Scene 26

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Cops storm the campsite. They kick the Hobos’ feet to wake them up. They slowly raise them from their slumber. “Hey, you get up. Come on now up with you.” Another works on Frank. “Say buddy, you seen an oriental half breed? Frank moans and grumbles. Then he smiles at the officer with missing teeth. One officer observes, “Jesus, these guys smell like shit!” They search the area, looking for clues. The train gradually grinds to a stop. This is place the freight trains pull over on the side rails to allow passenger trains, going in the opposite direction, to pass. The train, nor more than 20 yards away from the campsite, is deafening.

The thick morning fog makes it hard to discern details from more than several 20 feet. Lobo hides in the bushes several paces distant. His friend Mo crouched beside him. Mo urges, “We’d better get on that train, now!” Mo motions to him and starts to creep to the train. He notices Lobo lingering behind and scurries back to question him. “What’s the matter, aren’t you going?” Lobo hesitates. “I don’t think so.” Mo rolls his eyes, “Don’t tell me you’re still thinkin’ of goin’ back? I could see it when you had a chance! But now things have changed.” Lobo retorts, “The way I see it, nothings changed.” Mo corrects him, “Everything’s changed. You’re going to get your ass thrown back into prison in about 5 minutes, if you don’t get moving.”

Lobo just smiles calmly and touches his friends shoulder… a last farewell. Mo can see that Lobo has already made up his mind. Mo warns sternly, “Lobo, I swear you’re always getting our nose into other people’s shit. It’s going to be the death of you…” Lobo shrugs his shoulders in agreement. “Maybe so. I just know I have to go back.” The police men are looking over the train. Checking under beds and within the box cars. The speedy passenger express whizzes past with a loud roar. Seconds later the huge freighter hisses and whines as it revs up it’s 6 huge double diesel engines. The cars clank in sequence as the train strains to gather momentum. Chooo Chooo! Chooo Chooo! Screams the whistle signaling it’s intentions.

Mo makes one final appeal. “Lobo, this is your last chance. If we’re going, we got to go now.” Mo tugs on him gently. Lobo looks into his eyes. “You go. I can’t. I’m gong back…” Lobo puts his hand over his friends. “Thanks for everything.” Lobo heads in the opposite direction, away from the police. Mo shakes his head. “You’re a fool!” Lobo pauses briefly as he flees. Looks back his shoulder at Mo and grins. “You taught me well!” They exchange parting grins of friendship and affection.

One of the officers observes their movement through the bushes and spots Mos vest and head sillohetted against the light of the train as it begins to pull away. “Hey you! You over there, in the woods. Halt! Hey!” The other three officers hurry over. Lobo ducks back into the bushes. Mo shouts in whispered tones, “Go then hurry!” Lobo hesitates. Mo insists, “Go! You gotta do what you gotta do. I’ll be O.K. Now get up and go!” Lobo feels relieved to get Mo’s ‘blessing’ on his decision to return but is worried about his buddy. Nevertheless he scrambles away from the scene through the thicket. The leading officer takes a few steps in the Mo’s direction, while upholstering his 38mm. Mo bolts in the direction of the train. The Officer issues a final warning. “Hey, I said stop!” He aims and fires gun in the general direction of the shadow darting through the woods. A warning shot. The next one would be a kill shot.

The other officers spread out and quickly pull out their guns as well. Mo dashes the final few yards from the clearing to the slowly moving train. He leaps into an open box car. The officer fires a shot that ricochets off the iron sides. Mo jumps out of the other side of the car and sprints toward the woods.

Three officers anxiously look for their opportunity to breach the tracks to get to the other side. A chase and yelling ensues. “Check the train, don’t let him get away.” Their shouts are drowned out by the cranking and whining of the train though. The boldest one runs along beside the train and jumps onto a ladder and begins to climb. The train has gathered enough speed as to make mimicking Mo’s antics a dangerous feat. The other two run towards the end of the train – some 50 yards away – to shorten the distance and time until they can get past. The third is carried further down the tracks before he can scale the box car and jump off on the other side. They reunite to track the suspect. Mo has gained a sizable lead. However, the trio tenaciously follow what they can make of his trail, to the best of their ability.

The lead cop, that fired the shots, wants to survey the area where Mo had emerged from before joining the pursuit. He is still dubious. He thought he had seen two figures in the shadows. Besides someone is needed to stay behind to radio for back up and coordinate follow-up efforts. Mo’s distracting maneuvers would have successfully deflected the officers attention and allowed him to escape safely. But when Lobo heard gun shots, being worried about his friend, he returned to the site.

The officer combs the edge of the forest near where Lobo is hiding. He catches the movement of several branches out of the corner of his eye and moves closer with gun drawn and aimed. Lobo freezes. For several minutes he lays motionless with his face against the wet sod. Two more cops bang their way through the forest to join the inspection. The hobos look on with nervous apprehension. They swarm the area. The two new cops search within several feet of Lobo’s perch. They will literally walk on top of him if they continue on another 3 paces. The talkative Hobo, Tom, noticed Lobo return to check on his friends safety. Seeing Lobo’s precarious position Throws a cooking pot in the other direction. It lands against a tree with a loud clatter. Simultaneously he yells and points. “Hey, Over there… he’s getting away!” The cops attention is snatched away. They immediately tear off in the other direction. A close call.

Lobo peers up over the bushes to thank the Hobo with a respectful bow. Tom waves a covert good-bye from a hand concealed in front of his chest. Lobo quickly steals away through the woods. Mo trudges the thick ooze of the swamp land. The same muck that whipped and exhausted Lobo the day before. Forthwith, the cops soon loose all hope of following. They return empty handed to the tracks to rejoin the others. At least they had discovered and foiled Lobo’s escape strategy. He was trying to hop the freights. They would post search teams in and out of the areas. They had him trapped in the swamps. No one could survive long there without provisions. It was only a matter of time.


Detective Chuck Alvarez and another Officer sit in the living room with Agnes and Butch. Alvarez is back with a different accomplice to deal with another unpleasant situation. He wags his head. “Trouble just seems to dog you’all lately doesn’t it?” Butch looks weather worn and tired. Agnes is unfeeling. Too much to deal with. She goes into overload. Her eyes are glazed over. She appears not to be listening to them. Just nervously puffing on her cigarettes. The detective pulls out several pictures from the accident scene and pass them to Butch. He remarks glumly, “Where did you find her?” Detective reports unemotionally, “Found her out on the highway last night, about a mile and a half from here.”

Butch stares at the gruesome pictures. Agnes glances at them. She grimaces and quickly turns her head to avoid the pain. Alvarez proceeds, “From what we can piece together. Seems like she was pretty hysterical. Ran out in front of a semi… No way of stopping in time… She was considerably mangled, not much left to see.” Agnes hangs her head in her hands. Butch just stares forward. Runs his hand through his hair. Begins to sweat. The accompanying officer nonchalantly pulls out his notebook and prepares to record notes. Alvarez gently feels his way forward. “Do you have any idea what could have set her off?”

Butch thinks hard about it. “Well, she was pretty attached to that Lobo. When he left, she’s took it pretty hard.” Alvarez grunts. “Huh.” Butch proposes a hypothesis, “Probably got upset and left to try to find him.”

Detective carefully considers the prospect while the other writes. “You maybe right.” Butch changes the subject, “Any luck tracking him down?” Alvarez admits, “Unfortunately, none yet… However, we did just get a call several hours ago. Several officers pursued a suspect we believe to be Lobo. About 20 miles up the road. He was attempting to catch a freight train. They got off a couple of rounds and chased him into the swamp. If it is him we’re bound to catch him… It’s only a matter of time. He can’t hold up in there forever… No where for him to go. When he comes out we’ll be ready for him. Expect we’ll have him for sure before the week’s done.”

Agnes and Butch are both apprehensive and gratified to hear about Lobo. It will be good when all this is behind them and they are sunning in California. Until Lobo is dealt with permanently, he is a wild card, a threat. It’ll be real good to see him sent away, forever. Better still to see him dead. Butch exhorts, “You guys just best be careful. Like I was telling you, he’s an awful dangerous man. Be better off for everyone involved if you just shot first and ask questions later… for Lindsay’s sake especially.”

Agnes takes a nervous drag. Alvarez’s enthusiastic side kick reassures, “We’ll do our best to see that Lobo doesn’t cause anymore harm, sir.”

Detective Alvarez rubs his chin awkwardly. “Oh by the way, when we were doing the death certificate, we ran across a couple of odd things.” Butch queries, “Odd?” Detective looks at the report to verify the findings a fourth time. “Jackie it seems… Well she, or rather he wasn’t really a girl after all. She was a boy.” Agnes is shocked beyond words. She screeches in a whisper of dismay and disbelief, “A what!?” Alvarez assures them of the facts, “ Well that’s what the coroner said. I checked it several times. I admit it’s a bit strange…”

Butch looks shit faced. He studies Butchs’ reaction and asks him, “Did you know?” Butch adjusts in his seat uncomfortably. “Well, I guess you would say I knew of the situation. You see I knew his mother. She had some rather peculiar ideas.” Agnes is aghast. “Butch, you never told me!” Butch defends himself smugly. “People got a right to their own business… Not my job to tell it all. Some things are better left unsaid…” Butch is irritated by their shared response; Alvarez, the Officer and Agnes as well.  “Where do you think you are anyway? This is the Carnival… home to freaks, outcasts and runaways. What do you think people pay money to gawk at? Average people doing normal things?! Shit, she was billed as ½ girl – ½ boy for peat’s sake! It’s not as if it were a big surprise is it?”

Alvarez doesn’t comment on Butch’s reply. Instead he leads into a different line of questioning. “When we were checking for next of kin… from the I.D. found on her… we phoned one of her relatives. Her uncle Albert and Aunt Eunice – her, sorry his, mother’s brother and his wife.  They had quite a story to tell!” Butch crosses his arms and tightens. Agnes sits on the edge of her seat engrossed. Detective Alvarez checks his notes to ensure the accuracy of his statements and summarizes. “The Aunt said that you and Jackie’s mother had a long time affair… Even made it official by adopting Jackie, becoming her legal guardian.” He looks up to check Butch’s response. From his passivity, Alvarez deduces that the story was true to thus far. Agnes studies Butch curiously.

Alvarez takes off his glasses and offers his subjective experience. “As her aunt discussed the issue further, she became quite distraught. Said you had her sister-in-law under some kind of spell or something. Accused you of getting her hooked on drugs. Having sex with strangers. Making her do all kinds of debasing and vile things. She insisted that you were the one who talked her into forcing Jackie to dress-up like a girl… made her get breast implants, hormone treatments… all to for the sake of your business… She maintained that you were the cause of her death. She contends that the reason her sister-in-law finally blew her brains out was because of you and the kid were having sex with each other.”

Butch simmers under the increasing weight of Alvarez’s accusations until he explodes. He jumps up from the couch and screams at the top of his lungs, “That’s bull shit! That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. (He feigns a sarcastic laugh) I can’t believe that bitch accused me! She’s so full of shit.!”

Agnes ponders the matter quietly, reclining further back into her seat. She shakes a cigarette from her pack and temporarily withdrawals to consider the situation. She lights it up and calmly takes a drag. Detective Alvarez begins to suspect that there’s more than meets the eye. The story has a ring of truth to it. Especially in light of Butch’s protestations and ranting. He notes his suspicions and decides to do some more fishing into things when he returns to the office. See what he can dig up on the case. He exchanges wary looks with his young lieutenant.

Butch storms around the trailer in a tantrum, knocking things off counters, throwing dishes on the floor. The junior officer starts to make indications of his intent to confront and constrain Butch. Alvarez holds him back. He He decides to let Butch have a lot of rope…”

Butch yells furiously, “You listen to me! I don’t have to stand here and put up with this bull shit anymore.” Shakes his fist angrily and threateningly at them. “First you come in here- interrogating us and attacking the boy- after all we’ve been through… instead of going after the real criminal, which is that half breed chink bastard. Now you come back again, sticking your nose into our business… that’s none of your business… and start accusing me!”

The detective motions to the other officer and they confidently rise. He states calmly and authoritatively, “Sir, we’re not accusing you of anything. I just told you what the lady said. We came here personally to deliver the tragic news of Jackie’s death. We’re here about her… not you.” That remark stings Butch. It was intended to. “We thought you would want to know first hand… that you’d be concerned. But I can see, we were wrong. We’re truly sorry to be bothering you… Well, if you’ll excuse us…” The officers make their way toward the door.

After what he overheard at the door and the conversation, or rather Butch’s rant-a-logue, he the detective is more suspicious than ever. He’s beginning to really hate Butch and smell a rat. He pauses coyly as he is about to twist the doorknob open. “Still… it would be good if you all stuck around the area, until we get all this cleared up…” Butch is perplexed in addition to being angry. “What do you mean?” Agnes joins the them quietly.  Alvarez glares challengingly at Butch. “I just mean that I don’t think it would be good time to go on any extended vacations… or unexpectedly disappear. We need to know where you are… in case anything comes up… You know questions and stuff. My boss is always asking questions. If I don’t have the right answers… kkkkk. Off with my head.” (makes a cutting gesture across his throat. Also a subtle hint and threat)

Butch isn’t easily intimidated. However he is spooked by the detective’s reference to proposed vacations. What does he know? The official duo exit and descend the metal stairs. He considers diplomacy and dismisses it immediately. He is bothered by their arrogance and intrusion. “Why don’t you go chase the real criminals and leave us alone. We’re just trying to make an honest living. You don’t know anything… Come around here like vultures… Feeding off the death of a close friend of ours… One of our family. You come in and start making accusations! You got no heart. You got no soul. Now, get out of here!” Butch yells after them as they silently retreat to their vehicle. “Get out… now! Don’t you step foot on my property again unless you have a search warrant or I’ll sue your ass for police brutality and violating my first amendment rights!” He slams the door violently. The entire trailer vibrates from the impact.

Agnes is shaky and very upset. The impact of Jackie’s death hits her. As if the smoke and clamor of the confrontation between Butch and the police officers eclipsed the real issue. Jackie was dead. Although Agnes didn’t hold any particular fondness for her. Still, she was only a child. She was part of their family. Now, she was dead. “I just can’t believe she.. she is really gone! Why did it happen?” She falls onto Butch’s chest and cries deeply. Her sorrow and grief grows more personal. “Why did it have to happen, now? Things were just starting to get good for us… turn for the better.  Now this thing happens on top of everything else. God, why us?” Butch comforts her. “It’s going to be O.K. I promise. We’ll get through this. I won’t let nobody fuck up our plans, nobody.” When Agnes becomes more tranquil she asks, “I still don’t understand, if you knew about Jackie, why didn’t you tell me?” Butch rationalizes, “It would have been disrespectful to Jackie. She made the choice to remain silent , to live the way she lived. If she would have wanted people to know, she would have told them.”

Agnes discreetly goes on, probing gently, “How about you and Jackie’s mother?” Butch sighs, “When I took them in, they had been ‘on the streets’. Jackie’s mom was a heroin addict. Her habit was up to several hundred dollars a day. She became a prostitute and a thief to feed the monkey. Hell, she even tried to steal from me. I felt sorry for her and the kid… took them in and gave them work. No one else would have them.” Agnes is deeply moved by the story.

Butch held Agnes away from him at arm’s length and looked into her eyes sincerely. “Truth is… Jackie’s mom used to sell her as well. Since she was little. Made Jackie get a boob job and illegal hormone treatments to make her more sellable to her clients… Finally her mom OD’ed on some bad drugs and blew her brains out. Baam, the end!

Jackie was only 10 or 11 at the time. I kept Jackie on. Seemed like the best place for her… really the only place she had a chance of fitting in. The Carnival. She could be anything, act any way she wanted. No matter how bizarre. The ½ boy- ½ girl show was her idea. She begged me for months. Said she needed it… So out of respect to her, I kept the whole thing secret.”

Agnes buries her head back on Buster’s chest. She calmly contemplates Butch’s stirring revelation. Butch is reflective, ponderous. “I just hope they kill that fucker Lobo when they catch up with him. He’s fucked with everyone’s life too much. First Lindsay, now Jackie.” Agnes sobs softly. Her tears run down his shirt, soaking into the plaid, temporarily staining it with a darker hue. Butch mutters under his breath. “If I could get my hands on him, I’d kill him myself…”


Sweetie crying fervently on her bed. Brian sits somberly beside her on the bed. He doesn’t know what do say or do for her. Tears run inconspicuously down his face as well. The fat kid, Tommy, stands at a safe distance from the grave scene. “Gee, I’m really sorry.” Brian pronounces mechanically, “I can’t believe she’s really gone…”


Buster squats on the front step of his tiny abode across from Butch and Agnes’ trailer. He witnesses the two cops being angrily ushered out. Although it’s too far to see the details of Butch’s expression. He can make out the jest of his remarks to them. He imagines that his eyes that could burn into the Butch’s heart. His admiration, loyalty and respect for Butch… “The Boss Man” has soured. It left behind a vacuum of confusion and fear. What did he feel? Betrayal. Several days ago he would have given his life for Butch, for the Carnival. He had given his life, for years to Butch and to the Carnival. Now Butch was planning to screw him and everyone else.

He felt bitter hatred as well. He had seen it plainly with his own eyes. Butch horrifically abuse Jackie and Wolf. He didn’t know what exactly Butch had done to Jackie, but he was absolutely certain that he was responsible for her death. He sensed an overwhelming guilt and self loathing as he considered her tragic end. He had idly stood by while Butch had perpetrated much evil and cruelty… without lifting a hand or saying a word in protest. In fact, much of the time he had been the very instrument or weapon of Butch’s deceitful and onerous plans. His very hands. In many ways, he was as guilty as Butch.


General hub-bub continues as life goes on throughout the midway. Carnies are still in shock but function routinely, if numbly in their positions. Rumors and speculation abound among them, yet they rarely speak openly… afraid of incurring the wrath or criticism of higher ups.  Nevertheless, confidants whisper suspected truths to each other in the security of darkness.

Wolf lays motionless on the back table in Enid and Clyde’s trailer. An occasional faint rise and fall of his chest is the only sign of life remaining. Enid pensively tends to his wounds the best she can. Clyde and Tommy crowd around the door to check on the status of their hairy patient.


Lobo returns to confront Butch. He waits until the rumble of the evenings activities has died out and most of the carnies have retired. Using darkness as his cloak, he sneaks over to and inside of the kids’ tent Jackie and Sweetie. At first glance, they all appear to be deep in slumber. Lobo is perplexed… Jackie’ bunk is empty. He quietly creeps over to Sweetie’ bunk. She is clutching a tattered old stuffed bear. He presses his face close and whispers into her ear. She awakens with a start and fearfully gasps. He covers her mouth while he calms her.

As soon as she recognizes him she throws her arms around him and hugs him tightly. “Lobo!” He is surprised by her outburst of affection but a little taken back. “ Where’s Jackie?” She searches his eyes sorrowfully and begins to cry. Lobo repeats with intensified concern, “Sweetie, where’s Jackie?” Sweetie whines though her tears and sniffles, “She… she’s dead!” Lobo is stunned, “No… it can’t be! How?” Sweetie stares mournfully at her teddy bear as she recounts, “They say that she he was upset and ran out into the highway… A truck ran her over… and now, she’s gone!” She barely gets it out before falling into his arms sobbing.

He puts his arms around her as he tries to absorb the impact of the tragic news. Sweetie moans, “She gone.” Lobo was totally unprepared. He sits back on his haunches shaking is head Iin disbelief. Sweetie gains some composure and offers further, “Some people think Buster did something to her… You know how they were always fighting and all.” She contemplates the possibility, “I just don’t know.” Lobo readies himself to leave. Sweetie tries to hang on to him. He pacifies her “Shhhh. I’ll be back.” She objects. “But they’re after you. They say…” He prevents her. “Yes, I know what they say.” She persists, “Lobo, you have to get away from here. It’s not safe. You’ll be…” Lobo gently but firmly insists on his intended course of action. “I’ll be O.K. I promise. Now, go back to sleep.”

He looks around. Some of the other kids are starting stir. Brian mumbles without looking up, still half asleep. “Quiet down. We’re trying to sleep.” Lobo motions for her to be silent. “Shhh! Quiet.” Lobo begins to creep away but Sweetie grabs his arm whispering. “Lobo! Wolf’s dead too… or pretty near it anyway. They say it was Buster ‘s doing too.” Lobo sighs deeply and bids her farewell. He slips out without additional comment or inquiry.

He cautiously sneaks along the shadows of attractions, tents and equipment. He notices the vacant place where Wolf normally sleeps and grimaces. He overhears a couple of guys walking by and ducks quickly behind the concealment of a greasy tractor trailer. Doesn’t want to alert any resistance until he is able to accomplish his mission.

He waits until their voices trail off. Then he rounds the corner of the rear of the semi and is startled by a figure standing in the shadows. His position appears adversarial and menacing. His hands poised on his hips. It’s Buster. He barks, “What are you doing here?” Lobo is on guard, expecting reinforcements to arrive at any moment. “There has to be a reckoning… Somebody’s got to stand up and say no! This shit’s got to stop.” Buster moves a couple of steps closer. Lobo continues, “So now, Jackie’s dead… Heard it said, you drove her away. Ran her right into that truck…”

Buster snaps bitterly, “That’s what people are saying… Like they’re saying you molested Lindsay… and took all the money… and are to blame for the accident.” They circle slowly, sizing each other up. Lobo responds, “Is that what you think happened?” Buster turns away muttering, “I don’t know anymore. I used to.” He turns back around. There is no more threat to his voice or stance. “Well, not really I guess… You know they’ll get you, don’t you? You can’t win.” He slinks down in an attitude of defeat. “You can’t beat Butch. When it comes to cons, he’s the best. He’ll chew you up and spit you out. And you’ll be back in prison or dead.”

Lobo leans against the truck thinking, “You may be right… but someone’s got to try.” Buster questions, “So what are you going to do?” Lobo raises his eyebrows and tilts his head indicating his lack of a definite plan. Buster prods grievously, “You think I drove Jackie out?” Lobo shakes his head, “Seems to make sense, but it’s just too easy. I have a feeling that you and me are both being used.” Buster is relieved. Someone actually believes in his innocence. He is glued to Lobo’s words. “What I can’t figure is… if you’re so smart, why did you let yourself be manipulated by Butch. You let people go on thinking you’re to blame for Jackie, when you and I both know better… Probably same with Wolf, if my figuring is right.” Busters’ sadness and grief shows. “Yea, him too.”

Lobo starts to go. Buster inquires, “Where you heading?” Lobo mentions determinedly, “I’m going to have a little talk with Butch.” Buster reminds him, “I told you, you can’t win. They’ll call the cops and you’ll be back in prison, in a snap.” Lobo ignores his admonitions and walks away. Buster pursues him. “Lobo, wait… There’s something’s you got to know.” Lobo halts momentarily and listens. “I saw Jackie that night. She was awful upset. Running way from Butch. He was real drunk. Out of control. I couldn’t tell exactly what he was saying. But he was chasin’ and cursin’ her.” Buster guiltily stares at Lobo as he finishes, “Jackie’s shirt was torn and she was sobbing real bad.  Wolf kept barking and trying to bite him. Butch clobbered him something terrible. Kept hitting and kicking ‘im… (motions gruesomely with his hands) ‘till, well… he stopped barking.” Lobo questions, “You saw all this?” Buster nods, focusing on the dirt, unable to lift his head as he answers. “I should of done something. I just hid behind the trailer watched… Now Jackie’s dead… and Wolf.” Lobo puts a hand on Buster’s shoulder. Buster shamefully reveals additional  hidden information. “There’s more… Butch is planning to skip out. Dump the Carnival and take off for California. And…” Buster gulps down his pride and fear as he confesses, “I also know about other things. How Butch… How he… Well how he and some of the kids…” Lobo speculates, You mean like Jackie? And Lindsay?” Lobo suspects there’s even more to tell based upon his perception of Busters’ agony. “And others too? And YOU?” Buster’s uncomfortable silence confirms Lobo’s suspicions.

He could feel the vengeful rage starting to boil within him. More than ever he wanted to kill Butch.  With his bare hands, if possible. Lobo offers an opportunity for redemption. “Listen, there’s something I need for you to do. If you would be willing to help?” Buster looks up hopefully, “I want you to drive to Salena, about 50 miles east of here. Look up Brandon Smith, Judge Brandon Smith. He’s retired now. The judge that tried and sentenced me.” Buster is puzzled. Lobo explains. “He’s a fair man, not corrupt. He’ll listen to you and do what he can. Tell him everything you know. Everything you told me… I don’t trust the cops around here.”

Buster has hope but lingering reservations, “But how will you… What will you do?” Lobo concedes his unknowingness. “I don’t rightly know just yet. I’ll figure something out. I just know that I got to stand up to Butch. Pull his covers… not only for Jackie and Lindsay’s sake, but also for mine.” Buster unburden himself with another weight. “One more thing. I am the one who set you up… Got the whole scoop on you.” Lobo is baffled by his disclosure. Buster goes on, “I got a hold of the letter you sent to your friend in Jackson prison. Bribed a guard to dig up all the dirt he could find on you. Butch used it to sic the cops on you.”

Buster is dumbfounded by the response. Lobo grins happily. He is lighten. “So it wasn’t the kid after all.” Buster still doesn’t understand. “What?” Lobo just pats his back. “It’s nothing… You’d best get a move on now.” Buster peers gratefully into his new found friends eyes. “Lobo… Thanks… for everything.” He pauses briefly before going on. “I’m real sorry about everything. I was a real jerk. Me and the boys…” Lobo holds up his hand to stop him. “I’m not your judge, kid. We all got our own shit to deal with. And we’re all just doing the best we can… The deal is: to go forward from the here and now, and try to do a little better. That’s how we learn and grow. The only way.” Buster is visibly touched.

Lobo extends further consolation. “There’s things I did in, and out of prison for that matter. Well, put it this way. I sure wouldn’t want them all published.” He quips, then smiles kindly. “God’s forgiveness is easy. It’s all there just for the asking. The hard part is forgiving ourselves. That we have to work on for a long time. Sometimes a very, very long time.” Lobo grows somber, reflecting upon his past malfeasance and transgressions.

They shake hands heartily before parting company to pursue their respective objectives. Lobo heads for the trailer to confront Butch, darting in and out of the shadows. Buster heads for the pick-up truck parked by the utility shed.

As he starts to get in, Peter and the other two enforcers appear. Peter grabs the door and demands, “Where are you going?” The other two flank him from behind. Buster is startled and suspicious to se them but tries to act nonchalant. “None of you business, now get out of my way.”

Peter accuses him, “We saw you talking—friendly like- with the half breed down by the tents. Why didn’t you do something? Whose side are you on anyway? You in with him? Maybe he gave you some of the money he stole?” Buster nervously counters, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Peter persists, “That Lobo caused nothin’ but trouble for all of us and now you’re following suit. Don’t worry though, we already called cops on him. They’re on their way, right now!” Buster is irritated and worried. If the cops catch sight of Lobo, they might just kill him on the spot. “You stupid fools! You don’t know what you’re doing.” He frustratingly tries to jerk the door out of Peter’s clutches, “I said get out of the way…. Move!”

Buster steps into the truck and closes the door. Peter grabs leans in the window dominantly.

One of the other guys suggests, “Pete, I figure that maybe the reason Buster here is buddy-buddies with Lobo is that they planned the robbery together, like that police officer was talking about.” Buster sarcastically observes, “Do me a favor, don’t try to figure things out. Thinking isn’t your major suit.” However, the realization seems valid to Peter. “Yea, sure… It’s like he says isn’t it? You and him set us up. Took the money, didn’t you? Thought you had us all duped, too.” The third guy offers, “Maybe if you cut us in for a share, we’ll forget all about it… Just give us Lobo’s share.” Peter reiterates, “I think you got a good idea there Hank. So Buster, this is the deal: We’ll take care of that half breed once and for all. Hell, the cops would consider it a favor… First, you just tell us where you two stashed the money.”

Buster insists, “I’m telling you guys, you’re crazy. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not in with Lobo. And I don’t know where the money is.” Buster can see he isn’t making much headway trying to talk to them reasonably. He smells a confrontation brewing as Peter gestures to the others. They slowly circle around behind the truck, making their way toward the passenger door on the other side. Buster notices them out of the side and rear view mirrors. They station themselves strategically awaiting Peter’s command. “Peter reasons sharply, “Then what were discussing so long and hard and friendly with a fugitive and known criminal? Come to think of it, we even saw you shake hands on your deal at the end…” Buster shakes his head in disbelief and sighs. Peter barks sinisterly, “I think you better get out of the truck now, Buster.” Buster sits solemnly considering his next move as Peter clamors on, “It wasn’t bad enough you had to go and kill the dog and chase off that bitch Jackie… Shit, I haven’t lost any sleep over her being gone. But when you go in with that half breed chink bastard behind our backs and try to cut us out of the deal… Sharing the booty with the likes of him instead of your own kind!” Peter is whipping himself up into a rage, “ Shit Buster, we saved you ass plenty of times! This is how you repay us!”

Buster knows this is his last chance. He makes his play. He grabs a heavy steel wrench from the drivers seat and hurls it at Peter’s face. Then immediately springs over to lock the passenger door. Peter flinches and avoids the brunt of the impact but still is knocked backward by the blow as it is deflected by the side of his face. Buster, in a desperate rush, rolls his window up and locks the door with his left hand, while simultaneously cranking the ignition and pumping the gas. The engine turns over quickly. Thank God! Damn faithful truck.

Peter recoils and staggers back toward the truck. The guys are frantically trying to force the door open while banging on the windows and making threats. Buster reaches for the stick shift on the floor as he steps on the clutch. One of the guys grabs a large plank and smashes it through the passenger window. The spray of broken glass collides into Buster’s body as he instinctively brings up his arm to shield his face. They quickly unlock the door and jump into the seat madly wrestling with Buster. One gets a hand behind Buster’s back to unlatch the driver’s side door. Peter yanks him out in short order abetted by the duo shoving from the other side.

They drag him away from truck, still running, and beat the living shit out of him. He does his best flailing from an over turned prone position. But barely has any success warding off the shower of blows falling on him from above. He looks like a little turtle laying on its back with three large pelicans pecking at it from above. Buster yells hopelessly amidst the cursing and jeering of their tirade. “You stupid fools! Butch set us all up. He’s using all of us. He’s going to take the money and split.” Peter and the others deride him viciously as they carry on, “Yea, right! Serves you right. You were always lording it over us. Telling us what to do. How does it feel now?” They become more frenzied in their viciousness. Beating him savagely. Buster’s resistance starts to fade as he begins to black out.

Mohammed steps around the front of the truck through the path of the headlights. One of the boys motions to Peter who looks over. They temporarily halt their assault on Buster. “What’cha want, Nigger? We ain’t doin’ no hirin’ just now. As you can see, we’re kinda busy.” They chuckle. Peter boasts a self confident smile. “In fact, we don’t hire no niggers, anyway. So Boy, you’d best be goin’” Mo doesn’t respond. He just stands emotionless, like a rock. Peter is angered by his apparent impudence. “Go on now! I said, Nigger be gone!” Buster gazes up through a bloodied haze, trying to discern what’s going on.

Mo steps confidently forward several steps toward them. His voice booms gregariously, “Why, you must be the tough guys Lobo told me about. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you all.” Mo appears to be having fun, truly delighted. He takes them off guard by his casual manner. They drop Buster, barely conscious, in a heap. They move cautiously into a better position in front of Mo. Peter sneers, “So you know that prick! You must be that nigger friend of his from the pen.” Peter takes the lead, moving out several feet ahead of the other two and brags, Yea, we taught him real good. Guess you need a lesson or two in respect too. Look boys, tonight we got us some black meat to chew on…” One of the guys behind grabs the wrench laying on the ground besides the truck. Peter smirks. He signals to the other two and they rush at him together.

Mo takes complete command of the clash from the beginning. He is in a entirely different league of fighting. Like high school football team going skirmishing against the majors. His punches are like sledge hammers. One well place blow to the jaw sends one of the guys reeling. K.O.’d instantly. Peter, being the most sophisticated brawler of the bunch, gets several notable punches in. However, Mo’s bulk and muscle readily absorbs the impact without causing substantial injury. Mo hurts them real bad, real fast. All in all, makes pretty short order of the pack of ‘em. Except for a couple of random licks, it was a fairly one sided fight.

He brushes his hands off and then helps Buster painfully to his feet. “He who’s not against me, is for me,” he mutters as he looks him over puzzled. “Hmmm. Now aren’t you Buster?” Mo studies him trying to figure out why the head of the wolf pack is now the one being eaten alive. Buster assents, “You must be Lobo’s friend… Mohammed? Lobo sent me to get Judge Smith. He’s in trouble. He’s on his way to confront Butch.” Buster wags his head and sternly warns, “Butch is likely to kill him. If he doesn’t, the cops are sure to… they’re on their way. I’m afraid its going to real bad.” Mo is profoundly concerned. “O.K., you best head out. Do what Lobo told you! I’ll see what I can do on this end.” Buster hobbles to the truck. Stops briefly to admonish Mo on route, “Be careful… Butch is dangerous.”

It is early in the morning. The thick, dark clouds overhead pregnant with moisture are finally yielding their load as the gently rain begins to softly water the thirsty earth beneath. Butch is lounging on the couch, blankly watching TV and drinking another beer. Agnes and Lindsay are long since asleep. Lobo creeps around the trailer scoping out his enemy. He carefully looks around and peeks into the window. The flickering pale blue light of the television is illuminating Butch’s unshaven face. The rain is gathering intensity. Puddles are beginning to form in depressed areas. It beats loudly on the thin tin of the trailer. Muddy waters begin to flow.

There are several loud knocks on front door. Butch is disturbed. “Yea, who is it.” The intrusive hammering continues. This time Butch is perturbed. Who the fuck could be coming to his door at this hour he wonders. Two final pounds on the door, then silence. He is suspicious. Me mumbles, “What the fuck?” He muddles to the door to see who dare invade his early morning solace. The door creaks slowly open. Nobody in sight. Butch hisses. “Who the fuck is it?” Someone’s about to get their ass kicked!” Butch is instantly sobered. He scans the area through the sheets of rain. He notices the main tent across field is lit up. Strange. Then someone’s drifting shadow is projected on the wall of the tent. Butch grumbles as he wades through the wet dirt toward the phantom.

“I see you fucker… whoever you are. You want to play games, huh? Butch takes a deep swig off his beer, considering his prey a moment. Then he tosses the near empty bottle out into the dark rain. It presently smashes and breaks. Streaks of lightning shatter the sanctuary of black chased across the unlit sky by rumbles of thunder. Butch swaggers toward his objective.

Butch pulls open the canvas door and studies the interior. He enters cautiously and stalks around the circumference. He shouts at the faceless prankster. “All I got to say is your going to pay for this little antic of yours with your ass… whoever you are.” He sports a twisted smile as he sees the edge of the shadow. He moves into the center ring, blocking the path to the exit. A spot light clicks on and flashes into his face. Butch covers his eyes. Butch tries to discern the figure silhouetted next to the light. “So what’s this about?” Lobo’s angry voice echoes a reply, “It’s reckoning time, Butch!” Butch searches his memory in an effort to identify the tongue. He mutters aloud, “Who is that?” Butch paces the ring. Lobo follows with the spot continuing his accusation, “You thought you’re on top, running the show… Untouchable. Unstopable. No one would dare ever stand up to you… Well, the gigs up ass hole!” Butch finally figures it out. He puts his hands on his hips in amazement and roars, “Lobo, is that you? Jesus Christ, you’re stupider than I ever imagined. Lobo is unscathed. “You tried to set me up… to take the fall for you, while you walked.  Put the blame on me for all your shit.”

Butch’s eyes narrow as he considers his foe. “I just can’t figure it out. So that’s what all this is about!?” Lobo spits back, “Not all…” Butch snickers boastfully, “Don’t like to be beaten, do you? You thought you were so smart, too good for us. But you’re just a fuck faced con… Killed a couple of guys, so you think you’re tough? Maybe you punked a couple of pansy asses In prison, so you think you’re hot shit.”

Lobo counters, his words stabbing out from the heart of his rage. “Like you did Lindsay?”

Butch grins contemptuously. “So that’s what this is about. What you came back for… you’re jealous? You wanted him for yourself, aye?” Now he knows Lobo’s weakness, his vulnerability. He smiles to himself for his cleverness. He taunts his adversary. Psychologically badgering him, preparing for the conflict. “Ahhh, you wanted his sweet, young ass. So sorry. His cherry’s already busted. And a good cherry at that. Butch licks his fingers. Lobo is repulsed and inflamed, “You sick, perverted fucker!” Butch pokes at his wound verbally, “Yea, you should talk… fucked a little girl. Those two guys found you out and tried to stop you, so you killed them. Then you even killed the little girl’s mom, making it three. I’d say you’re the sick shit here. You forget Lobo, I know all about you.” Lobo is troubled and thrown off balance.

Butch elaborates on the gory details of the three murders and rape of the child to further goad him. Lobo uses opportunity to sneak around behind him. Butch continues his long winded, self-satisfied expository and performance. “Yea… you were fucking around with your girlfriends kid, when the father walked in on you. Must have been a sneaky fucker get the best of he and his friend. Geez, then to slit the throat of little girl’s mother like that… A monster like you should be locked up forever. That’s where you’re going… back to prison where you belong… if you’re lucky.”

Lobo stands several feet directly behind Butch. Lobo considers snuffing out his life stealthily, before Butch could even have a chance to react. A quick leap, grab the neck and snap… It would be over instantly. He starts to move into position to lunge but hesitates. Instead, he straightens and relaxes. No, this time he would try it differently. Not take vengeance into his own hands like before. Even though they had deserved it, as Butch deserved it.

He flashed back to the night of the murders. He had been dating this lady for several months. Really looked like it could work out. Had a sweet, shy daughter. They got along wonderfully. The ex-husband had been terribly abusive but the mother had not spoken much about it. That night he had arrived unexpectedly. The ex-husband and his buddy were drunk… Knocking the mother around a lot. Making the little girl so sexual things in front of her mother. Threatening them both. He busted down the door and attacked them. The buddy pulled a knife and cut Lobo. When the mother tried to intercede, he killed her in cold blood. In front of the girl. Lobo eventually bested the two fellows. Kill the father with his bare hands and the buddy with his own knife. Since Lobo’s prints were all over the knife the prosecution thought they had a pretty open and shut case. At first, the girl, traumatized by the sexual assault and violent murder of both her parents went into a psychotic stupor. The police detectives deduced from her ramblings, what they had already suspected… that Lobo was the culprit. Many months later, during the trial, the girl regained some semblance of coherence and gave conflicting story.

She testified hysterically that her Father’s buddy had killed her mother and that Lobo had not raped her as was believed. Most people believed however, that she had just snapped under the strain of it all and didn’t know what she was talking about any more. It was a controversial trial. The hard evidence implicated Lobo. In the end, the jury found him guilty of two counts of 2nd degree murder. He was acquitted on the third murder and rape charge.

Now Lobo faced the same cross roads. To rightfully exact vengeance or pursue another path. He hadn’t realized the similarity until this very moment. Deep down inside, He knew he had come back primarily to kill Butch, to save Lindsay. To do it right this time. It was a divine encounter. A second chance. An opportunity to replay the tape and do it differently. To believe God and the human legal system would execute justice and equity. To come to the aid of the oppressed and give victims there right due under law, under God. It hadn’t worked for his Mother and Father. Where was God then. It hadn’t worked for him growing up alone. It hadn’t worked in or out of prison… until Mo. God’s emissary.

Now he had to choose. To trust God to handle Butch. Or… take matters into his own hands. The preferable choice would be to take Butch out, then and there. But then, he would be playing God. Executing judgment. No, this time would be different. It was his responsibility to be courageous, to stand strong. To have a voice, to use his voice to speak the truth… to stand up for what was right. Whatever the cost to him personally. It was a brave thing to let God have his chance, yet to speak.

Lobo speaks calmly. The proximity of his presence startles Butch who flings himself around. Lobo glares at him. “Maybe no one will believe me but I’m going to tell my side of the story. You can’t own everybody.” Butch is shaken but confident. “Yea, who is going to believe the word of an ex-con murdering chink, like you?” Lobo continues in a non reactionary posture, “Buster for instance, he knows the whole deal.” Butch defends, “Yea, but I own him.” Lobo reveals, “Not any longer you don’t. He’s on his way right now to get a judge I know, who you can’t buy or manipulate.” Butch is perplexed. “What are talking about? Buster would never…” Lobo interrupts him with the disclosure. “He knows about your plans to betray everyone and set yourself up in California. He saw you chase Jackie out of your trailer that night… Saw you beat Wolf… told about how you been fucking around with all the kids… No Butch, the gig is up. Too much to hide, too much to cover up. And I’m going to ignite the whole deal. Maybe they won’t believe just me, but I’ll sure get them to start thinking, checking things out… then Buster… and Sweetie… and Lindsay… You can’t strong arm, or buy off, or deceive them all. No Butch, you’re going down. Going down hard. And pretty damn soon, if I’m not mistaken.”

Butch is terrified. Momentarily stunned and shocked. His face goes instantly pale like he has seen a ghost. He sways back and forth, like he has sustained some kind of blow to the body. His fear bursts into flame of vengeful rage. Pulls out a 7 inch switch blade from his back pocket and easily pops it open with a flick of a finger. He glares at Lobo. “You fucker, I’ll bury you first. They’re not going to believe the testimony of a man who has no tongue to talk with… or better yet, no blood left in his body.” Butch circles him, looking for his opportunity.

Lobo instinctively crouches and readies for an attack. Never taking his eyes off of Butch for a second. Watch the eyes and you can predict what the body’s going to do. Butch rationalizes, “Cops will think it’s self defense. You came back to fetch the boy and to retrieve the money you hid. You and Buster were in on the deal all along. I’ll just stash some money in Buster’s trailer… I caught you sneaking around. You attacked me and I defended myself.” No body will take Lindsay seriously because you and he had special affections. Buster’s in on it with you. Sweetie’s just upset about Jackie, would blame anybody… that takes care of Buster, Sweetie and Lindsay. Besides, they’re just kids anyway, nobody will believe anything they have to say. They’ll just figure they’re still upset by the accident and Jackie’ death… or under the seduction of a convicted con. That only leaves you… and me.” Butch tosses the knife back and forth as he moves in toward him. Butch grins triumphantly, “This will actually be fun. I’m going to skin your half breed ass!”

Butch lunges toward him. Lobo dodges. He swings again, this time barely missing Lobo’s gut. Butch switches hands, obviously an experienced knife fighter. He lunges, swings again and hooks back up. This time cutting Lobo’s chest and arm. Lobo uses Butch’s vulnerable position to grab Butch’s knife hand, further slicing his hand in the process.

Lobo is able to dislodges the knife from his hand by smacking it against seating platforms, sending it 10 to 12 feet away. They grapple fiercely. Fall onto the ground in a dirty, bloody contest of wills. Butch has the advantage of superior strength, size and considerable experience as a ex semi-pro boxer and street brawler. Lobo on the other hand, has heart, speed, greater flexibility and martial arts training.

Butch succeeds it rolling to the top, within reaching distance of the knife. He pries himself loose and scrambles for the blade.  Lobo is unable to prevent his reclamation of the weapon but is able to jump to his feet and deliver a thunderous kick to the Butch’s ribs as he clutches the knife. Butch doubles up in pain. Lobo attempts to land a hammer kick, down unto Butch’s head, which should have been sufficient to knock him unconscious. Butch barely avoids the thrust, by swinging around and stabbing Lobo in the calf. Lobo recoils like an injured snake. He grimaces in pain but is determined to escape.

Lobo now has three knife wounds and is loosing a substantial amount of blood. He will begin to weaken quickly. He spots a wooden plank out of the corner of his eye and fumbles toward it. Butch rises to his feet and is in hot pursuit. Lobo is limping away from him. Butch raises his knife for a kill shot to the back or neck.  Lobo snatches the plank and whips around with fury. He smashes the thick board soundly across Butch’s upraised hand. This not only has the effect of knocking the blade clear across the room but severely injures Butch’s strong hand as well. Butch draws back in pain and surprise.

Lobo launches a flurry of kicks and punches to the head, ribs, groin and knee. Butch is bleeding mouth and temple and limping significantly. He is able to withstand a remarkable amount of punishment. Even though weakened by years of alcohol abuse and lethargy, Butch’s sturdy frame, physical conditioning and fighter prowess serve him well. Lobo is astonished by his resilience. Lobo on the other hand, is tiring from the loss of blood as well as days of sleep and food deprivation.

Both opponents stand toe to toe slugging it out, using their bare hands. Locked in a life and death struggle, no holds barred. Butch lands mighty blows to Lobos body. An upper cut to his chest where the knife would is. A staggering jab, cross, hook, right cross combination that physically lifts Lobo off his feet and hurls him backward. The fight would be fairly evenly matched – all things being equal- without weapons. However, with Lobo’s wounds and exhaustion, every second Butch gains an increasingly pronounced advantage. Currently it looks to be Lobo 40%, Butch 60%. With Lobo loosing ground fast. Lobo staggers to his feet after the last combination knocked him flat. As he does, Butch charges him like an angry bull, catapulting the pair through the side of the canvas tent, out into the pouring rain and mud. They continue their intense struggle. Kicking, punching, wrestling, grappling. Lobo is weakening significantly. In addition, the slick mud and precarious terrain favors brute strength. Butch is taking complete dominance of the battle. He hammers Lobo with riveting punches to the head and torso. Lobo falls to his knees in mud. The cool rain washing the evidence of his injuries into the slick oblivion beneath. Butch, plays a cat and mouse game with Lobo. Picking him up punching him and tossing him down in the mud. The conflict of strength is clearly over, with Butch the undisputed victor. Now Butch gets to punish and torment his prey a while before finishing him for good. This was the fun part.

When Butch bolted out of the trailer looking for the supposed prankster, he unintentionally left the door ajar. The thunder and commotion of the tussling pair falling over the bleachers and through the tent wall woke Lindsay up. He goes to investigate the disturbance. Seeing the conflict at a distance, Lindsay intuitively suspects the major characters involved and immediately dashes out. As he draws near, he sees Lobo’s torn body and face slumped over in the wet mud. He’s muddy and bloody. Lindsay screams Lobo’s name. He sees Butch strut back into the tent and quickly emerge with the switch blade. He intends to finish the job.

Lindsay slides next to Lobo in the pouring rain. He vigorously shakes him, in an effort to rouse him. “Lobo, Lobo, get up! Hurry!” Lobo squints through the heavy rain and blood. He grins slightly, “Hey kid.” Lindsay continues to attempt to stimulate his friend, without success. Butch stands over the pitiful pair and crows contemptuously, “Lobo came back to save you, kid!” Butch laughs maniacally. “Ha Ha Ha… Pretty stupid, huh? It will be his last stupid act.” Butch grabs Lindsay’s arm, hauls him up onto his feet and commands. “Now get back to the trailer. Now!” He throws Lindsay to the side. He screams and lands with a big splash. “I have some unfinished business to attend to.”

Agnes appears at the door of the trailer. She sees Butch lifting Lindsay to his feet and tossing him aside. She yells, “What’s going on!” Her cries go unheard because of distance and weather. She sprints awkwardly through the mud toward the fray. Butch sees her running toward them and suspends his plan temporarily. Lindsay falters to his feet and screams at Butch. He trudges through the slippery ooze in an effort to rejoin Lobo’s side. Agnes arrives and pulls Lindsay back. Butch barks above the rain, “You’d best go, kid.” Lobo struggles to get to his feet. Butch gives Lobo a hard, sadistic kick in the ribs. Lobo goes back down. Lindsay screams, “No!” He breaks himself free from Agnes’ hold and lunges at Butch ferociously. Wildly flailing his hands in the direction of Butch’s face.

Lindsay accidentally lands a decent blow to a leftover wound inflicted by Lobo. Butch grimaces in pain. Agnes gasps. He clutches one of Lindsay arms to ground him and smacks him soundly in the face with his fist. Lindsay yelps and is stricken to the ground half conscious. Agnes screams at Butch. She runs over to Lindsay to help. Butch is briefly distracted. While his back is momentarily turned away, Lobo fights the tremendous pain and rises to one knee. With a burst of reserve strength, Lobo performs a leg sweep—kicking the feet out from under Butch. The momentum carries him into the air and lands him on his back with a ground shaking thud. It knocks the breath out of him. Lobo crawls over on top of him, using his brief advantage to the fullest. This would be his only and last chance for survival and victory.

Lobo hurtles his most powerful weapons into the areas of Butch’s greatest vulnerability… sinking his knee deep into Butch’s groin. His elbow crushing onto the solar plexus and sternum. His forehead thundering down on Butch’s face. Butch groans loudly in anguish. Lobo checks to see if Lindsay is O.K. Butch senses his opening and blindly feels in the mud for his knife.  He rolls to his side searching frantically. Lobo attention is quickly turned to Butch’s attempted flight. However, it is too late to prevent Butch from regaining possession of the hazardous weapon.

Butch rolls back over clutching his knife and makes a wild swing at Lobo. Lobo deflects the arch of his attack, attaches his grasp to the arm and guides the arch of Butch’s swing full circle, back into his chest. Butch is flabbergasted. He stares down at the knife in his chest with utter surprise. His own hand on the blade! He is paralyzed for a moment. Blood oozes out of his chest, staining his shirt and hands. He just watches it curiously. Lobo too is surprised. It was a matter of reflex and desperate improvisation than premeditation or skill.

Butch is dying. He falls on top of Lobo attempting to strangle him to death as the life ebbs from his body. Lobo struggles vainly with both hands to unclasp Butch’s left hand, locked around Lobo’s throat. They stare into each other’s eyes. Lobo can’t breath. Butch refuses to let go. They fall together in the thick mud, caught in the final throws of death. Agnes screams, helplessly a witness and victim to the violent scene. Lindsay is still semi-conscious. Lobo stares into Butch’s eyes as he slips into oblivion. The strength and spirit draining from the Butch’s body and grip. He final pries his throat loose from Butch’s fading grip and gasps frantically for air. Another several seconds and Butch would have dragged him into the next world with him. Lobo could see Butch’s spirit swimming in his glazed over eyes. Terrified… agonized… depraved… vicious… soul that was being forever driven from the light of this world into the dense darkness and fire of death.

Rain kept pouring down in thick sheets amidst the thunders and lightning. Several police cars pull up as Butch fades away with a switchblade sticking out of his chest and Lobo crouching over him. They race up to the scene with guns drawn. Shouting orders as they cautiously swarm “Hold it! Stop where you are. Don’t move. Put your hands on your head. Move away from the body.” Two police men dash over to Agnes and Lindsay to aid their extraction from the crime scene.

Two other police cars intercept Mo crossing the midway. They jump out and restrain him. Police sirens are screaming as reinforcements arrive and the premise is searched. Carnies are jarred from their slumber and crowd around to investigate the nature of the commotion.

Police help Lindsay to his feet. They place a dry blanket over his shoulders. As they walk him away Lindsay catches the eye of Lobo who is handcuffed and being harshly herded over to the main tent for interrogation. It seems as if time were proceeding in slow motion. They exchange a plethora of unspoken thoughts, feelings and words within  the second or two of that brief glance. Worlds away. Yet an unbroken bond remains.


The first light of dawn is beginning to lighten the dismal surroundings. The thick rain dissipates into a mild sprinkle. The grounds are buzzing with activity and questions. Whatever the days to come would bring forth. It would never ever be quite the same again.

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