Tecumah (1.)

Taos graveyard for Tecumah.
Photo by Aaron A. Cinder

There was I, that is Thom (Tom) Hatt again, returned from beyond the living world, and I stood there in the trashed-out parking lot of some cheap, old road motel in Taos, New Mexico looking around like in a dream and smoking an Injun J with a guy named Tecumah.

The traffic roared by lonely, an ache that only the sound of engines running away can awaken and bolster that feeling of isolation in a man’s southwestern guts.

Tecumah was tall and wide, like an ungodly border wall, and he had fireflies for buttons on his long, worn leather coat and they began to flicker and flash as the sun was dropping and the stars were beginning to roar.

He looked one way, to where there was traffic and strips of tawdry shops, and he spat that way. His eyes were cursing. His long hair went wild in the wind.

“Bullshit, man. Bullshit,” he said, and he turned away to where the muscular mountains were now fading into far away bluish darkness like a melting bruise.

“That’s what it was all like here once, a long time ago — the darkness, the pinion, the rocks, the quiet — and then all these assholes show up and turn it all into a postcard and something to sell. That’s just bullshit, man. Bullshit.”

I nodded in agreement as Tecumah handed me the J. “Capitalism is a heartless grind,” I said. “I’m sorry we raped your culture. People can be horrible.”

Tecumah sucked on a big bottle of tequila I had bought him earlier because he had helped me out when my red Ford Probe broke down right outside of town.

“White man come and plow it all down with the head of their god… If they want another war, then they can have it, and I’ll be right there with wicked knuckle knocks on their whitey heads.”

“Good for you!” I exclaimed, and he handed me the bottle. “Let’s go gambling chief.”

“All right,” Tecumah said, wobbly in words and walk, “But you’re in no condition to drive, we’ll take my horse… Besides, that car you have is a piece of shit.”

“Yes, I know,” I said as I hopped up onto the back of Tecumah’s horse. “But it’s all I could afford because I’m merely a slave to the system. They pay me just enough to keep me in need. I’d really like to drive the damn thing off a cliff.”

Tecumah playfully laughed. “We can do that tomorrow if you want. I know a good place to send that piece of shit over the edge. You’ll never see it again.”

As we trotted through town, I told Tecumah that I had written a poem about the car. He just laughed at me again.

“Why do you write a poem about a piece of shit car? You should write a poem about a beautiful woman.”

“I have… A hundred thousand times. It never did anyone any good.” And then I laughed. It really was ridiculous. A hundred thousand love poems written and here I was on the back of a horse headed to a casino with a drunken Native American named Tecumah.

“It’s that damn car you have, man,” he said. “You need to drive something that will turn you into a chick magnet, like me.” And Tecumah laughed about that, too.

“But you ride a horse,” I said.

“You’d be surprised how many chicks I pick up with this horse.”

“What’s the horse’s name?”

“His name is Jim.”

“Jim the horse?”


“Let’s get some Mexican food,” I suggested. “I’m hungry all of a sudden.”

Tecumah stopped Jim the horse. He looked around a bit, thinking.

“All right, I know of a place we can go.”

And then we were off again, down the main drag, and drivers of autos were honking at us, and ignorant idiots were making Indian noises out the windows.

“Woo, woo, woo, woo …” they went, tapping their hands against their mouth holes.

“And I’ll kick you straight in the ass, you fuckers!” Tecumah yelled at them, shaking his big, hunk of meat fist at them. They ducked their heads in like frightened turtles and drove away fast.


Tecumah tied Jim the horse to a fence rail, and we went into the Mexican place. We were abruptly and rudely greeted.

“Hey Tonto, this ain’t Halloween, you can’t come in here dressed like that,” some jack-off host guy said to Tecumah.

“Dressed like what?”

“Like an Indian, that’s what.”

“I am an Indian you twat. Now, we’d like to have a table for two or would you prefer I knock your teeth down your throat you anti-Injun bastard.”

The host scoffed. “Always resorting to violence, damn savage. Why don’t you go back to you where you came from. Lousy immigrant.”

I shook my head in disbelief while Tecumah curled up his Thor hammer fist and pushed it in the guy’s face; it was nearly as big as his whole asinine head. “You’re the immigrant,” he snarled in a wild, earthy way. “And I’ll gladly knock you back to Europa.”

The curly haired twerp of a host shrunk back. “All right, all right, just settle down. I don’t want any trouble here. This way then.”

“Ah, right by the bathrooms,” Tecumah complained as we were seated. “I love the smell of urinal cakes baking in a piss oven when I’m dining.”

“Sorry sir, it’s all we have available right now.”

I looked around at the nearly empty joint.

“Bullshit,” I said. “What about all those other tables.”

“Those are reserved, sir. I’m sorry, this is the best I can do,” and with that he trotted off like the twit he was.

“Let’s just get out of here,” I said to Tecumah. “I bet they’ll spit in our food.”

“Yeah, I have a bad feeling about this place, but let’s just get some beers, and the hell with the food.”

We had nine beers each and then walked out without paying the tab. Some guy, probably the manager, came rushing out after us, but Tecumah slugged him and that was the end of that.

We flew like the wind on Jim the horse and Tecumah almost smashed into a light pole, but we finally arrived at the casino on the dusty and adobe outskirts of town. The place was all a hustle and bustle and packed with noise and smoke and the ringing of bells and the flashing of lights and the cheers and cries of winners and losers.

Tecumah went to play blackjack and I went to the bar and ordered some more beers. I played a poker game built into the bar and then some chick came up to me and she wanted some drinks. I was pretty lit up and asked her straight out if she was a hooker. She took real offense to that and slapped me across the face, but I was numb enough that I didn’t feel much.

“Thank you, mam, may I have another?”

And she slapped me again and that time I felt a pretty good sting and that’s when this big, burly bastard comes over and asks me if there is some kind of problem and why I’m messing with his girl.

I studied the big, ugly dude for a minute or two.

“Ok, ok. So, you’re with this guy?” I said to the chick trying to be a hooker.

“What the hell does that mean?” the big, ugly dude said, moving in closer to me, all pissed off.

“I’m just saying that, well, you just don’t seem like the type of guy who would see much action.”

“Are you calling me a faggot? Faggot.”

“No, not at all. In fact, to be quite frank about the whole thing, I don’t think you could get a dude either.”

The guy grabbed me and pulled me out of my chair.

“I think we need to have a private conversation — outside.”

That’s what he said to me and then I was dragged out into the parking lot, and we had this fight and he beat me up pretty bad and when I walked back into the casino people started screaming because I was all battered and bleeding and that’s when I fell down.

To Be Continued…

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