Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Ken Rodgers
I heard them running through dead weeds. Away from the eleven a.m. sun. The Cedar Mountains lounged in the west like they were no name. A bright day, west wind, often brisk, welcome long johns.
My shotgun to my shoulder. I heard them running. Jimmy Joe looked at me and shrugged. Last night she came. Drove all the way from El Paso. One hundred thirty miles of sandy bottom, ruts banging her Stetson into the headliner.
The night was bright and coyotes palavered behind Tres Hermanas. We turned in early. She came. I'm a light sleeper
I heard them running. The quail, that is. They were beating their horny feet on the stems of those dead weeds. Like radar, my ears. One flew. Bloom. In the ditch. Scaled quail hate to fly.
In the tent they started hanky panky. I heard her shuck her jeans. I thought she was leaving him. They smacked lips. I turned in my sleeping bag. They got quiet.
I found the bird in the ditch. Picked it up. Gray to bluer, black lines on the ends of the feathers, reminded me of lace on grandma's hankies. They hate to fly.
I heard them running. Running to the truck. They left the tent flap open. I spotted Orion in the early morning sky. Heard springs squeak. The night breeze in my sleeping bag. I shivered. She giggled.
I walked along the flats that dipped north with a slow demise. I heard quail running. Fly. Bloom, it toppled. Feathers drifted east. Satisfying sound, that plop.
On the hood of the truck in the dead of black, springs creaked, and muffled grunts, some whispers. He told me he'd hired a lawyer. A short squeal.
Sometimes I think critters are stupid. But maybe they think that about me. I have a gun. Changes the odds some. When I woke up next morning, she was gone. I saw her tire tracks in the sand. She was driving all terrain. Now he's got the mopes. Missed three shots. Never saw such a thing. She left her Stetson. It's bright blue with a red feather.
Near the The Coronado Trail
Harsh sun and windy
Ken Rodgers. Sebastopol, CA
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