Cowboy Jake was a drifter with a clouded past. It was said he killed seven men when he was down south in old Mexico. It was only four men, worthless sorts, but Jake reveled in the exaggeration. However, Jake’s real problems were shoplifting and petty thievery.
Once he stole his barber’s glass eye. He sold it to pay for the bandages to stop the bleeding coming from where his earlobe used to be. Apparently, one-eyed barbers have no depth perception.
Ultimately, Jake got himself hanged. It wasn’t for stealing the glass eye or killing the barber, or even killing those guys down in Mexico. The folks up in the sparse and treeless mesa country must have been pretty angry with old Jake–they hanged him without a damned tree–just left him sort of sprawled across the ground. One end of the rope was tied to a rock and the other end noosed and cinched up around his skinny little neck. It is hard for me to explain exactly what went on, but Jake is dead just the same.
Jake had the ‘cooties.’
Jake probably picked them up when he was in a dusty cantina outside of Alvarez. Just about everybody down there had them. Damn ‘cooties.’The good news is that ‘cooties’ don’t live long up in the mesa country. The bad news is they didn’t have to hang Jake. The good news is the townspeople didn’t really give a damn anyway.