Going Out West by Tom Waits
Sitting on the huge hearth, Glinty tamped his pipe with tobacco and then reached for a tinder from a tall box of them nearby. He pulled it out and lit it in the blazing fire and put it up to the pipe.
The tobacco caught, and its ember glowed in the lens of his broken spectacle.
As he smoked from his pipe, he looked over at the men in their large, comfy chairs, with their legs upon the low table before the fire.
He nodded at me, because I was the only one watching him.
Food is sustenance, and hungry men will eat until they get their fill, no matter what the food tastes like.
Glinty nodded at me and arose. He stalked across the bear-skin rug and sat down in the remaining chair to my right. He eased back and settled in, and then offered his pipe over the arm of the chair.
I took it.
The smoke was quite welcome. How long had it been since I’d enjoyed the flavor of tobacco? It felt like a thousand years. I knew that the sun would be up all too soon. I could see the edges of the deer and caribou hides slung across the windows on them gilded curtain rods. Them skins might keep the light of the angry sun at bay, but the edges were the cracks in the façade.
Even the roaring fire cast no heat.
It was the heat of the desert sun that had made the huge cabin hot, continuing throughout the chilly desert night.
The fire in the hearth had no spirit, you see.
I smoked, and felt the rush of the tobacco. It felt like a ceremony.
Glinty waved his bony hand at me as I offered the pipe back to him over the arm of my easy chair. He said, “You hold onto that for a few minutes. I got some preaching to do for ya.”
I was tired like a ghost cowboy what’s been wandering along the desert dunes, looking for his own soul.
But I didn’t say a damned thing. It was all done trying to make a point about anything.
He nodded at me and slunk back deep into his own plush chair and exhaled. It sounded like the breath from a grave.
He said, “Now I gotta tell you something young fella. You just listen, and don’t say a word. It’s something you might not want to hear.”
I exhaled the sweet smoke of the tobacco, and I just nodded. Fuck it.
Glinty sighed. Then he took a deep breath and he went on.
He said this:
“Me and that boy Tellesco, well, we are connected. The
were the pirates that invaded that island a thousand years ago, across the
I had no idea what in thee hell he was talking about. I began to nod off.
But do ya ken, he continued to speak, and his words became ingrained into my mind while I dozed before the cold fire in the mighty hearth.
“That fellow you call No One, well, he hails from a long line of Kings. The McGlinty Clan arose from them pirates. That boy and I, well, we are kin, from his pa’s side of the family. We are connected.”
I heard his words as I dozed, and I thought of pirates and fighting peasants. I had no base to imagine any of this, but for some reason, I could see it all.
He went on. He said:
“His momma, well, her family came here in this desert hell hole from another country. She is what you might call a Purple Robe. That boy is the mix of them Purple Robes and them Pirates of Normandy.”
I had no idea what the hell he was talking about as I fell deeper into sleep, like a pebble drifting down into a deep well of bees honey.
I was down and out for the count.
But it stuck with me.
I would find this out when it truly mattered.
It’s just that we had Death to face in a few hours.
I had my two little sisters and my momma.
Tellesco (No One) had only Sean now.
Sean, well, he was the one we had to face.
How can your savior be the face of Death?
God Help You.
God Help Us All.
Circle by Big Head Todd and The Monsters