Page 9


and pulled and plugged his own leg . . . shot himself in the leg and had to go to the hospital. And while he was getting the slug pulled out, someone said, his wife threw away the gun. Dropped it in the septic tank. Oh, Marvin Hood, you’re a bad one and all that, and look what you’ve done for the town, look what you’ve done for the radio business and the newspaper business, and the gun and bullet business, and look what you’re doing to the Texas Ranger business and the bloodhound business, and God, what are you doing in the politic business. They are really about to hang that Sheriff from the courthouse flagpole. People are flat getting disappointed about the way he’s missing out on getting together with you. I mean, there had to be somebody to blame besides Texas Rangers and the Sheriff and the Police and the kIVIER CITY 5:1 66 i: 308 WEST 16TH ST., AUSTIN, TEXAS al r 065 The a.u.Jfikt’s cawytaiut I,~.2_~023 : 661._ 1-733 411.46., Yx 174 Oranois ClothShirts 1009’o DOUBLE-KNAP lOca COTTON FLANNEL COMFORTABLE \(and +hal get quite rAf.11ew with old MO COLO% bright Red Jo^ Oarkbrev , Mow, 512E5: HENSS M1. X L. W014E145-104. $16.00 pootpaid trim etwAithis #44 ‘T54 60 ENO1.05E0 IS A OftECK. OR MONSX CRAM MEWS SIZE Color choice second color choice WOmeN6 4126_031ot char.* second cotOr , aioice NAME AtOPRE44 C4 TY STA-IE ZI Whole Earth Provision Co. 2410 SlinArttOrd0 St. *AuStin i llax. 78705 Bloodhounds. That just left one party. There was this acreage of blame to be subdivided and shouldn’t Mister Nigger get a fair share? So, the word came down that you could lay this trick on the niggers, all this business about Marvin appearing and hiding out and making phone calls. All that was just some more of that old timey, slap your knees, down home style nigger business. Yep, it was country niggers putting Marvin up, seeing he was fed, giving him a place to stay and all, lying and conniving, throwing the search parties off guard. How else, I mean, how in the devil else is the man pulling it off? Marvin Hood my ass. The talk says that even old Mary has to be getting some logistic support from those blacks. And ain’t that just like him to take it, too, ain’t that just like him to live among them and carry on like that. The Rangers pulled out, I mean, Shurf, there are these other things, these other problems to be looked after, like chasing Messicans, toting wetbacks back on across the river. The Bloodhounds went back to Huntsville. You see, there were these many and diverse problems, the land was fraught with thieves and bandits, there were other things for Rangers and Bloodhounds besides charging through the East Texas bottomland on the trail of some damned looney. . . . BLOODHOUNDS! Hell, Brother, Marvin trained bloodhounds during his stay at Huntsville. He was the man who taught them their stock in trade. There wasn’t a hound in the pack he didn’t know on a first name basis. He was too smart for a dog, you see, he knew all the tricks, walking fences on stilts, wading creeks, dropping pepper on his trail Who gave that sonabitch pepper? I mean, I wish we could catch one of them niggers aiding and abetting… . And then it was almost over. The high school blackboards stopped bearing “Marvin Was Here” signs, and the whole business looked like it was going to die off. The word was out that the Law was giving up on him. The word was out in the paper and the radio, to hell with him. Holing’up out there in the woods, carrying on like a fool. Just to hell with him. Citizens, his wife is going back home. Everything is returning to normal. Little scoundrel ever shows up around here again and his ass is grass. THE WIFE IS GOING BACK HOME. An old bait man like Marvin would appreciate the subtlety of all that. So the chase was off. The Sheriff’s posse was told to lay off, spending their time practicing the quick draw, preparing for the next emergency. On about the third day of the stake-out, a police officer had to take a crap. They had an arrangement with the neighbors, but this business had been going on for some time now, and the excitement was worn off. I mean, what the hell, the little bastard probably really was in Mexico, by now. Marvin’s house was open, the neighbor’s house locked. So he ambled across the yard and strolled inside Marv’s house to do his business. THE NEXT DAY, there was a picture on the front page, a great action photo, you know, , of the Sheriff clutching his arm, nursing a wound he got from a splinter when a stray shot like to pinned him into the wall. The story was there for everyone to read, neat and perfect as could be. A police officer had surprised Marvin, right there in the house, My Man, caught him right there in the bathroom. There were a few hundred dozen empty sardine cans around, too. It looked like he’d been staying there all along. Right there in his own house, and somehow, before the big gunfight took place, there was time enough for the Sheriff to get there, time enough for guns to draw and bullets to fire, shotguns to do their blasting and smoking. You know how it is when there’s a murderer holed up, Fans, you’ve seen it before on the tube. I mean, this was a veritable siege, before the days when all this riot training, s m.o k e em-out-with-gas-knowledge was down to the small community level. This went the old fashioned, hell for leather, West of the Pecos route! A blastout! And pictures in the paper, a little wound for the Sheriff, sheeit, you couldn’t have planned it any better. Old Marv, holed up in the house like that, grown mangy from running in the woods and carrying on. Old Marv, a tough little customer. Shot himself, they admitted. In the heat of battle he opted out? Our Marvin Hood? The Main Man of the hills and woods? The man who could run their tails ragged through the brambles and the brush, the man who could make the Texas Rangers, I said Rangers, Boy, hightail it on back to wherever it is that they roll their own? That man would blast himself in the thick of it? Right there in his own toilet, right where he had shot his father-in-law? The They Sayers said he had been dead at least a day before the police realized he was in the house, and that’s Marshall for you, that’s anywhere, isn’t it? I mean, that’s just like some faceless They Sayer, trying to make the Sheriff and his boys and all those other people, even the newspaper and its photographer, trying to make all those people look silly. Silly. Those They Sayers, they have their way of getting out of Marshall too. You have to be able to throw yourself loose, just pitch yourself loose from that earth. From the hot concrete streets and the sweet pine, from the people, the pool of weariness and unhappiness. Not just there. In a lot of other places all over this globe. It doesn’t matter where Marvin went, where the T&P Shops went, where even the hottest goddamned hopes of the hottest goddamn dice thrower … When the Time Comes in Marshall, like everywhere else, you either walk out or sooner or later they carry you.