16 March 2009


Just when I complacently decide there's no reason to believe, that pointy-capped computer in the sky wrong-foots me.

Because I've spent time in the US, visiting Americans are pushed my way because I 'talk their language' and can make small chat.

Not with this lady. She was over here with some study group and staying with rich pals of pals.

Mid-40s, handsome woman, sort of in-shape Bo Derek, but covered with freckles.

Unsmiling except when someone said anything to smile at, of which we're short on the ground here. We talked and she said she'd heard I played the guitar which I wished she hadn't but she said she'd like to hear me. I said I was playing somewhere north but it was impossible to find.

"I can read a map," she said quietly, the look in her eyes talking of more elusive trails than to a sign-posted tourist trap taverna.

"The maps here aren't very good."

"Tell me about it."

We met up, she typically having stopped at a village to check her bearings and hi-jacked someone to show her the way whom she then drove back and then back to the bar.

She smoked Luckies with which she fiddled endlessly, refusing proffered lights then suddenly producing a Harley Davidson Zippo and setting it half on fire, drawing deep.

She scared me, made me wonder what sort of man could 'handle' such a relaxed self-contained creature.

My turn to perform and I played Gringo Honeymoon which she applauded with a sudden dazzling smile.

"Not bad, José. Better 'n' I expected. We can work on the accent but the guitar's fine."

Then she went over to the bar for another litre of red, sat down and lit a cig sans any of the previous faffing.

"When I was about 8, we were living in Los Alamos in the hills of New Mexico. Bugs everywhere, big flying things, junebugs, that sort. Came crashing into the screens.

One day I found a scorpion in the yard. I got a rag and poured some kerosene over it and put the rag in a circle round the scorpion, lit it and and waited for the scorpion to do what I had read about."

Her eyes were very blue and seemed to be measuring my reaction.

"Lift its tail and sting itself to death.

Know what it did? Nothing. Then it sort of gave a shake and juddered towards the flame. Dammit it if it didn't climb right onto that rag and just sit there. Balanced.

This crackling sound as it began to burn. Never forget that."

Laser blast of the baby blues.

"You singing that ... Robert Earl Keen. Brought it all back."


sibadd said...

Is it to be abattoir or corrida, cockpit or slaugher house, the pit or the vet? I reckon if I were the scorpion it'd be a better death than at the hands of an arachnid lab techie - '...The other thing to do with heavy bodied scorpions is to inject ethanol into them so they don't rot from the inside out. Get an insulin syringe from a drugstore and inject alcohol in the mouth and the anus at the base of the telson. You can also inject between tergites and sternites, but this may cause a lump to be created in the body cavity.'

Corfucius said...

This is v good information for a follow-up date with "Bo". 'Heavy-bodied scorpions' is definitely a term to bandy before pale-eyed Arizona ladies.
'Inject alcohol in the [scorpion's] mouth and anus at the base of the telson' is a line every real man should deliver once in his life. I didnt know a scorpion had an anus so i learn something new from Sinbad.