Out Copano Way By Pouzee Fohn There was a time before the suburb was gobbled up by the city that Dr. Burrows had an animal clinic only a half-mile from the bayou. He had an office, a garage where he kept a wagon, and in back he had a shed lined with cages and an enclosed run-around. The wagon in the garage was custom-built and pulled by Midnight and Miss Dark-Dark, two black Doberman pinschers. Late one afternoon when the black dogs pulled the wagon past Joe’s Place, where the beer glasses tinkled, a customer yelled at Joe. “Hey! What’s with the dogs? They don’t even have a driver.” “Don’t need one,” said Joe. “I saw Dr. Burrows train ’em. He had electric collars around their necks. If they stopped, he pushed a button on a battery and it shocked ’em.” “But what’s the wagon for?” asks the customer. “If an animal dies,” explained Joe, “Dr. Burrows puts it on the back end of the wagon. The dogs haul it to the bayou. He taught them to make a U-turn and to back up to a long log on the bank where the water is deep and the bank is high. Did you notice that yellow wooden handle in front of Midnight, the male dog? He grabs it and snap opens, the wagon bed rises and the dead animal slides into the water.” “Ain’t that against the law?” “Who cares?” said Joe. Dr. Burrows was short, dark and wore a thin moustache. He considered himself to be irresistible to women and thought of himself as being a two fisted drinker. Lately his drinking had grown into a full-fledged problem. He had made so many drunken passes at his long time receptionist and secretary that she walked out, never to return. Just today he had hired a heavyset woman who looked like a dock worker. Dr. Burrows walked over and put an arm around her ample waist. “How’re you doin?” Good,” said Mary. “You go get another bottle and I’ll join you.” Dr. Burrows left and returned with a quart. Mary poured, making sure that the man received twice the volume as her own. She let him kiss and fool around and fed him more liquor. Then Mary opened the cash drawer, took all the currency, said “Thanks,” and walked out. Pouzee Fohn “Hussy! Thief!” yelled Dr. Burrows. He tried to run to the garage where he knew an iron bar leaned against the wall. He grabbed it, staggered sideways into something soft and warm, and fell. “Hussy!” he yelled and struck. He got to his knees and saw Miss Dark-Dark trying to stand with a broken hip. The dog had no love for this man who had not fed her for two days and who now had broken her bones. She saw the bar in his hands and silently snarled. “Attack me?” yelped Dr. Burrows. He struck with the bar, crushing Miss Dark-Dark’s skull. One eye popped out just a little bit. Midnight stared at his dead and bleeding mate, then turned unblinking eyes on the doctor. “My God!” cried Dr. Burrows. “What have I done? If they find out I killed my own dog, I’m done for. I’ll have to move!” He took two quick drinks of liquor and poured himself another stiff drink to sip on as he thought. With hands numbed by alcohol, he slowly harnessed Midnight to the wagon. It was dusk. If he could get Miss Dark-Dark’s body in the wagon He lifted, pushed and shoved but it wouldn’t go. He crawled into the wagon, lay down and reached a leg. He heaved but his hands slipped because of blood. He landed on his back and stared at the ceiling. “I’ll res’ just a minute,” he said. The next second he was snoring in the wagon. Midnight cast one look at his dead mate and slowly started the wagon towards the bayou. Dr. Burrows was about to leave the neighborhood. The Toast of the Coast Herald, July 23, 1980. Mullins likes to talk to you eyeball to eyeball, direct but not aggressive. Behind his desk, on a wall, are three objects which do not seem to fit, yet do. Two of the objects are reprints of Frank Frazetta’s hero-fantasies, which are sort of the other side of the cultural coin from Rosamond paintings. The other object on the wall is a framed motto which reads: For I hold as a simple truth there’s no denying. The life of a soldier’s the only life worth living. The death of a soldier the only death worth dying. I’ve seen this sort of thing in the Army, and my guess is that Mullins would be 10 JANUARY 16, 1981 inclined to like Rembrandt’s “Man with a Golden Helmet” and anything by Kippling. What this says is that here sits a servant of certain values. The values are determined and bear the weight of a religion. It does not matter that the assumptions of the values are, at best, homilies; it matters that they seem to have been passed down and, therefore, require protection. Probably this is how Mullins comes to write the bitter denunciations of draft resisters and even more bitter denunciations of women, as in: “When Son stops listening to Mother, he will be his own man, and that is the one thing she cannot have. Having already conquered the man she married, by reducing him to a pile of sexless rubble, easily handled, she will have no new horizons if her son is sent away from her to conquer new horizons of his own.” This is the world-view of a barbarian. I point this out because the Pat Mullins who raises hell in Rockport can also serve up a big dose of venom, which brings us to the so-called larger question about The Toast of The Coast its role among the people it serves. It could be argued that the Toast, under the Mullinses, has performed a useful function. Mullins points to several examples of the paper’s effect on the community, but his favorite is the campaign he waged “almost single-handedly” for an emergency medical system, with paramedics, to replace the service provided by the ambulance of a local funeral home. Now, Mul
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