But El Paso was like the flashback music cue …
In 1961 I was the fastest gun in Belleville, N.J.
It ain't boasting if it's true.
Back in the day who would have challenged me and my two six guns?
My cousins Tommy & Bobby next door? They wore six guns over their PJs!
My cousin Billy Boy, that fan of Yancy Derringer? Not a chance. (I thought he lived near Montana in Rutana States and went to Styretowne to shop, but that's a local joke.)
I could act out the entire El Paso song by Marty Robbins. We got the 45 at Prosperi's Market on Bloomfield Avenue in Newark. It had that famous picture of Marty in mid-draw.
The famous Robbins
I’d start out as a hardened cowboy sitting there as “Felina would whirl.”
Then I’d be the angry cowboy who shot the “dashing and daring” young cowboy to prove my feelings for the “Mexican maiden.”
Then I’d hop on the arm of a big fat armchair and gallop off “to the badlands of New Mexico.”
But I’d be weak, like the cowboy in the song, pining away for Rosa’s cantina and Felina. I’d ride hard back to “the hill overlooking El Paso.”
I’d whup that chair to a froth, the hooves to the quick and head for Felina until I was surprised by “five mounted cowboys” and then “a dozen or more.”
I made a lot of noise firing my six-guns over the back of the couch into the big mirror at the men keeping me from Felina.
Some times I was reloading when I felt that “deep burning pain in my side.” I clutched myself and tried to stay on the arm of the armchair.
I could feel myself getting weaker, like all the TV cowboys did.
A wince and I struggled against the bullet “deep in my chest.”
Off the davenport now, the room getting dark, my pistols out of reach, “from out of nowhere Felina has found me…”
Then, that mushy part, “One little kiss, then Felina, good-bye.”
And with that I slumped back spread eagle on the rug, in front of our Motorola TV. Some times I was half-slumped in the toy box.
The song played over and over. In one ear mostly.
The blond and her mother, or maybe a best-friend, stood in front of me. The blond would have won ‘best looking on the crowded PATH car’ if there were a contest.
Her dirty-blond hair straight as an arrow & held in place by a wispy strand. Not a hair was out of place. She looked like she could have been a cheerleader not too long ago.
And when she carelessly ran her fingers through her hair it seemed like a Clairol commercial with Farah Fawcett or one of Charlie’s other angels.
Her pink top was as lightly colored as her rich deep ruby lips were dark. Her bling-bling and baubles were in all the right places, as far as I could see.
If she saw me writing she acted coy. If she saw how I wrote this she tried to act like she didn’t care.
I clung to the upright post and scribbled this, of course, in the hope I’d be able to read it later.
If the blond even looked at me, I probably looked like a drunk man scribbling nasty things to his ex-wife.
There, in the distance, the lights of Bears stadium and good old Platform H.
For me, anyway, H is halfway home "for one little kiss ..."
Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission. Updated May 2008
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