Posts Tagged ‘Deena’

Deena (From Thereby Hangs A Tail)


March 23rd, 2010 Posted 9:39 am

We sat in the patio bar at the Dry Gulch Steakhouse and Saloon, Bernie on the end stool, me on the floor. The big summer heat – not just heat but pressure, like a heavy blanket is always weighing down on you – was over, but it was still plenty hot and the cool tiles felt good. Bernie pointed across the street with his chin. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” said the bartender.

“That hole in the ground.”

“Condos,” the bartender said. “Ten stories? Fifteen maybe?”

Bernie has dark, prominent eyebrows with a language all their own. Sometimes, like now, they grew jagged and his whole face, normally such a nice sight, darkened. “And when the aquifer runs dry, what then?” he said.

“Aquifer?” said the bartender.

“Any idea of the current population of the Valley?” Bernie said.

“The whole valley?” said the bartender. “Gotta be up there.” Bernie gave him a long look, then ordered a double.

A waitress in a cowboy hat came by. “Is that Chet? Haven’t seen you in a while.” She knelt down, gave me a pat. “Still like steak tips?” Why would that ever change? “Hey, easy, boy.”

Bernie had a burger and another bourbon; steak tips and water for me. His face returned to normal. Whew. Bernie worried about the aquifer a lot and sometimes when he got going couldn’t stop. All our water came from the aquifer – I’d heard him say that over and over, although I’d never laid eyes on this aquifer, whatever it was. I didn’t get it at all: there was plenty of water in the Valley – how else to explain all that spraying on the golf courses, morning and evening, and those beautiful little rainbows the sprinklers made? We had water out the yingyang. I got up and pressed my head against Bernie’s leg. He did some light scratching in that space between my eyes, impossible for me to get to. Ah, bliss. I spotted a French fry under the stool next to Bernie’s and snapped it up.

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Little Phil And Us


March 21st, 2010 Posted 9:52 am

“So when was this?” Colonel Bob said. “When your ancestors came out here?”

We were at the Dry Gulch, me, Bernie, Colonel Bob. Steak tips polished off, I was lying at the edge of the patio bar in the last rays of the sun.

“Right after the Civil War,” Bernie said. “My great great and maybe another great or two grandfather fought for the South. He was in the Shenandoah Valley with Jubal Early late in the war when Sheridan rolled them up. After that – from this diary he left behind – it’s kind of clear that he more or less deserted and made his way out here.”

“He left a diary?” said Colonel Bob.

“That’s how I know I’ve got some Indian blood in my veins.”


“Navajo, to be exact.”

“Tell me about it,” said Colonel Bob.

Deena, behind the bar, poured more bourbon. My eyes closed.

Guys Like Us


March 19th, 2010 Posted 9:24 am

“Ever make a mistake that came back to bite you?” Colonel Bob said.

We were in the patio bar at the Dry Gulch Saloon and Steak House, one of our favorite spots. They have a waitress named Deena who knows about my thing for steak tips. She likes Bernie a lot – that’s the kind of thing I can just sniff out – but I don’t think he knows. And that would be way too complicated! There’s Suzie, right? And the whole new Leda situation – is that in To Fetch A Thief?

“Next question,” said Bernie.

Meaning what? The answer had to be no. Bernie had never been bitten, not that I could remember. We’ve had some close calls, of course. I thought right away of that night near the huge saguaro on the border. That’s in To Fetch A Thief, for sure.

Meanwhile Colonel Bob was laughing. “What is it about guys like us?” he said.

Bernie sipped his bourbon. “Born too late,” he said.

Colonel Bob stopped laughing.


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