The Toys of Des Moines


We have to make of things what we will…

Part I.
That night I saw a disk beside the Moon,
I didn’t tell the driver, though. No way.
I didn’t know him well enough; too soon
To mention more than what we had to say.

We had to talk of who we were to see –
Three debtors, each with fines (of sorts) to pay,
A fist, a knife, a gun, respectively,
Would balance Xeno’s books by light of day.

The driver knew me only as El Cid,
And he insisted I should call him Che.
Though darker since the meeting in Madrid,
The Moon had made him pale again, and grey.

Our contract had us stateside, heading north
Through waving fields and silent hills sedate,
The disk beside the Moon rocked back and forth,
I held my tongue as Che cruised interstate.

Part II.
Three a.m. and we were at the door,
Of debtor number one, a guy called Gee.
“This one’s yours”, said Che; he sounded sore,
He didn’t want to share the list with me.

Gee was just a mule who undersold,
But Xeno never stood unbalanced books,
“Barely worth the knock” I said, and rolled
A single-handed smoke in papir crux.

Che looked ghostly underneath the Moon,
More so underneath that striking disk,
Perhaps it was a special cop balloon?
Likelier my reason was at risk!

I knocked and seconds later there was Gee,
Surprised – yet not surprised. We went straight in.
His girlfriend set the dog on Che and me,
But ‘Sal’ just ran outside to bark and spin.

In seconds it was over, Gee was bruised,
Just enough to teach him not to lie,
We left his girlfriend clearly not amused,
Still – both were glad they clearly didn’t die.

Sal had started barking at the Moon,
He snarled and snapped as if it tapped his snout,
Of course it was the disk, that strange balloon!
That turned the mad dog’s temper inside out.

Part III.
The second stop was Che’s, he looked so pleased:
A rival with a loose tongue in his mouth;
“I think I’ll loosen it for good!” Che wheezed,
“Or drop the tip a little north to south!”

We reckoned on plan b – to fork the tongue,
Our rival then would pass the moral on,
Lessons not to sing must yet be sung –
The tongue that isn’t there will sing of none.

We forced the door and found him on his knees,
I said “Hey Reza, Mecca’s over here!”
Che leant down and gave the neck a squeeze;
We searched the frozen eyes for signs of fear.

Reza had been coldly sent to hell,
A single bullet silenced him for good,
Other rivals have their scores as well,
We left him on his mat of darkling wood.

Part IV.
Debtor number three was Slawomir,
A double-gunner (Che and I pre-packed),
Slawo severed Xeno’s brother’s ear,
Claiming Xeno’s brother first attacked.

The disk beside the Moon fell into cloud,
As we drove into Slawo’s neighbourhood,
We parked and joined a merry looking crowd,
Heading for the house we hoped they would.

Slawo liked to play the lavish host,
We crashed his lavish party in a flash,
Before we chose to turn him into ghost,
We blended with the boisterous and brash.

I watched a pretty princess work the room,
Wrapped in silk and silver, head-to-toe,
Now dancing with a stranger in a plume
Of smoke that seemed to strangely grow and glow…

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