Wednesday, 5 February 2014


I wrote this a few months after returning from El Norte. It was inspired by events in Larrabetzu, just outside of Bilbao, where three of us, Max, Aubrey (aka "Indy") and myself had stopped for a few beverages. Following Max, a local Spaniard, we patronized three bars, happily drinking San Miguels and vino tinto in the warm, late afternoon sun. Venturing inside at stop #2, I met a man who told me he was from Wyoming and further, that he was a preacher. Right--don't think so. Hearing the news, Aubrey, an American, soon rushed in to meet her fellow countryman. She, too, returned unconvinced.
Not sure what his game was really but, besides drinking, perhaps this fellow just spent much of his time watching American or, more likely, spaghetti westerns, somehow adopting the persona of a 19th century man of faith in the process.....and perhaps that is why the cinema goes like this:

The preacher from Wyoming was drop dead drunk and lonely
No friends, just his bible and booze
Clingin' to the bar, craving Indy's heart,
her red lips and patent leather shoes
With nothing much to lose, the preacher made his move
he dripped, drooled and staggered cross the room
While Indy twirled her hair by the blood stained broken stairs
her six gun tight against her womb

When Indy's trigger clicked, Big Max he acted quick
contentious confusion swept the bar
The preacher kept a comin', the singer kept a strummin'
Indy bit down hard on her cigar
Old Henry killed the lights-too late to stop the fight
someone threw a lantern through the door
and before the smoke had cleared, the preacher disappeared
with Big Max down and dying on the floor

When the morning came the sheriff tried to blame
Indy, but he couldn't prove a thing
"This gun was never fired !", screamed her lover, the retired
and married Justice of the Peace
then Peg the toothless teacher claimed she saw the preacher
sneaking down the alley ditching clues
With Indy by his side, pumped up with self pride
just strutting in her bloody leather shoes

When Max was blessed an buried, the ritual turned scary
Old Henry had a massive heart attack
and the Justice of the Peace he came on to his niece
in the filthy cemetery shack
The townsfolk lynched the preacher while Peg the toothless teacher
wiped the singer's tears from his guitar
And no one could see Indy, but when it wasn't windy
I swear I smelled the smoke from her cigar

Tho' Indy's in Alaska, before she split Peg asked her
to swear that she never did the crime
'cause the Justice of the Peace he, didn't get off easy
and now he's in the bighouse servin' time
On any dark and clear night, go outside and you might
see the ghost of Max drift by Deadman's Point
if you'd rather do some drinkin', the singer's still there singin'
the same old songs--same old stinking joint

Now, for the record, other than the names, the representation of the protagonists is entirely imagined and bears no intended relation to any living persons.

Still, I have no doubt that the real Max is a fine gentleman and would earnestly defend a damsel in distress.
And, he is alive and well : in fact, we reunited in Bilbao when I visited Carmen (EL NORTE IN SONG #1 - CARMEN BY THE SEA) at the end of El Norte.

And "Indy", truly bears no resemblance to Aubrey, the latter being a fun loving ,gentle, kind, and  very compassionate woman, and moreover, not a big fan of personal firearms.

It was a pleasure to spend a few short, but memorable days with these two wonderful pilgrims. I am more than pleased that our friendship remains fact, that's the best part.

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