“Hey, Pancracio, bring me some alfalfa for my horse,” War Paint commanded crisply, throwing the horse’s rope to one of the soldiers.
Once more they filled their glasses. Many a head hung low with fatigue or drunkenness. Most of the company, however, shouted with glee, including Luis Cervantes’ girl. She had spilled all her wine on a handkerchief and looked all about her with blue wondering eyes.
“Boys,” Blondie suddenly screamed, his shrill, guttural voice dominating the mall, “I’m tired of living; I feel like killing myself right now. I’m sick and tired of War Paint and this other little angel from heaven won’t even look at me!”
Luis Cervantes saw that the last remark was addressed to his bride; with great surprise he realized that it was not Demetrio’s foot he had noticed close to the girl’s, but Blondie’s. He was boiling with indignation.
“Keep your eye on me, boys,” Blondie went on, gun in hand. “I’m going to shoot myself right in the fore-head!”
He aimed at the large mirror on the opposite wall which gave back his whole body in reflection. He took careful aim. . . .
“Don’t move, War Paint.”
The bullet whizzed by, grazing War Paint’s hair. The mirror broke into large jagged fragments. She did not even so much as blink.
Late in the afternoon Luis Cervantes rubbed his eyes and sat up. He had been sleeping on the hard pavement, close to the trunk of a fruit tree. Anastasio, Pancracio and Quail slept nearby, breathing heavily.
His lips were swollen, his nose dry and cold. There were bloodstains on his hands and shirt. At once he recalled what had taken place. Soon he rose to his feet and made for one of the bedrooms. He pushed at the door several times without being able to force it open. For a few min-utes he stood there, hesitating.
No—he had not dreamed it. Everything had really oc-curred just as he recalled it. He had left the table with his bride and taken her to the bedroom, but just as he was closing the door, Demetrio staggered after them and made one leap toward them. Then War Paint dashed in after Demetrio and began to struggle with him. Deme-trio, his eyes white-hot, his lips covered with long blond hairs, looked for the bride, in despair. But War Paint pushed him back vigorously.
“What the hell is the matter with you? What the hell are you trying to do?” he demanded, furious.
War Paint put her leg between his, twisted it suddenly, and Demetrio fell to the ground outside of the bedroom. He rose, raging.
“Help! Help! He’s going to kill me!” she cried, seizing Demetrio’s wrist and turning the gun aside. The bullet hit the floor. War Paint continued to shriek. Anastasio dis-armed Demetrio from behind.
Demetrio, standing like a furious bull in the middle of the arena, cast fierce glances at all the bystanders, Luis Cervantes, Anastasio, Manteca, and the others.