It’s closin’ time at the town saloon;
the last-call bell’s been sounded
and patrons are soundlessly downing
the last of their glasses of water to
insulate them from the desert heat,
when Ol’ Wily saunters into the barroom.
The hotter air outside follows him onto a barstool
and sets the hem of the wood alight.
Wily lights himself a cigarette on the singed edges
of seat leather and proceeds to order a water,
Even though the register’s closed,
the pub owner can see that
Coyote is mighty thirsty,
so he cleans off a shot glass
with a dash of spittle,
pours a finger and a half of Adam’s Ale
and sets it in on the bar.
As Coyote laps up the drink,
he confesses a story to the barkeep
of the girl who got away:
Some claim she has no name,
others say she is but a dream,
but Ol’ Wily has always called her Runner.
He swallows the last of his cup
and motions for a refill.
Poor Dog’s been chasing after her
ever since he could remember;
he was a young pup the first time
he saw her tail-feathers kick up dust,
and he’s been on her trail ever since.
His adventures took him to the bottom
of the Great Canyon (the short way),
and taught him the laws of gravity
before ACME was shut down
for building faulty airplanes.
Even though he’s been in traction
more times than he can count,
each time after rehab he mounts a cannon
and heads off to catch his fast-paced love.
Today’s chase brought him within
a hairbreadth of his perpetual “Marco”.
Although she fled at the last second
into a painting that looked like
a wallpapered landscape
draped over the set of a low budget film
and coyote made a dog-shaped
imprint in the hardwood background,
his greatest fear is not that Runner got away.
No, he claims. His biggest regret
isn’t that Runner escaped,
nor is it the paper-mâché landscape
he’ll be picking out of his fur for days;
Ol’ Wily’s just afraid he may never see her again.
But the Dog’s taken up enough of the bartender’s time;
he lays a few blemished coins on the countertop
and walks out of the saloon
with a wild look in his eye.