts

Wondering Thoughts
By: James Dubeau

There are those moves
Which one does make
Late at night
With a belly full of booze
When the internal editor
Is fast asleep at the switch
He could have said
Those choices would result
In nothing but sadness
And changed the course
But he cannot tonight
Not while his snores
Echo though the skull
That dull ache
Just before hangover
So one just sits
Recent decisions
As well as those
From years gone past
Thoughts and memories
Float on past
Tears well from the corners
To be brushed away
And forgotten
Seconds turn to minutes
Minutes turn to hours
Hours turn to days
Days turn to years
Slowly fading away
To be background noise
But there are those times
It all comes flooding back
Making it all fresh again
Like a knife upon the flesh
When all that remained
Was a memory
Or an idea
Of a memory
Which never was
And never will be

Monday, September 10, 2012

Haggard Paladin

Haggard Paladin
By: James Dubeau

Once upon a time
My sword shined in the sun
Strong and sharp
I stood
Waiting for the dragon
To crest the hill
Ready to be slain
But now I sit
Haggard and old
Rust flaked from my sword
The edge could not cut grass
As the dragon flies
High overhead
Breathing down fire and death
Upon all I hold dear 
There is nothing that I can do
But wait
And hope
For an opening
To slay the beast
But it will never come
Before the time
Left in my soul
Melts away

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Farmer Driven

Farmer Driven
By: James Dubeau

Big green John Deere
Rolling along
The country side
Traveling paved roads
Slowing traffic behind
A line of cars
Afraid to pass
On rolling hills
Just outside of town
There was once a time
Where this scene did not happen
Before the advent of blacktop
And combustion engines
Fields were not cut up
Divvied up
By what the taxman wished
When the fields were worked
By plow pulled by horse
Or mule
Or oxen
We are all victims of his success
A nation grown fat
On bounty filled bread baskets
Us in our automobiles
Pissed off
Him in an air conditioned king cab
Hoping seed prices
Don’t send him under

Monday, September 03, 2012

Dark Past

Dark Past
By: James Dubeau

Why does the dark past
Invoke such nightmares
Upon the soul
And set the mind
Through time and space
Not letting rest
Reach weary eyes
When the night runs long
Mental guards drop
Letting murky ooze
Seep though
Poisoning the mind
Sending it in spirals
Bringing back
Every detail
Every smile
Every laugh
Every thought
Every emotion
Of those days
Long ago
Tearing tenuously healed wounds
Open and raw
Fresh searing pain
Which can only be cured
With more time
And sleep

Friday, August 31, 2012

She Plays

She Plays
By: James Dubeau

She smiles
Blissfully unaware
Of the world around her
Laughing at it all
Seeing life as nothing
But a joke
Even amongst the squalor
The debris
The filth
Even as the lights go dim
When the power is shutoff
Silencing air conditioner
And TV alike
She was sad
For only the briefest of moments
Before returning to chores
Cleaning the kitchen table
One item at a time
Five minutes between each
While scolding the puppy
Who drags her shoes
Across the house
Which should have been put away
Days before
But he keeps tugging shoes
She tries to pull away
With a gleam in his eye
Thinking she’s playing
While she laughs and yells
And perhaps even the dog knows
Behind the mock anger
She truly is
Just playing

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hexed Perseverance

Hexed Perseverance
By: James Dubeau 

Doused in gasoline
The hard black husk
Was ignited
By a single spark
Completely engulfed in flame
Burning bright
Until cracks appeared
And opened wide
Glowing orange embers
Once alive
Full of vigor
Reduced to nothing
Licking flames
Turn to powdered gray ash
To be blown away
In the slightest of breeze
Forgotten about

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unrequited Love

Unrequited Love
By: James Dubeau

I walk alone
Along a dusty path
Headed toward the horizon
The desert
Then the sea
And the edge of forever
A land I do not know
A future unsure
She doesn’t know
She doesn’t care
My words go unheard
My gestures unseen
Just as the emerging stars
Twinkling above
Cannot comprehend
My screams
Does it even matter?
Did it ever?
Once before?
But I cannot turn away
Lock her out of my mind
No matter how hard I try
That is how it goes
So I must continue on
With an outstretched hand
To be filled
By another’s

Friday, August 24, 2012

San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 3

San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 3
By: James Dubeau

“Oh how the calf fears slaughter,” Lauren stood over her fallen prey. Her greedy eyes savored her next meal.

“You, you are a vampire.” Murphy stuttered as he grabbed the pickaxe off his pack. He scrambled to his feet and swung wildly with the tool. She leapt back but the steel blade sliced her flesh. Blood did not drip from the gash in her thigh.

“You got a little fight in you, I like that.” Lauren limped as she circled Murphy.

“A wicked beast must be destroyed.” Bravery begun to bubble from Murphy’s intoxicated heart. If she can be hurt she can be killed.

The young man advanced and swung the digging tool. Lauren easily sidestepped the attack and knocked the weapon from his hands. Her fangs sunk deep into his forearm. Blood boiled into her mouth. Searing pain radiated from the bite. He kicked and thrashed, knocking her away. Once free he grabbed the pack and ran from the grave covered hill.

“Your passion and rage tastes of coriander,” Lauren licked her lips. The wound in her leg had disappeared, not even a scar remained. She sniffed the air and pursued the scent of blood.

Murphy ran into the night. He knocked over a gravestone and narrowly avoided the rest. At the base of the hill was one of the few structures in the cemetery, a mausoleum. The door was unlocked and he slipped inside. His shovel worked to bar the door shut.

“You can’t hide all night.” Lauren pounded on the mausoleum door. The old shovel groaned with each impact. A beast of the night could not be held at bay for long.

No escape or weapon could be found inside the bare mausoleum. Only a few dying bouquets and locked burial vaults accompanied him. Murphy dug through his pack for something, anything, to help his plight. A bandage for his wounded arm. A weapon to defend himself with. A tool to reinforce the door.

In a thunderous boom the shovel splintered and Lauren slammed through the door. Murphy snatched the first hard object his fingers touched amongst his supplies and stood to defend himself. She lunged and knocked him against the stone wall.

The pair stood face to face, their bodies pressed together. For a moment neither one moved. No words came to either of their lips.

Lauren blinked and took a half step back. An oak tent stake was lodged into her stomach. It pierced deep into her flesh, angled under her ribs just missing the heart. Feeling real pain for the first time she fell into a heap upon the floor.

Drunken exhaustion overtook Murphy and he too collapsed. Resting against the mausoleum wall he watched the vampire for signs of life while struggling to catch his breath. Lauren lay unmoving on the cold stone floor. Her large eyes stared vacantly towards the ceiling. The monster appeared to be dead but he had to be sure to finish the job. The young man searched his pack for a second stake to hammer into her heart. Once he had hammer and stake in hand he looked up to see that she was gone. Only the oak stake remained on the barren floor.

Murphy’s head pounded when he returned to the tavern the next morning. Ben remembered him from the night before and said the young man had been drinking alone until he stumbled off as an incoherent drunk. The bartender also did not know Lauren and said no woman had ever worked for him. He laughed off the vampire story and bite marks upon Murphy’s arm as nothing but a nightmare and dog’s bite.

As the day wore on the memory of the night’s events faded from Murphy’s mind. Beautiful monsters that lurk in the shadows to hunt young men’s blood did not exist. Vampires were nothing but a bad nightmare. The only niggling reminder of Lauren was the aching pain of twin puncture wounds where her fangs had pierced his flesh. It was a pain which lingered to the end of his days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 2

San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 2
By: James Dubeau

Lauren and Murphy had spent many hours talking in sparsely populated tavern near the edge of San Francisco. Candles were all but burnt away by the time they were the only patrons left in the establishment. Ben closed down the tavern and the pair stumbled into the cool night air. Not another soul was out on the moonlit streets.

“I love the sanguine moon when it is bright and big and full of life.” Lauren sighed as she walked arm in arm with Murphy through the deserted streets.

“Man was not meant to gaze up at the sky from the middle of a city. There should be grass under our feet and nothing but the heavens above.”

“I know just the place,” Her red lips opened wide to expose a broad white wolfish grin.

The moon illuminated their journey to the farthest edge of the city. Lauren had grabbed Murphy by the hand and led him through the streets. The inebriated young man was slowed by the heavy pack upon his back. The heavy straps cut into his flesh and he stumbled a few times. It was not long before the pair arrived at the main gates of the Yerba Buena Cemetery.

“We shouldn’t be here so late at night.” Murphy said when they stood before the cemetery.

“Best place in this city to watch the stars,” she danced through the open gateway.

Lauren walked between the graves with a ballerina’s grace. Her large eyes never looked left the heavens. Murphy grew courage and followed. At the top of a small hill they stood together.

“It is so beautiful when the moon and stars sing poetry from the heavens. Tonight makes me feel alive.” Lauren ran her fingers through Murphy’s sandy hair. “There could be no better companion this evening. It was the fates who brought us together.”

“Aye. Who would have thought my first day in San Francisco would have found me standing in the middle of a cemetery watching the stars with a beautiful woman?” The young man leaned in and kissed her cheek.

“I have one more thing to show you.” Her lips met his.

Murphy’s heavy pack dropped as they kissed. Lauren’s tongue darted between her lips to meet his. She locked him in a tight embrace as her lips wandered from his in a lustful flurry of kisses. Her lips were moist upon his flesh. Teeth lightly grazed his neck and nibbled his ear. He returned the passion and found her skin to be cold in the night air.

For a brief moment their passion subsided as they struggled to breath. Murphy lovingly kissed her forehead. Lauren looked up to the man in her arms with large doe eyes which turned red and mean with hunger. A pair of fangs extruded from behind ruby lips.

Murphy let go of the beast and stumbled backwards over his pack. The cold ground rushed to meet him. A scream escaped from his lips.

Monday, August 20, 2012

San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 1

San Francisco by the Moonlight – Part 1
By: James Dubeau

“I’ve never understood why they call it Irish coffee,” The petite woman standing behind the bar said as she topped off the whiskey filled clay mug with coffee. Her short red hair was a stark contrast to the black dress and pinstriped suit coat she wore. A single strand of pearls clung tight to her neck, a strand which attempted to add a splash of coloration to her pale complexion.

“It’s a drink we created back home to keep the late autumn chill away.” A young man in his late teens said when the bartender slid the steaming mug in front of him. His sing-song voice was soft and cracked under the pressure of her beauty. He sipped the drink and bunched up his freckled covered cheeks in disgust. “Arbuckle and ‘shine is not quite the replacement for our Irish whiskey. Have some cream to sweeten this up?”

“Pouring liquor into coffee is a tradition older than the Irish, makes little sense to name the drink after them. Are you new in town?” She retrieved cream from the icebox and splashed it into his drink. Her doe eyes washed over the stranger. His clothes were a size too big for his emaciated frame, hand-me-downs most likely. He had walked into the tavern with an overloaded pack which he had laid at his feet. Tied to his pack was a shovel and pickaxe, nicked and dented from many years of hard farm work. A look of desperation was in his sunken eyes. It was a longing which she saw upon most men in San Francisco, except for the few who had found their gold rush fortune.

“Boat got in this evening. This drink was just the pick-me-up I needed before finding a place to stay for the night. Come morning I’ll be off to find a chunk of land to call my own.”

“Aren’t you a little young for prospecting? All the best claims are already taken by bigger and meaner outfits. Save yourself from frustration and an aching back and go home.”

“There ain’t nothing in Ireland for me anymore. Potato blight starved us all. I’m here to prove to ma, bless her soul, death is not all life has to offer.” His voice trailed off.

“If you aren’t going to take my advice then I might as well make your first night in San Francisco a hospitable one. It is hard to find a friend for good conversation in this town. Nothing but dirty old prospectors or vile hard frontiersmen and sailors walk these streets. Ben can take care of the few in here tonight.” After nodding to the other bartender she circled around to take up the space next to Murphy. She smiled and extended her hand. “I’m Lauren.”
“Pleased to meet you. Murphy is the name.” They shook hands and he blushed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dance Becomes Me

Dance Becomes Me
By: James Dubeau

Living on the razor
I step cautiously upon the blade
The knife edge slices into my flesh
Greasy blood trails in my wake
Careful not to slip
Not to fall
To either side
A cough emerges
From my parched throat
Keeping me awake
Though the midnight hours
Not permitting sleep
Peaceful rest
To rejuvenate my body
Hunger aches deep in my belly
My soul cries
With a cracking voice
I can do this
Silent at first
But growing
No longer do I fear
Swirling storm clouds
Or a heaven turned black
Big wet drops plummet
Washing away my blood soaked trail
And razor transforms
To a moss covered garden path
I am drenched from head to toe
Dance becomes me

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cross Word

Cross Word
By: James Dubeau

Up and down
Over and across
The rope does tie
It does bind
No more struggling
No more screaming
From the battered and bruised
Locked away
In the dark little boot
As we bounce
Along old dirt trails
In search of a hidden land
For a shallow dug
Deserving resting place
For what was said 

Monday, August 13, 2012


By: James Dubeau

Soulless days
Spent punching 9 to 5
For a soulless company
Only filling space
Only filling time
Only a number
A lonely cog in the machine

Soulless life
No true friends
To hang out with
Talking about this and that
Being real
Being true
Being there

Soulless love
No one to come home to
To be in love with
No one to cheer for
No one to be cheered by
Empty bed
Empty heart

Soulless home
No family left
Parents are gone
Along with all others
Who bear the same name
Dead and buried
Or left estranged

Go out on a limb
Make an effort
Fill the days
With life and love
And home will sing
Happiness and joy
An overflowing soul


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Slant Ways

Slant Ways
By: James Dubeau

The night before last
When day turned to the
The moon was falling
Slant ways
Shouldn't that orb
Always be rising
When darkness freshly falls
I wish it were so
But no
Luna was setting
In such a way
That made me sad
Behind the trees
Never to be seen
In all her glory
Slant ways

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tequila – Part 3

Tequila – Part 3
By: James Dubeau

“You can’t burn down my cantina just to kill a couple of train robbers. That building is my livelihood. I’ll be in my rights to bill you for everything destroyed.” Reyes’ voice rang through the shattered window.

“Settle your damn horses,” the sheriff’s words rose above all other noise. “Damages will be paid from the money they stole. We’ll give them some time to surrender before torching your place.”

“Let us ride out of here or I’ll shoot our hostage.” Dave shouted.

“You’ll be doing me a favor. He owes me a lot of money.” Reyes said. “When they murder Owen you will pay off his complete tab, sheriff.”

"That can be arranged." The sheriff said.

“They don’t like you much do they?” Dave pointed his gun at Owen. “How are you doing, Jeff?”

“He’s fine,” Owen poured tequila into his mouth before he shared with Jeff and splashed some upon the wound. “Be careful where you point that thing. You wouldn’t want to accidently shoot your brother.”

“I’ll point this gun wherever I want to.”

“Truth be told, I’m more scared of those men outside. With the money I owe Reyes he’ll plug a hole in me just to get to you and pay off my tab. The sheriff will kill us all.” Owen teetered and fell. His flailing body knocked over a table on his way to the floor. He staggered to his feet and drank from the bottle. “Didn’t lose a drop.”

“I’m not scared of no sheriff.” Dave returned his attention to the exterior. Sweat beaded upon his forehead.

“Be scared for your brother. He’s not walking anywhere.” Owen wobbled to Dave and peered through the window. The sheriff was behind a water trough across the street and held a rifle steady.

“I can ride if you get me to my horse.” Jeff used the bar to pull himself upright.

Owen plopped onto a chair with a heavy sigh. His eyes hung heavy. “I’ve been bending my elbow all day. I’m not sure I could get myself to your horses let alone carry him there.”

Dave tossed a small bag onto the table beside Owen. Gold coins fell through bag’s mouth. “That’ll give you some strength and pay for your services. If you falter I will shoot you before Reyes does.”

“Should be enough for what I owe.” Owen pocketed the bag and lurched to Jeff. He let the bandit support his weight on his shoulder and the pair staggered to the door. Owen took one last drink off the bottle of tequila in his hand. “For courage,” he told himself.

“When I kick open the door, get to the horses.” Dave turned to the entrance and thumbed back his hammer.

Owen swung with the bottle, catching Jeff in the face, and grabbed the revolver out of the falling injured man’s hand. Dave turned as Owen pulled the trigger. The large man crashed through the door and fell to the boardwalk outside.

“What have I done?” Owen sunk to his knees.

“You did a brave thing.” The sheriff had rushed into the cantina. Reyes and the deputies were not far behind.

Tears streamed down Owen’s face. Shattered glass and tequila was strewn across the floor. “My tequila has gone to the great siesta in the sky.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tequila – Part 2

Tequila – Part 2
By: James Dubeau

“He’s plumb soaked.” Jeff’s voice was labored. “I’m bleeding out. I’m going to die.”

“A belt of whiskey would cut the pain. He must have hidden that bottle good,” Dave said. Heavy boot-steps upon wood floor boards crossed the cantina. A revolver barrel scraped against a leather holster and tapped against window glass. “That rat is coming back with the sheriff and a couple deputies.”

“Get out of here. Leave me to die.”

“No brother of mine will rot in prison.” A window shattered and a revolver’s bark filled the cantina. “Look at them run,” Dave laughed.

“I’m not going to make it long enough to rot,” Jeff said. A chair slid across the floor followed by Jeff who hit the floor hard and loud.

Boots thundered across the cantina. Owen’s chair was suddenly no longer beneath him, his head cracked off the floor. Dave’s words were fast and furious. “See to my brother. If he dies, you die.”

Owen blinked in the dim cantina light. Pain seared across his skull. The spinning room slowly focused on the barrel of Dave’s gun. The unblinking black eye in steel provided Owen more than enough encouragement to move. He stumbled to his feet and joined Jeff.

“You better do what he says. Once he gets to something he’ll finish it through.” Jeff struggled with each word. His belly wound seeped across alkali dust caked clothing. A revolver hung loose in his grasp but remained trained upon Owen.

“I don’t aim to die today,” Owen said equally as slow. He tore Jeff’s shirt and revealed purple flesh marred by torn muscle and blood. The drunk washed blood away from the wound with a bar rag and bottle of tequila. Jeff yelped in pain.

“You livin’?” Dave brought his revolver to bear on Owen.

“It hurts.” Jeff managed through clenched teeth.

“He’s livin’.” Owen slurred.

“Throw out your guns and come on out or else we’ll gun you down.” The sheriff’s voice boomed from outside the cantina.

Dave responded to the sheriff with gunfire then added, “Come on in for our guns.”

“No can do, cowboy. I’ll burn you in the fires of hell first.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tequila – Part 1

Tequila – Part 1
By: James Dubeau

Tequila in the afternoon creates a different kind of drunk.  It does not make one hot and want to fight like whiskey does. It does not just give a good beer buzz. The only thing a tequila drinker wants to do is lounge away from the sun.

That was the mood Owen was in that afternoon. He leaned his chair in shadows against the wall in Reyes’ cantina with a hat pulled over his eyes. A mostly empty bottle of tequila was upon the table. Flies buzzed near his head, keeping him on just this side of consciousness. Reyes watched his only patron while he wiped glasses clean.

Owen didn’t budge when the sound of thundering hooves filled the cantina. Soon a pair of men bashed through the door. One pair of boots pounded across the wood floorboards, the other was softer and accompanied by labored breath. Dust from a hard ride on the trail floated on tiny air currents and reached Owen’s lips.

“Whiskey,” the heavy man said at the bar.

The thud of a bottle hitting the counter followed by clinking glasses filled the room. Reyes’ voice wavered. “All I got is tequila.”

“I’m dying, Dave.” The other man wheezed.

Liquid splashed into glasses. Dave threw back his drink and his glass shattered on the wood floorboards. “You drink this coffin varnish? We got money for good stuff. All you shop keepers have a private bottle and it better be whiskey.” Coins jingled across the counter.

“Sure thing boss. I got something good out back.” Reyes’s footsteps carried him from the room and were silenced behind a shutting door.

“They got me good. I can’t ride no further.”

“You can’t hang up your fiddle, Jeff. After a rest we’ll hit the trail again. Not too much further before we are free in Mexico. Just think of all that money we have. That’ll keep you going.”

“That railway man surprised me. He put a hole clean through me. He killed me.”

“You Squabashed him good. He got what he deserved for trying to stop us.” A metal click cut the silence in the cantina, the hammer on a revolver had been cocked. “Who are you?”

Owen’s tequila soaked brain refused to be fully woken from his siesta. In the state he was in he would not have moved for God let alone for a pair of armed bandits. The threat of death was just a welcomed release from life.