A True Story From Where I Grew Up

This happened in Central California many years ago, well not that many years ago.

Jaime was in Love with Martha, the waitress at the Armory Cafe.  He would go into town every day and sit at the
counter of the cafe and make small talk with her.  He would always look at the menu and ask for something that
wasn’t on it.  When Martha or one of the other waitresses would say that they didn’t serve “that”, Jaime’s eye’s
would narrow, his ear would turn into his shoulder and surprised he would say, “what kind of place is this that
serves Mexican food and not ‘this’, my mother makes ‘this’ at least once a week and she is only a simple Mexican
woman.”   Then he would order a beer that they didn’t  have and then say good bye to Martha and walk on down
the road to a little market and buy a big bottle of very inexpensive beer.

One afternoon while he was drinking his beer he saw a man and a woman walk off down a dirt road into the
Willows.  He recognized the woman as Martha.  He followed them but soon they disappeared into the Willows.  
Maybe an hour later, on the road, he spotted them.  When he approached them Martha introduced the man as
visiting from New York City.  The man looked like a man that should be selling cigarettes in an advertisement, his
face had sharp features but the skin on his hands was feminine.  He was on business, the man then said to Jaime,
while looking at Martha, “the Armory Cafe had the finest Mexican food in California”, Martha giggled, Jaime did not,
he just nodded, not saying a word and took off down the road.  He turned into the Willows and watched the couple
from a distance.  

He saw the man slap Martha on the rump then hold her head and kiss her.  The man from New York City then ran
his hand down her back, over her butt cheek then with his palm he pulled her thigh up and his hand went into the
back of her knee.  He then turned and started out of town into the Willows.

Jaime attacked with a heavy branch, the dense wood connected across the New York Man’s face shattering his
nose.  Jaime missed the second time falling into the ground.  The New York man kicked Jaime’s front teeth out,
some how Jaime got up and ran at the Man from New York City, the log hit Jaime’s knee cap making his leg bend
the wrong way, with Jaime on the ground the Man from New York City delivered seventy two blows to Jaime’s rib
cage with a larger log.  Then the final blow to the head busted Jaime’s skull, his eye kind of hung out of his head
and the New York man left Jaime in the Willows for dead.

Jaime was unconscience until the next morning.  The sun was burning down on him and the blood on his head was
dried and cracking.  A stray dog was licking the eye ball that was almost not part of him anymore.  Jaime started the
long crawl back to his dead fathers Rancho.  That evening another stray dog did not lick his protruding eye ball but
just bite it off from Jaime’s head and ran down the road and howled.  Jaime didn’t miss his eye.  He still had another
day of crawling until he reached the Rancho.  At about dusk six days later Jamie reached the barn of the Rancho.  
He crawled into the barn and then laid in a corner.  His leg was rotting so with an old Machete gave his leg several
blows.  He was too weak to do any damage, he screamed and howled until finally his sister’s husband happened
into the barn, he had been drinking.  By the third crow of the rooster Jaime was a one legged man.  His sister’s
husband grabbed the severed leg by the ankle, with both hands, started to spin, maybe six or seven rotations, then
sent the leg off into an empty dirt lot.  Jaime told his sister’s husband about the man from New York City.  They both
swore revenge.  His sister’s husband and Jaime finished his bottle then they both passed out.

The light from the sun shone into the barn the next afternoon, it hit Jaime in his empty eye socket.  With his last
strength he hopped up onto his foot and into the sunlight.  Balanced on his one leg, he cursed the Sun and the
Gods for revenge on the Man from New York City.  The last drop of blood dripped from his body and he fell dead in
the dirt.  His severed leg jumped up and hopped into town.

Jaime’s leg went right to the Armory cafe.  It was now more than a week since Jamie broke the New York City man’s
nose.  Jaime’s leg kicked down the door to the cafe to see Martha sitting at a booth with the New York City man.  
The man was moaning about his broken nose, Martha sat across from him holding his hand crying, trying to comfort
him.  At that moment the sound of dogs claws ricocheted off the walls of the Armory cafe.  It was that other stray
dog.  The dog’s mouth opened and stuck to the fangs Jaime’s eye looked straight at Martha.  A tear from the eye
mixed with the dog’s saliva and made a puddle on the cafe’s floor.  Jaime’s leg jumped onto the counter, kicked off
his boot, hitting a bloated, drunk Mariachi Baja Sexto player, who wasn’t concerned with the matter, in the head, the
leg then reached for the one shot pistol that was behind the counter.  The eye ball in the dogs mouth focused in on
the Man from New York City, the second biggest toe of Jaime’s foot squeezed the trigger and a lead ball traveled
thru the air into the center of the Man from New York City’s forehead and ended Martha and his romance.  Jaime’s
leg jumped from the counter into his boot then bounced onto the stray dogs back.  The dog ran like a gazelle out of
the cafe into the bar across the street, then ran back across the street into the bar next to the Armory Cafe.  

The bartender gave Jaime’s leg and eyeball and the stray dog a drink, on the house.  

-Charlie McGovern
February 25, 2001

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