The night was full of mischief.
The men and women acted like there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow, they kept drinking, dancing and fighting all night. I don’t know why I bothered lingering around, I only had two drinks while I was dodging glass bottles, bullets and spongy women. I stood there watching all the craziness wondering if this is just the way fellas are, or is it because they went crazy from not being a rich man.
They say being rich gives you other problems.
Well, from what I was seeing, I think the problems you get from not becoming rich might be a little worse. I mean, if you’re rich, at least of you’ll always have some coins in your pocket and you can keep what’s left of your sanity, but If you don’t have any money, it looks like you’ll lose your mind and end up in the saloons filled with alcohol that makes a jealous man to confident, a show girl richer, and a Sherriff out of anyone that’s senseless enough to pin a bronze star on their chest, which is known as the death star in most places.
And if you make it outside the saloons, which is usually deep in the night, you got to contend with the bears, cougars and Indians that are going to jump you for trespassing across their land.
My father always said life was about choices. The older I get, the more I realize that’s all it is. Some cowboys make the right ones by knowing when to quit, but then there’s the others…they just keep making the same damn choice, the same damn one.
And if you make it outside the saloons, which is usually deep in the night, you got to contend with the bears, cougars and Indians that are going to jump you for trespassing across their land, and that’s if you’re lucky because if you owe a barkeep any money, or if you really want to end your life quick, try cheatin’ a girl out of her money. She’ll shoot you right in the back, or if she don’t – her keeper will.
If you try stealing, or keeping all your money by being a cheat, you’ll end up busted. Your jaw will be busted, or a leg, or something like that.
Money is the problem. People want it, and need it, but they craziest desire it. They dream about it. These are the Desert Dogs. They’re mangy, greedy, and desperate. All they got is that one dream of being rich. Hittin’ the mother lode.
Some of them get lucky, real lucky, and if they’re smart they’ll keep their yaps shut and take their gold and high tail it out, if they don’t, well…all I can say is it goes back to what my father said about makin’ choices.
Well anyway, all that was running through my head as I stood in a saloon one night. I finished my drink, tossed my coins in the glass and slid it down the counter to the barkeep that rightfully earned it. I tipped my hat at him and then walked outside and stood on the wooden planks that were so loose in places that if you didn’t step on’em right they’d wallop you on the backside of the head.
I leaned forward on a post for a second and looked up at the stars. I don’t recall ever seeing so many lights up in the sky as what there were that night, but then again, most times I wasn’t this close to being upright or sober, and the only stars I saw were the ones I had that followed a good fight mixed with some Whiskey.
As I stood there trying to figure out what tomorrow was gonna’ bring, the post gave way and I tumbled over into the street landing face down with nothing but dirt in my mouth and some wise cracking dude mumbling something about me being a mangy Desert Dog.
I turned over and peeked at the fella as he walked away. The moonlight was bright enough for me to check out his fancy white suit, shiny black boots and what looked like a Yellow, wide brimmed hat. He had a lady in his arms. She gripped him ever harder when she decided to take a look at me.
I’m guessin’ she was either just plain disgusted by me lookin’ at her, or feeling real good knowing she had herself wrapped up in what she thought was a real man.
I felt like taking out my pistol and nicking that dud in the back of his knee, but I thought better of it and decided to lay there in the street for a few and think about my own choices and what I need to start doing so don’t end up back in the street with a bullet my gut, or chest.
I closed my eyes and as soon as I did, I heard a sweet, feminine tone say something like: “I wouldn’t lay there too long. The undertaker will come by and scoop you up.” I turned my head and saw a pretty girl standing next to the broken post that gave way.
Something about the moon and women. They go together real nice.
This was all beginning to feel and look like a Whiskey inspired dream, but I didn’t drink enough to make me start dreaming.
Must’ve been the fall.
I stood up as quick I could and brushed myself off and was going to hobble over and introduce myself to the lady, but she had her back turned as was walkin’ away so I let her be. There ain’t no use in giving attention to a lady when she’s got her back turned to you.
I watched her walk away in the moonlight. It’s probably the only time in my life I’ll ever seen an Angel because I know after I leave the earth, well, I won’t be leaving it. I’ll still be here, just down deeper where it makes the desert look like cool relief and there’s a fellow with horns in his head and holdin’ a pitch fork.
Thankfully I still had some water and my horse. I opened up my canteen and sipped some old water and then rode out of town under the bright glow of a full moon. I camped out on a ridge and fell asleep almost as soon as I laid down.
I remember turning over to one side and hearing some rustling in the bushes. I didn’t hear no voices so I grabbed my pistol and fire off two shots. One in the air, and the other in the brush, and then that’s when I heard a voice.
A soft, whimpering female voice. I jumped up and ran over to the thorny brush and saw that lady who told me to get out of the street. She was grabbing one her ankles real hard and wriggling around as she tried subduing her pain with them soft whimpering noises.
I told her I didn’t mean to shoot her. I felt real, real bad. There ain’t nothin’ lower than a man that shoots a woman. I was thinking that my place in Hell was now a done deal, but as I bent down to help her she started shakin’ her head back and forth and told me I didn’t shoot her.
She had twisted her ankle when she climbed own from her horse after she followed me up here. I told her I don’t have money just in case she was one of those Desert Cats. She quickly nodded her head back and forth so I knew she was being honest, that and when I stepped to one side and the moonlight got on her, I could tell by looking at her face that she wasn’t a Desert Cat. She was way to pretty.
I held out may hand and she grabbed it gently. Her skin was so soft I thought my rock worn, scaly hands were gonna cut her up, but she held on and before I knew it were locked in a comfortable embrace. I held her tight not only because I felt bad for her, but to be honest, there ain’t nothing better that holding a pretty women in your arms under the moonlight.
The crickets were making their sounds, and in the distance, we could hear some coyotes howling, but it was a damn nice moment. I told her to place her foot with the twisted ankle on top of my foot. I gently lifted her foot up with mine and her body nearly went limp from the shooting pain, so I held her tighter and began to side step slowly as I moved her around in long circles. After a few minutes, she removed her foot from on top of mine and we danced to the sounds of orchestra made up of crickets and a few coyotes that wanted to sing at the moon.
A moon dance with a woman in the desert at night. What’s better than that? Not much if anything at all. If I had all the riches any man could hope for, I would’ve traded it for that moment when we danced under the stars and moon.
She stayed with me until the morning, but she was gone before I woke up. I looked around to make sure my horse was still here, and the few coins I had were still in my pocket. She didn’t take a single thing. Nothing.
There was a note she left that was kind of curious.
She told me she had been watching me the whole time I was in the saloon, but I don’t recall ever seeing her there. She said she remembered from the last time I was there and wanted to make sure I didn’t have a girl that was waitin’ for me on the outside. I was trying to figure out who this girl was, and then when I read the last part of her note I realized she’d been followin’ me for quite a while.
I looked around the brush, and then looked out over the ridge and could see someone riding away in the distance. I knew it was her.
It was that dang girl I met awhile back that followed me out into the desert and had taken her dress of right in front of me.
I didn’t waste any time jumping on my horse and following her as quick as I could. I didn’t give a damn about chasin’ for gold anymore. I had something else to get, and I knew the choice I was making this time was the right one.
There comes a time when a man needs to lay down his guns and quit chasing things he can never get, but if he’s smart and lucky, he’ll meet a woman that can help him change his destiny, but he’s got to make the right choice with the right woman.
Maybe it was the moon, or maybe it was the moon and her. I don’t know, but I know I’m not going to be digging for gold anymore.
The only thing that I need to find out now, if it’s within a woman’s ability to change a man’s affection for Whiskey, and when it comes down to it, is it her choice or mine.
A cowboy that ends up laying face down in the street after witnessing the rowdy behavior of drunken men and women in a saloon realizes that he needs to make better choices for himself if he wants his life to change. He rides out of town under the light of a full moon and sets up camp on a ridge where he comes face to face with someone he'd met once before some similar circumstances, but this time he stays with her, and they dance under the star filled canopy of the desert sky. After the night of The Moon Dance, he makes a decision about something that will change the course of his life.