From her small balcony, the witch watched the world go by. Bridgid McGillicutty had lived in this house near the shore with her familiar, a black bird named Ramiro, since it was built.
For the most part she was content to watch the parade on C Street while Ramiro fetched her herbal teas and hasenpfeffer, on command. Ramiro though craved something more. He could be a randy bastard and he loved to chat up the young girls on their way to the beach. Sometimes this could cause problems.
“Mistress,” he had said just that morning, as he introduced his latest bikini clad acquisition, “this is Mandy. She followed me home and I intend to keep her. She’s quiet, doesn’t eat much, and she’ll stay in my room. You’ll find her very non-interruptive.”
“Absolutely not,” Bridgid said, “turn her out immediately or you’ll find yourself in my cauldron.”
The pair turned and walked dejectedly back downstairs; Ramiro muttering away under his breath.
As her mount shifted uneasily under her, she grasped the brim of her old felt Stetson, gazed upwards and remembered Jean Pierre.
He had been a fur trapper, a rough man who should have stayed in France, a man who was not afraid to die. Indeed he had told her as much right before they locked eyes and she slid her blade between his ribs. Belle had held him as his life slipped away and his soul departed. There was something uniquely intimate about killing a man that way.
“Peace be upon you Jean Pierre I grant you freedom from this tortured life.” She had intoned as he breathed his last and collapsed on the rough hewn floorboards above the saloon.
She wiped her blade clean on his chaps, dressed, snuck down the back stairs and took his horse.
Her bruised ribs ached as she rode west, always west. She had to put some distance between herself and Laramie.
The cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode. Melinda and I strolled among the headstones reading names and epithets. The list of the currently interred could go on forever but notables included:
1910 – 1934
It’s much better than being caught.
Idi Amin Dada
President for Life
1925 – 2003
Arizona Donnie Barker
1873 – 1935
1925 – 1998
Susan “Sadie May Glutz” Atkins
1948 – 2009
1878 – 1953
1934 – 1976
Protest is when I say this does not please me.
Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me occurs no more.
Bad King John
1166 – 1216
1906 – 1967
1758 – 1794
Some that we expected to see we did not. Caretakers told us, when we asked, that a lot of the monuments are stolen by souvenir hunters. There is still plenty of room there. Let’s hope it stays that way.
The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be a cook. No not a cook, a baker and confectioner. Luigi would wake early; bake a batch of sweet, sticky cinnamon rolls that his family would eat for breakfast. They would come home in the evening to a bounty of cakes, pies, brittles, chews, and the like.
They all doubled in size.
Determined to create the ultimate dessert and snack food, one day Luigi began experimenting with his grandmother’s sponge cake recipe, baking golden yellow finger cakes in cast iron molds. His sister wandered in for a snack and took one of the cakes. She stuck the end of a sweet cream filled icing bag into the cake and squeezed, filling it with cream before she popped it in her mouth.
“Mmmm,” she said and did it again.
Luigi watched her and finally snatched the sixth one she made and tasted it himself.
“Eureka,” he exclaimed, “I’ll call them Twinkies.”
I see absolutely everything. Except for the things I miss. I sometimes miss the big things.
The beast was clearly dead, beached, rocking gently with the undulations of the sea. I approached for a closer look. Her countenance was passive, nonthreatening; in stark contrast to her still bared teeth that were menacing, razor sharp needles designed for sudden and horrible annihilation.
Her eyes, her eyes were as big as a man. I leaned in close, hoping to glimpse her spirit, to no avail. They were glazed and clouded, blinded by death.
“They were settlers heading west, lured by the promises of adventure, and abundant land. They were an armada of prairie schooners. Their wagon master was Skip Larson, you’ve heard of Colonel Larson; everyone has.
“Anyway, this was dangerous territory so when they stopped here for the night they circled the wagons and Larson told the pilgrims that they would move on when the wind died down.”
“Who built that then, if they headed out right away?”
“Reckon that they didn’t leave as quickly as that. You might have noticed it’s a bit windy ‘round here. Yeah, we figure that they were here for 15 years or more. As the canvas rotted on their wagons they built this big shelter and lived together in it till the wind died down.
“It might have been the first commune in Arizona.”
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