“Do you really want to come with us? Of course you’re cut from another timber, we all know that; God knows why you should like this sort of life. Do you imagine we’re in this game because we like it? Now, I like the ex-citement all right, but that’s not all. Sit down here; that’s right. Do you want to know why I’m a rebel? Well, I’ll tell you.
“Before the revolution, I had my land all plowed, see, and just right for sowing and if it hadn’t been for a little quarrel with Don Monico, the boss of my town, Moya-hua, I’d be there in a jiffy getting the oxen ready for the sowing, see?
“Here, there, Pancracio, pull down two bottles of beer for me and this tenderfoot. . . . By the Holy Cross . . . drinking won’t hurt me, now, will it?”
I was born in Limon, close by Moyahua, right in the heart of the Juchipila canyon. I had my house and my cows and a patch of land, see: I had everything I wanted. Well, I suppose you know how we farmers make a habit of going over to town every week to hear Mass and the sermon and then to market to buy our onions and to-matoes and in general everything they want us to buy at the ranch. Then you pick up some friends and go to Prim-itivo Lopez’ saloon for a bit of a drink before dinner; well, you sit there drinking and you’ve got to be sociable, so you drink more than you should and the liquor goes to your head and you laugh and you’re damned happy and if you feel like it, you sing and shout and kick up a bit of a row. That’s quite all right, anyhow, for we’re not doing anyone any harm. But soon they start bothering you and the policeman walks up and down and stops oc-casionally, with his ear to the door. To put it in a nut-shell, the chief of police and his gang are a lot of joykill-ers who decide they want to put a stop to your fun, see? But by God! You’ve got guts, you’ve got red blood in your veins and you’ve got a soul, too, see? So you lose your temper, you stand up to them and tell them to go to the Devil.
“Now if they understand you, everything’s all right; they leave you alone and that’s all there is to it; but some-times they try to talk you down and hit you and—well, you know how it is, a fellow’s quick-tempered and he’ll be damned if he’ll stand for someone ordering him around and telling him what’s what. So before you know it, you’ve got your knife out or your gun leveled, and then off you go for a wild run in the sierra, until they’ve forgotten the corpse, see?
“All right: that’s just about what happened to Mon-ico. The fellow was a greater bluffer than the rest. He couldn’t tell a rooster from a hen, not he. Well, I spit on his beard because he wouldn’t mind his own business. That’s all, there’s nothing else to tell.