Thursday, December 27, 2012

Conejo Rojo

Conejo Rojo (If this ain’t a true story, then I don’t know what is.)

For six long months I’d been ridin the trail;
My mind was so weary and so was my tail.
When I got to El Paso I whooped and I cussed;
Headed straight for Roberta’s to settle the dust.

Roberta’s Cantina was known far and wide
To every cowpuncher who ever did ride;
They had the best buffet and had the best brew,
And the law of the six-gun was all that they knew.

I walked through the door, headed straight for the bar,
Hopped up on a stool and laid down my guitar.
While lickin the beer from the moustache I’d grown,
I noticed a girl who was sittin alone.

(Talkin Part)
She was the most beautiful woman I ever did see. She had hair the color of molten Glory and a smile just as warm. I leaned in and asked the bartender who she might be. I said, “Give it to me straight, pardner, and make it rhyme because the talkin part’s over.”

He said, “Why, mister, that’s Lizzie, the Queen of the West;
She’s the one all the boys who come in here like best.
But she won’t be taken by just any guy,
And Conejo Rojo is the name she goes by.”

Conejo Rojo—I pondered the name,
Picked up my guitar and started to sang:

“Conejo Rojo, Lizzie my gal,
Come sit beside me, my red-headed pal.
Come sit beside me and make me feel nice.
Conejo Rojo, don’t tell me ‘No dice.’”

I walked to her table, said “Hi.” She said, “Hey.”
I was lookin for somethin real witty to say.
I come up with a line I knew would not miss:
“What’s a nice girl like you doin in a place like this?”

She told the sad tale of a few months ago
How her pappy’s old age had started to show—
Said his heart beat irregular, and he walked with a jerk.
She’d just turned 18, so she started to work.

Now, the only two jobs for a girl young and poor
Was this one and sellin magazines door-to-door.
She weighed the reputation of what each one does,
Chose the lesser loathsome, and here she was.

As she spoke, the tears ran like rain down her face.
I said, “Lizzie, I’m takin you out of this place,
So you pack up your things and ride out with me.”
She said she’d like to, but she wasn’t free.

“Says who?!” says I in an angry, loud roar.
“Says me,” says a man with a cocked .44.
He said, “I own this town, every tree, every branch,
And I own the deed to this girl’s pappy’s ranch.”

I stood up and looked that man square in the eye.
The folks left the room knowin bullets would fly.
It was 6:59, and before it was seven,
Someone was headed for Hillbilly Heaven.

I looked over at Lizzie; I looked at the man;
I looked at the gun he held in his hand.
I knew one would lose and the other would win,
So I picked up my guitar and sang once again:

“Conejo Rojo, Lizzie my gal,
Speak thou unto me, my red-headed pal.”
She asked, “May I whisper?” I said, “Of course.”
She said, “If you die, can I have your horse?”

I said, “We can share him, that’s almost the same.”
I whistled for Big Fella—that was his name.
I pulled Lizzie up there with me on the saddle.
“Hi-yo, Big Fella! The backdoor! Skedaddle!”

Hooves flashin sparks, through the barroom we split!
There was no backdoor! “Holy…cow!”
“Git outta that storeroom,” my nemesis said,
“Before I fill you and your crew full of lead!”

Roberta’s was built in 1849,
So the storeroom now sat just across the State Line.
The bad guy, despite all his bellow and blow,
Had no property rights in New Mexico.

The old-timers commenced to hoot, laugh, and shout.
Me and Lizzie are fine long as we don’t come out.
We’re livin on love and on hot wings and beer.
Big Fella does not improve the atmosphere.

Yes, friends and neighbors, don’t that beat all?
Just when your back is against a big wall,
Fairytale endings can really come true.
If you’re lucky, it won’t happen to you.

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