"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stumpy's Spur--a story


Chapter One
Stumpy Clark wore wide-striped suspenders,  had a wooden leg and walked with a limp. But he was the fanciest  two-stepper in the Panhandle. His dance hall at the north edge of town, Stumpy’s Spur, reeked of beer, cigarette smoke and urine. Attracting country and western bands and dancers from all over West Texas,  the Spur was Darling’s biggest attraction, although the  chamber of commerce wasn’t too proud of it. The gravel parking lot covered two acres, and would be packed with pickups and cars every weekend.
Stumpy always drank Long Island teas, mingled with the crowd, picked the prettiest bosomy blondes  to dance with. His favorite songs were “Great Balls of Fire”  and "Red River Valley." When they were played at least twice a night, Stumpy would be at the center of the wooden dance floor, two-stepping to the wild music with some big-haired, boot-wearing girl in tight jeans. There was plenty of talk about how many sweet young things he’d taken upstairs in the office behind the DJ’s booth afterward for encores.
Somebody would yell across the room at him, after the dance, “Hey Stump, how ‘bout an encore?” He’d turn, tip the edge of his worn straw cowboy hat, wink, and lead his partner off the dance floor.

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