Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Phoenix Job : man in the unicorn suit chapter 6

  I got to go do a wolf man job on Cape Fear.
 There is a Poetry to the 40 Barstow on one end Wilmington on the other. One end a dusty place people are condemned to by work, perversity or bad luck the other end peopled almost exclusively by choice. 
Retired military, aged not so ex-hippy beach Santas and their leathery but smiling Mrs. Claus's. As well as folks who were born there and were smart enough to never moved. I live in Barstow for ,two out of the three reasons, an anti-oasis in the Eden of California the desert flowing in from Arizona and Nevada. Showing a lack of respect for the state line. I should have taken the forty but I had not had crawdads in a long time and I could pick up a skin walker job in Phoenix.

The Valley of the Sun 

Phoenix is an L.A. suburb steamed cleaned of all character and charm plopped down in a landscape that hates human life. A lily white Van Nuys in Gehenna. At least the Anglo part is the part that speaks Spanish is full of Ice cream selling water stores, Carnicerias, flea markets, Restaurants [selling Birra de chivo, tacos vapona and tortas.
 (a revelatory sandwich that those of you for whom prayer is still officious should petition the divine that taco bell does not find out about)
     Stores where you can buy a coke with real sugar, pay your bills, flash the cellphone you "found" on the bus, get a passport legal aid and a statue of st Jude.
       Ranch Markets that sell 20 kinds of cream by the pound and 30 Agua frescas by the glass and in case you might need that sort of thing fried pork skins 4 foot by 3 with bits of pig still attached.
    Eloteros selling sweet corn slathered in cheese mayo and chili powder. This vibrant Sonoran metropolis is inexplicably stretched thin and place like a hair net over a city that hates it.

Beneath both cities is another much older place.

Skinwalkers are Navajo witches that made pacts with dark things for the dubious ability to turn into coyotes as well as clever coyotes that make the rather more sensible (when seen as an ability to easily obtain a steady supply of fry bread) barter to become Navajos. Or at least look like them. It is a nasty business involving the wearing of human and coyote skins, all manner of cides (matra, patra and the oldest), chanting off key, destroying sacred objects, stirring pots with knives, sleeping in the daytime and at the end of it you can Impress your friends by turning in to a varmint. 

Skinwalker jobs are not particularly dangerous to the body or strenuous on the mind. Unlike the wolf man he knows what he is and furthermore he does not turn into the ravening lupine demon of our primal nightmare he turns into a goddamned mangy skinny ass German Shepherd.  

I met Mrs. Begay at a MacDonalds. I had a coffee it is the only palatable thing in that place [this of course is a lie the pink shake and the original cheeseburger, the one with the sweet onion cubes, have a transgressive  apeal.] But this business, like most, is about appearances people are rarely impressed by s monster hunter eating a happy meal even if he is 6'7'' and north of 300 pounds with "hair like the mane of an albino lion".

  She was a gorgeously plump little women of indeterminate age with a mentholated snuff bag in her lower lip. The outline of her insulin pump showing through the cheek of the Tasmanian devil on her over sized t-shirt.

 "please he is my baby, I have already lost one ... I can't lose another ... maybe you could just talk to him" 
her voice sounding like the whisper of a Canadian. 
  
          " I lied and said I would do my best."

I left her and went to the fry bread house next door. I had a Dene taco with green chili. An elephants ear of fried dough covered with a mountian of mutton ,from the rez, slow-cooked with hatch chilies scattered with cheddar cheese and summited by an unhealthy amount of sour cream. It was a meal intended to kill you but you would be grateful when it did. 

This was not field work I was hungry and would prefer damnation to eating at micky dees with this place next door. Any way  she gave me an address.

As chance would have it there was a skin-walker at the fry bread house that night. Not Mrs. Begay's boy but one of the kind that started life as a varmint and for the love of better food sold it's  mangy soul. He rolled his head to the side and bared his throat when he saw me. I smiled. he changed his order to carry-out.

Across mount mutton hung a painting of the native men drumming in a circle with spirits swirling around the top third. The men were not Navajo the dene are not so demonstrative in their practice. The picture would have been tourist kitsch but was redeemed by two details the men wore old t-shirts, torn Levi's and beat up tennis shoe and the chairs they sat in were stenciled with "property of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation".

After I finished my coke. I drove to the address. It turned out to be a meth-house just north of northern on the side of the canal that does not have irrigation. Where people have a harder time pretending they don't live in a desert. I parked the airstream walked the dirt yard, rams head burrs sticking their spikes into my boots.
I knocked on the peeling paint of the door it may have been yellow. It swung open the stench cocktail of the starter fluid stink meth cook mingled with the gamy tang of uncured coyote hid left wet poured over me.

                            "You Donald Begay?"

                                           "Who wants to know?"

I used buckshot and left him bleeding out in the doorway. Picked up the second half of my payment from his sobbing mother and left town on the 20 well the 10 but in turns into the 20 a bit pass Juarez.

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