(For Ms Jesse)

Read Part One and Part Two here.

The Reaper’s brow furled slightly a couple of times, then it engaged in a full-caliber ‘knit’ solution, as he painfully processed a precocious plan of mine. “Aw, dang-nabbit; and I was doing so well…” I lamented.

“Don’t stick a fork in that plan just yet, Geo… it’s still a little raw on the inside.” Buck admonished. I gave my shitty-look response to nobody standing outside my driver’s side window, so Buck couldn’t see it. His problem is he’s always right! Or… actually my problem is he’s always right, I compromised.

“Geo, it’s him, its that same guy who accosted us at Motel 1, that Eisenberg quack.”

“What, where??”

High noon in Albuquerque with Buck Clay; Fear the Reaper (Part Two)

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“We just passed him on my side of the road walking the opposite direction. He was totally changed up in appearance. He completely changed his clothes, replaced his flop hat with a doo-rag, and lost the bike. That demonstrates a level of sophistication on his part, albeit very basic.” Buck suggested.

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“Yeah, well I was watching for traffic, and probably would have noticed him and said all those same clever things that you just said, me, mystical marvelous me.” I fenced. We could have turned about and drove another confirmative pass by Eisenberg, this time with cams ablaze, had it not been for the rescue mission we were on for LT Sally.

Walter White Eisenberg had gone to the Super 8 Travel Lodge after he left us at our photo shoot at Motel 1. Ah, but Buck and I were crawling on his six the whole way and watched him go inside from a back door.

“He’s got a room in there, Buck. I’ve seen him go in there many times and come out without his bike.”

“Or a friend with a room.” Buck appended. Ooooooo… how I hate that Buck “Reaper” Clay; always one-upping me! “Inexorably obtuse! I interjected, not having a shred of a clue what that meant, or if it even fit the conversation at a wild stretch. It did not, according to the Rubik Cube frown on Bucks face.

“Maybe I’ll just shut my big fat mouth for awhile.” I thought to myself with a smug grin and nod to Buck, a gesture which he was remiss to understand. I caught him yawning and checking his watch. “Hello Houston control…we’re losing him! What are my instructions?!?

Ahoy finally! With that we had a Sally sighting to our front. Actually, to my pleasant surprise Sally had followed directions for once, and was at the right place at the right time. She stood alone, her boorishly small amount of worldly possessions clinging to the bottom of a cavernous shopping cart, at the far end of the empty Radison hotel parking lot. Yes, that magnificent shipwreck that was Ms Salvatrice.

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LTS chokes up to a couple of gypsies at a convenience store, one of the highest volume locations of heroine distribution in the streets of this part of town.

I (imagined I) could already hear the “Goddammits” rolling off her tongue. That was just the word she used to convey anger to me, so that I would know she was mad at me. In reality junkies don’t get mad, they just get junk, or dope-sick.

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“Come on down, Sally; You’re the next contestant on ‘What the Fuck do you Want!’ Ok so what’s new in your world, little sis?” The filterless cigarette-smoking Sal was scarce amused. “You almost got me killed, Goddammit!” she began, and I lip-synched the words along with her, I had heard them so often. “I had to take my things and leave; I’ve got nowhere to go now. They saw me talking to you and they think you’re a cop. You have to protect me now, Goddammit!”

My head swayed subtly to the imaginary violin music in my head that accompanied her sob-rant.

I toss a slaunch-wise glance at Buck for atmospherics: he’s taking advantage of the lull in life to have his nails meticulously done, which he spat ferociously out the window.

“I need $30.00 for rent, GDI!” Sally continued to try to coax another heroin fix from me.

“I’m not giving you $30.00, or any dollars, Sal… I told you I will take you to the Turquoise Lodge, and that offer still stands.”

“Fuck that shit, GDI… I’m not going to rehab, fuck that shit!!” and she scurried off with a ‘ka-chunk, ka-chunk’ of her three-legged shopping cart, with painfully little in it. An Interface I later had with the motel owner revealed that Sally, who was unable to make rent due to her addiction, had taken to breaking into empty rooms to sleep at night, spending rent on her habit.

Bzzzzzzt… my message indicator peeled as Buck and I hashed out a three-pronged, pipe dream plan that would turn Sal’s life completely around for her. It had taken less than thirty seconds. Too bad she was not still there for us to explain it to her. Bzzzzzt… “Well, when it rains, it pours, Buck… the Texan is back up on the net finally after nearly six months, and wants to chat us up ASAP.

The Texan, was in her day, very clearly a minor when a pimp snagged her and put her in a trafficking ring coerced by dope. Our organization liberated her by slamming her pimp’s head into a brick wall as hard as we could, and got him a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison.

Since that time the Texan has been in loose contact with us, still partial to a stiff dose of black tar, and largely engaged in the prostitution lifestyle of old, the sole thing her ordeal had left her as means of dispatch. We have tried to help her: got her a checking account, tried to get her back in school, but… “once you go black tar, you will never go far.”

Oh hey but this time she has some ‘really really’ important information for us. Not like those other times when she had information that was only ‘really’ important, or not even important, or not even informative at all. Sure Texan, we’ll play your silly game. Drag us into your personal hell. But it is not up to us to decide if we want to make a meet with her or not. We simply must try on each occasion.

“It will be either their phone, or their car” explained Buck, “the excuses they used to jilt you on a meet will be the fault of their phone or their car, every time. We raced to a neighboring city to meet with the Texan. Once at the meet site we agreed on 30 minutes maximum we would allow for the Texan to show up before we turned tail on her, so 30 minutes of random ensued:

“What’s the deal with the editor these days?”

“I don’t know but he better stop changing my sentences just because they sound better to him that way…”

“Yeah but isn’t that what editors are supposed to do?”

“Well you can tell Jack McMurph to take a hike…”

“Last I heard Brandon Webb was applying for a ride along on the Soyuz Spaced Shuttle, and wanted to pilot it back to Earth.”

“No shit… James Powell is not his real name?”

“That’s right, the Odyssean and Frumentarious are going to combine to form ‘Audacious’ a crack team of contributing editors at large.”

“…and then I turned to this behemoth and I said: ‘are you talkin’ to me… ARE YOU TALKIN’ TO ME???”

And so it went.

“Ok Buck, we sang all the campfire songs we know… time to part this veil of tears and progress this thing. Bzzzzzzzzt! my phone sounded off.

“Ah, that would be her majesty with her excuse.” I welcomed.

“Phone or car?” is all Buck wanted to know.

“Well… she said she left her phone in her car and her mother drove off in it so… I guess its both.” “Ah,” Buck nodded, “The ol’ compound excuse–my compliments!”

Back at the Motel 1 the Reaper and I set ourselves up on overwatch more so this time just to provoke the local gentry of incidental leisure. This time we were hardly parked when we were approached by this busy body we noted scrambling from room to room in a quick-time step.

“Do you guys need some help?”

“No, no… but thanks for asking.”

“Oh, ok well I thought you guys needed some help, like maybe you needed some food or something…”

“Oh, so are you going to give us some food then?”

“No, I just thought you maybe didn’t have enough money to get a room?”

“Oh, so then are you going to get us a room?”

“No, no… just checking to see If maybe you needed some help is all.”

“Yeah well no, it doesn’t appear then, that we need any help whatsoever, sooo…. PSSSHHHHHHHHHT!!”

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Ms Busy Body rocking bangs and mouse-ear buns hair-doo, spun on crank, covering more linear distance in a single hour that the Apollo 12.

Yessir, the Sun was long of tooth as it took its final bow, low in the West. All the world had been a stage that day, the day that the Reaper came to town.

In retrospect I wish I had taped the whole experience, sound and video, so I could relive the day, as I have become accustomed to describing it often. It’s like trouble catches wind that the Reaper is in town, and makes a B-line to get a piece of the action. One instance of everything I have ever experienced in CHT happened that day… I’m just glad we didn’t have to use our AK.

I popped my jacket collar against the clutch of the high-desert end-of-evening nautical twilight, as Buck made a slow gait to his truck, with a ‘ka-ching’ and another ‘ka-ching’.

“Say Buck…”

“Yeah, Geo?”

“Why the hell are you wearing spurs?”

“How’s that, G?”

“Forget about it—be safe, and stay lucky, you nut!”

He’d be back back sure, if this situation ever just careened out of control. There is a reason for everything, and the Reaper is it. Just keep yerself on the strait-n-narrow, on the East side of law and order, and you’ll never have to fear the Reaper.

Who’s who in the Zoo? Take a Bow: He walked bent forward at the waist, sometimes with one arm behind his back, always appearing to be in a perpetual state of taking a bow.
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The Lock-Stepper: had a peculiar gait in which he tended to thrust his lock-kneed legs fwd in a form of a jackboot-clad goose stepper. Otherwise a quiet guy who roamed around bumming dope from other motel residents.
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Maw Barker: Maw would prance around pretending to take care of everyone. She didn’t give two shits about how she looked, and would tell you about it.
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The Toys R Us Kid: nope, she just didn’t want to grow up. Though 23 year old now, she still wears the clothes that fit her when she was twelve.
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Hop-Along: needs no introduction. He had a car, would leave his walker sitting in the park lot when he went for a drive. Nobody messed with it.
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Stairwell Youngsters: thinking I saw movement on this completely dark stairwell I fired a shot in the blind, and this is the what the camera yielded.
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Scoring day and night
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Probably the most common site at the motel, is that of a dope sick addict waiting impatiently for their fix to arrive.
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A solitary item that addicts will tote around invariably is their over-sized plastic cup, that is usually filled with a sugary drink that they crave due to heroine habit.
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A couple more aspects of his Indecency, Heisenberg
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Meth tweaker pimps girlfriend to trucker then tweaks on until her return
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In closing, the saddest picture of the day: each school day a big yellow school bus makes one stop in the morning at the Motel 1, to pick up this solitary little gem of a six-year-old girl. Every afternoon the same big yellow bus makes one final stop to drop off this little treasure. Her faithful dog invariably runs down the stairs to greet her. They two walk upstairs to her motel room where he parents lay in a stupor in a dark room. How was your day at school, sweetie?
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Geo sends

Photos by Geo Perspectives LLC: Canon 7D cropped sensor DX format/Canon 6D full FX format 35mm. Lens: Canon L-series 70-20mm fixed f:4.0 zoom, IS, USM and Tamron 18-270mm zoom f:3.5-6.5 VC USM