It was midnight when I got the call.
Gin drunk and covered in shadows,
Mary Anne O'Shanter spewed the fix.
Her husband, the Fat Man, and Fontaine
were pulling out.
I rolled a cigarette,
forgetting about the one I left lingering.
What I needed was a shovel, some suspenders, a can of soup,
chewing gum, a gallon of gas, and a Halloween mask.
It didn't add up.
The kidnapped McLean baby,
the stolen .455 Webley-Fosbery,
the midget named Carlos.
A piece of the puzzle was missing.
I knew I was close,
but what did the dude rancher with the gold teeth mean when he said 'I was born ready'?
Why did the flashlight salesman take all the Gideon Bibles out of the Wagon Wheel Motel and flee for Arizona?
Why would Mrs. Baker lie about her uncle's shoes?
I was like a hawk hovering over dozens of squirming bald pink baby rats,
I was ready to kill, to feast, to have seconds and thirds.
I didn't have any talons.
eaten alive by fire ants
and freeze frames of ass-kickers.
The gloomy 1850s desert pisses yellow mustard
onto the 5-o-clock shadows of Slim, Buck,Tex, and Nobody.
sweats tequila through his bandana
like some fictional character,
clasping his gut wound
in slow motion,
and falling off of his horse.
Ross Peterson is a freelance writer from Missoula, Montana who strives for a hard-boiled, bizarre world with his poetry; he also writes genre movie reviews for both VHSCollector.com and Splatter-Shack.com. He's pretty awesome.