It was long about high noon when Buck Clay drifted into town, framed on either side by a fleeting high-desert dust diablo, kicked up by a blistering Santa Ana wind. “It looked like trouble ahead,” Clay thought, and he meant it too, by thunder!

With a ‘ka-ching’ and another ‘ka-ching’ sound of spurs, Buck stopped momentarily and stood. The frying sound of a startled rattler’s tail piqued the air. For its arrogance, the snake was penalized by a pungent jet of dark spittle from Buck’s tobacco chaw, which struck the reptile squarely on its head. In the distance hung the faint screech of a Red-Tailed hawk. A solitary road runner dashed across his front.


Ok… there were no spurs, no snake or hawk… but there was a no-shit roadrunner. Something was after it; Buck just wasn’t quite sure what. “Poor little roadrunner,” Buck thought, “never bothers anyone…Just running down the road is his idea of having fun. If that thing chasing him catches him; well… he’s through!” Buck doesn’t even dip, but that renegade maverick does smoke, and did so as he cleared the travel incidentals from the passenger seat of his vehicle. Buck noted that I didn’t smoke, so his well-mannered self profited from the opportunity to suck one before we parted on the prowl.