Markwildyr.com, Post #159
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I received some nice comments on part one of “Gabacho.” The perceptive will notice that this is the second of three parts, not two. As I told you last week, I hadn’t finished the story. I have now, and it took two more “tellings.” At any rate, here’s part two. Hope you enjoy it.
* * * * *
I usually wear a short vest without a shirt during the workday. It keeps the sun off my back, but exposes my chest and allows for a little air to circulate… even though as often as not, it was hot air. But when Carlos was around, he spent so much time studying my exposed flesh, I got the feeling I ought to cover up or else do something about it. And the temptation to do something about it was growing stronger by the day.
One late afternoon, he caught me in a remote pasture doctoring a cut on a half-grown steer. Wished he’d showed up a little earlier, he could have helped me bring the ornery critter down. As it was, he applied a healing salve on a trembling leg while I held the steer immobile. When we were finished, I let the calf go, and he rose with the wounded air of a British earl who’d just been insulted. Then he put as much distance as he could between himself and us.
Carlos handed me the medicine to put in my saddle bag, a lazy grin curling his patrician lips. “I wanna paint you, Gabacho.” He put a hand to his chin and let his eyes wander. “But I dunno if I want you in that little vest that covers a little and shows a lot, or if I want you desnudo.”
“Nekked?” I said, adding a snort for good measure. “Good luck with that.”
His smile grew wider. “But you forget. I’ve already seen you. And I remember every detail. I could paint you right now without you shedding nothing.”
“Is that a threat?”
Carlos dry-washed his face. “Nah. Just talking. But it’s a temptation.”
“Resist it,” I said in a low voice.
“Okay, if you’ll sit for me. Vest on or off, your choice.”
“We are talking about with my britches on, aren’t we?”
He laughed. “Yeah, if you insist. This evening?”
“In my studio. Right after chow.”
“Okay… I guess.”
I’d not seen any of Carlos’s work, so I didn’t know if I’d come out looking like a clown or a monster, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t come out looking like me. After he reclaimed his black and rode away, I finished scouting the pasture and headed for headquarters.
After that first day, I’d eaten with the other vaqueros, slept with them in the bunkhouse too, and learned they were a decent bunch of men. Their card games tended to get a bit wild sometimes, but I didn’t often risk my money on the turn of a card. I was pretty good at poker, but the best way I know to get on the wrong side of a man is to take his money in a card game when he doesn’t really know how handy you are with the double shuffle. I was more a checkers man where everything’s right there on the board. Juego de damas, they call it down here.
After the meal, I showered and changed to clean clothes, remembering at the last moment to pull on my vest. Carlos opened the door almost before I knocked. He smiled… and then his face fell.
“What’s the matter?”
“You’re wearing a shirt.”
“I usually wear a shirt, except when I’m working in the sun.”
“No, no! Take it off.”
“Jeez, let me get inside first, okay?”
He was ready for me. He had a blank canvas on the easel and a graphite stick lying on the table beside it. He got me out of my shirt and in my vest in short order and seated me on a stool at a slight angle from the easel, one boot on a rung, the other one on the floor. Then he posed me with my hat in hand, but was careful to position my arm so it didn’t block a view of my crotch. I thought it funny but indulged him anyway. After he arranged the lighting the way he wanted it, he retreated to the easel and picked up the graphite stick, his handsome face taut with concentration.
“Do I have to stay completely still?” I asked.
“No, you can move to relieve muscle strain, but stay in that general position.”
“How long is this going to take.”
“Only about thirty minutes or so tonight.”
“Yeah. I’m just doing the sketch tonight. You gotta sit for me when I start doing the painting.”
“Damn,” I muttered.
“Can I get you a cerveza or something?” he asked, his eyes shifting rapidly back and forth between me and the canvas.
“Nah. Don’t want a beer. Not right now, anyway.”
A little while later, the door opened, and I glanced up to see Carla enter. I caught Carlos’s pained look, but he said nothing. She walked up beside him and gave both me and the drawing a good once-over.
An impish grin claimed her lips, making me wonder what I really looked like in the sketch. “Looking good there, Gabacho.”
“Carla,” Carlos said, ‘you know better’n to barge into my studio. What if I was doing a nude painting of him?”
She smirked. “Even better.”
“Go on, get out. You’re disturbing my concentration.”
She ignored him. “Gabacho, when he lets you go, come to the house and have a drink with me.”
“Sorry, he’s having some drinks with me. Might make an evening of it. Or go to town to la Cerveceria.”
Carla took exception to that, and a little dustup occurred in the local lingo far too fast for me to keep up. But it was clear that I was the subject of discussion.
The plot stiffens… uh, deepens. Wonder what happens next posting?
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
See you later.