Tecumah (2.)

Taos for Tecumah.
Photo by Aaron A. Cinder

And she’s sleeping next to a guy she doesn’t even love… Why?

And I awoke abruptly in Tecumah’s earthen house, thinking of space angels and their precious and pounding red hearts. I hurt like a madman. I just wanted to hold the barrel of life again, feel the touch of its entirety in one big loving gulp, but then again, I was coming down from a mad dream and I ached all over and I thought I saw Tecumah boiling something in a pot.

“Come to the table, sit down. It’s breakfast time,” Tecumah said.

I got up and wobbled over to the table and sat down. He placed a steaming cup of something in front of me along with a bowl of Easter eggs.

“Drink that and eat those,” he said. “It will make you feel better.”

“Easter eggs? But it’s almost Christmas.”

“So what? I like cooking and coloring Easter eggs. It’s my hobby. It calms my nerves.”

“That explains all the chickens running around in your yard then, eh?”

Tecumah looked out the window.

“Yes, I suppose it does.”

I sipped the hot drink and peeled some eggs and ate them with salt.

“Are we still going to drive your piece of shit car off a cliff today?” Tecumah asked in all seriousness.

“No, I better not. I have some things to do today.”

Tecumah huffed.

“That’s too bad, I was looking forward to sending that thing over the edge.”

“I have to drop my painting off at my friend’s gallery. He’ll be waiting for me.”

“All right then. I’ll ride you over to the motel and you can pick up your piece of shit car. But if you want to get wicked again before you leave town, just stop by. I’ll be ready to go.”

The little bell on the door of the gallery went dingy dingy when I went in.

“Welly, welly, welly well! Hooray, for he has finally arrived,” said my longtime friend and “A Clockwork Orange” fanatic Javlin Francis Fitch, jumping up from behind the counter and rushing over to give me a big, rumbling handshake.

“So, this is it then, eh?” he asked, his wide chocolate eyes dancing all over the parcel dangling from my sore fingers.

“Indeed, it is. Vagina Waterfall, as you requested.”

“Well, open it up then will you. I want to see it,” Javlin said impatiently.

I stripped the brown paper off the painting and held it up for him to see.

“Just as I remember!” Javlin said, all happy and insane, his bushy rusted curls bouncing around. “Seems like it was just yesterday I was sitting on your couch in your super hip Nob Hill pad looking up at the wall and admiring this painting while we got baked to oblivion. Those sure were some good times.”

“A lot of good times. So, how do you like Taos then?” I asked.

“It’s pretty hip and super fresh,” Javlin said, lifting the painting up and holding it against a piece of bare white wall. “I’ve made lots of friends. We should all get together before you leave town. I think tonight would be a fine and proper time. Perhaps a tea party. My dolls would just love that.”

“Are you sure you’re okay, Javlin? You seem a bit off.”

He turned quickly and glared at me.

“Off? What do you mean off? Are you saying I’m crazy or something?”

“No, I was just…”

“Because I’m not crazy Thom Hatt! You’re the one who is crazy.” He scoffed as he turned back to the picture. “Seriously. Painting a waterfall that looks like a vagina!?”

“I never intended it to be perceived as a vagina, it’s just a waterfall for Christ’s sake! You came up with the name! And what’s with the big pervert moustache? You’ve never had that before.”

“I’m a creative soul Thom and creative souls have big, bushy moustaches, and it’s not perverted, and if you don’t like it, well, then you can just zip it.”

Javlin went back to placing my painting on the wall and didn’t talk to me for 20 minutes. I strolled around the gallery looking at all the luscious landscape paintings of mountains and canyons and lovely juniper green Earth spirits prancing around in native garb.

“You have some very nice paintings here, Javlin.”

“Why don’t you buy something then?” he said to me in a very uncharacteristic sarcastic tone. “It would be nice if I could at least afford a pot pie to eat.”

“I’m a minimalist, I don’t need things.”

“These aren’t just things, Thom! This is art,” he said as he gestured with his hands and looked around the gallery. “You sure do have a screwed-up head. A minimalist, geez, whatever.”

“I think I’m going to go now. You can do whatever you want with the painting. I hope it sells and you make enough money to buy some pot pies.”

“Well, I hope you plan on staying in town long enough to enjoy them with me. Mmm, I can already smell them baking away in the oven. I’ve really come to love the golden flaky crust, the creamy gravy, the crisp garden-fresh vegetables.”

Warily, I asked. “You’re not involved with that cult again, are you?”

“Cult? What cult?”

“You know what I’m talking about… The Cult of Steamy Goodness. That whole ordeal in that other part of New Mexico. Don’t play dumb.”

He paused, looked at me and then waved a hand in my direction. “Don’t be ridiculous. Of course, I’m not involved again. I just happen to enjoy a good pot pie occasionally. It’s not against the law. Gee whiz, Thom. Give a guy a break.”

“Sorry, Javlin. I didn’t mean to be such an A-Hole. I just know how you can take things to the extreme at times. I don’t want to see you get messed up like that again. It was troubling.”

“You don’t have to worry about me… Our spiritual leader ran off to Montana and got involved with a woman and fly fishing. Eww. Seems he’s just an ordinary fella after all.” And then Javlin suddenly rushed toward a window near the back of the gallery and lifted it open.

“You damn squirrels get the hell out of here!” he yelled. “You come around here again, and I’ll blast your nuts off!”

He slammed the window shut. “Sorry about that. It’s just those damn squirrels get me so upset!”

“Right. The issue with squirrels.”

“Yes, the issue with squirrels. Did you know he’s in jail now.”

“Bumble Bill is in jail?”

“Yes, and they should throw away the key. He was the absolute worst newspaper photographer I ever had the displeasure of working with. I’m so glad to be done with that whole racket.”

“Why is he in jail?”

Javlin laughed out loud. “His atrocious photos!… No. Seems he was kidnapping children and squirrels and forcing them to live together in his basement. He was taking pictures of them as they interacted. He claimed it to be scientific research but obviously no one bought that defense. They didn’t get him for the pictures, just the kidnapping. The children, of course. They didn’t care about the squirrels.”

“Wow. That’s crazy.”

“Crazy does what crazy is… Or something crazy like that,” Javlin said with an offbeat laugh. And then he started to grit his teeth real hard and pull at his long, wild Bob Dylan hair and his face started turning red like he was holding his breath or something and he was starting to sweat, and he was mumbling gibberish to himself. I thought he was having a stroke.

“Javlin! Javlin! Are you all right?”

He let go of his hair and released his breath and soon his face returned to its normal color of pale peach.

“Dude, what the hell? Are you okay?”

“Huh, oh, yeah, I’m fine. Flashbacks. A nervous reaction, I’m afraid. Squirrels. Damn squirrels. The past can be a very haunting thing. But how are you, Thom?”

“I was kind of worried about you there for a bit.”

“Don’t be Thom. I am hip to the extreme, I am as super fresh as can be. You will come back later for the tea party, right, Thom?”

“Yes, I suppose I will come, but maybe you should close up and lie down for a while, take a nap or something. Rest your mind for a bit.”

“That’s a good idea Thom. I think I’ll do that. Thanks for stopping by with the painting. I’m looking forward to visiting with you more.”

To Be Continued…

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