Inside The Bird Cage Saloon

A world-champion young lady capable of 1,000-yard bull’s eyes with a 30-pound rifle


chapter 15


GUN 2013


     Here we stand, Ted & I, a couple old long hairs.  He is a goofy guitar player and me ~ I am the White House’s second most favorite secret agent.  I don’t know where the first most favorite secret agent might be.  Horseback riding, I guess, with another one of her many beaus.

     Here we stand, he & I, each under his own hat, each under his own wing of the wooden eagle perched above.  We’re all caught by surprise with Ted Newscent’s sudden shift in viewpoint.  This is an epic seismic happening.  What if, what if ~ it’s real?  Mr. Gun Rights backs Mr. Gun Regulation?  He is standing right here next to me ~ and now I note an old style Colt 44 or 45 revolver, a beautiful specimen, stuck down the front of his pants ~ must be an 8,000 dollar piece of equipment thar.

     Here we stand.  I’m looking around ~ such a shiftless man I am ~ part weasel ~ yearning for a knothole in the floor that I can crawl through.  Meanwhile Newscent & Peeintheair eyeball each other ferociously.  I imagine electrical current crackling from one pair of eyeballs to the other.  Maybe I’m not imagining this at all.  Maybe the lightning is actually there between these two men.  A storm is brewing.  I almost expect rain to start pouring down any second right here inside the Bird Cage Saloon.

     Peeintheair thunders, “What stops a bad man with a gun?”

     The loyal choir of over-armed NRA toughs all around their leader drops its jaws & instead of the gang’s raucous reply, to my immediate left I hear a more subdued perhaps more powerful answer, “A good woman with a gun.”


     She done sneaked in through the front door & is standing to the other side of old horn-dog Rawclyde ~ daughter of a bee-bee gun!  She’s armed to the teeth and then some.  This is downright ridiculous.  How’d I get into this situation?  I’m way out of my league here.  A bunch of NRA loophole-ed morons full of freshly loaded hardware not but ten feet away wanting to splatter yours truly into splats of blood on the floor and walls, Ted “fricking!” Newscent to the right o’ me pulling a Colt 45 outta his trousers, and to the left o’ me ~ we now got camofloughed, armoured yet provocatively revealed, mounted by ten kinds of firearms, one gattling & a cannon of some kind, not to mention a wheel barrow full of ammo & blunderbusses, so loaded down with evil intent that she’s setting up a tripod in front of her to bare some of the weight, my young & dynamic mysterious mystique secret agent partner, Submissivania Whapp!

     Everybody gots their guns drawn.  Except me.  I don’t have a gun.  In my old age I’m just an eunuch.  I’d rather be killed than kill.  And Submissivania’s last tripod nut is tight.  So I figure now’s a good time to lecture all these fine & fancy folks:

     “You know, my fellow Americans, a bunch of citizens with loopholes in their brains, armed to the teeth, isn’t what makes this nation free.  The Bill of Rights, of course, is what makes America free.  The 2nd Amendment of this Bill of Rights advocates a well regulated militia made up of the people & their firearms.  Let’s concentrate for a moment on the phrase ‘a well regulated militia.’  Concentrate real hard.  Okay, get a license to own your guns & register & insure them.  Now you’re real Americans.  And everybody else with guns are illegal & can be legally disarmed.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you were a well regulated militia, my fellow citizens, duly licensed, your guns registered, and insured.  And that’s the other half of the 2nd Amendment that Mr. Peeintheair & you have been ignoring since I don’t know when.”


Gun 2013


short novel




(free read)



GUN 2013 ~ the short novel



Gun 2013:

A free read from Rawclyde!


A short novel…

the wooden eagle

GUN 2013

a secret-agent adventure

(concerned with common-sense gun law)




(Copyright Clyde Collins 2013)



free read


Introductions begin here:

The fiction narrative begins here:

Soon enough to be a website with some concluding arguments

Then maybe an e-book

Inside the Bird Cage Saloon VI



GUN 2013

Chapter 20


The double doors are a rattling in the big birdcage above our heads.  The log perch hanging from the arch is swaying.  Giant formidable talons move nervously back n’ forth on the swaying perch.  Of course it’s only my imagination gone beserk.  The bald eagle up there in the dome is a statue made of wood ~ and is still.  Maybe I’m the one having a nervous breakdown.

“Now, baby, now!”

Bang!  Bang!  The slick long-barrel derringer in Wayne Peeintheair’s spastic hand twirls thru the smokey atmosphere of the saloon.  And one of his ears disappears for good measure.  Agent Whapp, to the left o’ me, proves to be an expert marksman!  And nobody else fires a shot ‘cuz she’s so damn scary.  A sullen skull chalked like a mask on her face makes it so.

“So be it!” shouts Ted Newscent, just a guitar player, to the right o’ me.  He covers all of ’em with his 45.  He’s no longer grinning.  His jaw muscles are taunt ~ working overtime ~ as his teeth grind.

The floor is smokin’.  The boys are leavin’.  And the Bird Cage Saloon is burning down.

The bristling cannon-ware of Submissivania (Has she’s grown 5 extra arms aiming all this stuff?) offers encouragement for all AR-15 conglomerates to fold-up and depart.  And so they do.  Some of these tough guys dance a little bit as they seek an exit, for the bullets fling & sing up outta the crackling ammo dump (I presume it’s a secret NRA ammo dump) in the cellar below.

Peeintheair’s four bodyguards have become statues.  “Why don’t you guys move!” bellows my favorite old rock n’ roll star turned Obamasiah deacon.  He waves the barrel of his Colt toward the door.  Submissivania shoots somebody’s hat off ~ more encouragement.

“What the…?”

Peeintheair is doing a jig!  His clown shoes flip flop madly as he pyroots around & around, holding the ear-less side of his head as it spurts blood ‘tween his fingers.  He’s kind of like a twirling lawn sprinkler spraying red dew on the smoking, splintering planks around him.  The expression on his face is that of a grinning circus clown ~ even after having wiped off all his make-up.  He’s got a grin on his face so big his eyes are squeezed shut.  He seems to be in his element.  The racket below is deafening.  A carbon stench pervasive.  Smoke is slithering around him like out-of-body experiences.

“Hell!” snarls Ted.  He waves farewell with his gun & exits in disgust out the back door, grabs his guitar on his way out.  A large section of the floor explodes behind him & flames leap up ~ begin waltzing with our NRA celebrity.

Peeintheair’s bodyguards remain catatonic.  I guess they cannot decide whether they want to defend their looney leader or shoot him.  They haven’t moved a quarter of an inch for maybe five minutes.  One of them has a sawed-off shotgun half pulled out of his coat as if eternally posing for a camera that is not here.  Meanwhile his a-whirl dervish boss starts singing:


“What stops a bad man

with a gun?

What stops a bad man

with a gun?

Maybe nothin’ can stop him

but the rising sun!”


The coat sleeve of one of Peeintheair’s bodyguards catches fire.  This snaps the feller out of his statue-like stillness.  He drops his guns & runs ~ like an Olympic torch-carrier for the front door ~ hollering.  But he doesn’t get too far.  The floor collapses under him in a burst of red sparks.  He tumbles head first into the spluttering tumult of ricocheting bullets below ~ then comes flying out riding a piano-sized fireball that propels him back over our heads across the room.  After that I lose track of this unfortunate individual.  He probably just lies on the floor some where behind a table, perhaps on top of a table, a sizzling charbroiled hamburger…

by Rawclyde!


Inside the Bird Cage Saloon



GUN 2013

Chapter 15


I cut a few corners & there I is ~ in front of the Bird Cage Saloon ~ Harley Davidson steads parked at the curb, homeless men in the park across the street vacantly spying on Whiskey Row.  In the middle of this grassy shady park across the street looms the stoic courthouse of Yavapai County.  This is the same courthouse square where somebody is rumored to have filmed a scene or two in yesteryear’s cult-classic, Billy Jack.  And here I is ~ on the other side of Montezuma Avenue ~ standing forlornly before the Bird Cage Saloon ~ craving so badly to go anywhere except inside.  I shrug, cough-up some old-man phlegm.  I gracefully sail the spittle into the gutter.  And, specially for the homeless audience across the street, I sneak into my performance a sharp secret-agent move to the right, and then, a sharper, swifter, secret-agent move to the left.  And thennn ~ I enter.

He is wearing clown shoes ~ a dead give-away that this is the clown who was handing out loaded derringers to children on the street & whom I stalked up the alley behind the Bird Cage Saloon.  These clown shoes are about 12-inches longer than regular shoes.  And they flop around like what I imagine backward beaver tails look like on freshly shot specimens.

I probably would not have noticed anybody wearing such shoes except as I push the door open & casually saunter into the infamous drinking establishment, my leg gives out & I fall to the floor.  This is not part of the plan.  Must be some kind of ceasement of circulation.  Whatever cool I possessed is now shattered glass.  However, I have noticed those clown shoes.  I most likely would not have noticed them if I had not fallen.  While lying on the floor like a jelly fish, I happen to note that a feller sitting at the bar is wearing them.  Scuffed up, flippy floppy, hilarious clown shoes.

Another feller, this one with outrageously long hair, a steel guitar, and a big grin, comes up.  He gives my leg a couple kicks in the calf.  This gets the circulation going again & I am grateful.  When, with one hand, he yanks me up onto my feet, it dawns on me this guy looks a lot like Ted Newscent ~ the famous rock n’ roll daddy & gun yo-yo ~ yes, this guy is the spittin’ image of Ted Newscent ~ he who is so often publicly flamboyantly hostile to the U.S. President.

And the guy sitting at the bar, presently in a regular business suit & the extremely extended clown shoes that, I presume, he forgot to switch after niggling thru the back door moments earlier ~ he looks a lot like ~ no, it cannot be!  He’s peering point-blank at me like I’m a target.  The hefty fellers around him with bulges in their coats could quite possibly be ~ yes, they are ~ they are his bodyguards.  A chill runs up my spine.  This man is the National Rifle Association big-talk man, Wayne Peeintheair.  He is, in no small way, publicly hostile to the U.S. President too.

And, alas, I am one of the White House’s favorite secret agents!

~ Rawclyde!


The Homeless Ghost



GUN 2013

Chapter 14


So I keep on strolling up the alley ~ stroll by the backside patio of the famous Palace restaurant with a severe parking structure to the other side of the alley ~ stroll by the back of this bar & that store & more trash bins.  In the shade beside one bin I discern movement.  Oh oh, am I a goner?  Why must I be one of the White House’s favorite secret agents?  Who volunteered me for this job?  Maybe right now is a good time to suddenly start looking for something that pays ~ like flipping burgers.

My eyes blur.  The shade is deep.  The shade is ~ mystical?  The shade next to the trash bin is hiding a tramp ~ and not hiding him very well.  He’s sitting on the pavement, his back against the smelly bin.  He has found a cool place to rest his bones ~ but this cool place is shrinking due to the sun moving across the sky.  Pretty soon he is going to have to move.  He raises his arm.  He points.  “The fucking clown went in there,” he growls.

I turn & look at a not-too-fancy wooden door on which is elaborately printed, “Bird Cage Saloon.”  This narrow door is at the back of another plain windowless crumbling-brick building.

I spit out, “Thank you, brother.”  I turn & head for the door.

As I reach for the door handle the tramp behind me says, “I wouldn’t go in there if I was you.”

I turn around.  This feller is standing up now.  Half of him is in the sunlight.  He’s long & lanky, stubble all over a haggard face.  He’s wearing a black duster coat with long tails, a little western tie at his throat, a shirt that was once white, a wide brim smacked down on his skull.  He looks like a very soiled version of Wyatt Earp ~ without gun or badge & in the market for a grave.

“Go around thru the front,” he advises.

“Sounds like a good idea,” I acknowledge.  The clown I’d been following could be hiding somewhere behind the backdoor ready to knock me off.  He most likely wouldn’t be expecting me thru the front door.  This, this, this ghost might have just saved me much harm.  “Thanks,” I say.

He glares at me with nothing more to add.

I step further up the back-alley of Whiskey Row.  I’m no longer limping.  But my back is kinda stiff and my muscles are kind of ~

Plucked like guitar strings…

~ by Rawclyde!


Photo:  Wyatt Earp

Stepping forward…



GUN 2013

Chapter 13


What perverse ideology leads a man to don a clown costume & give loaded derringers to children?  He’s over the edge.  He’s over.  Period.

The sad scene behind me on Cortez Street dictates courage, dictates that I investigate.  I slither out from behind the trash bin.  I straighten up.  I step forward.  The clown disappeared up the alley & I want to know exactly where.

Limping now, I step forward again & again.  I step across Gurley Street ~ named after a surveyor & officer in the U.S. Army who set out for but never made it to Prescott.  He was going to be the town’s first mayor if I remember my history correctly.

A motorist almost runs me down.  What else is new?  Another motorist slows, stops, condescendingly  wiggles her fingers at me to continue across the damn street.  I do as beckoned & back alley drift between the tall edifice of Saint Michael’s Hotel & a little Buddha gift store ~ both built of crumbling brick.  The clarity of the situation is hitting me now.  The shadows, though shrinking, are deep & mystical.  This reminds me of when I walked down Oak Creek Canyon along the highway under a full moon.  But I’m in Prescott & it’s almost noon.  And, as usual, there’s nothing to fear but God.  And He is known to loves us.

I think I am getting Gurley mixed up with Whipple when it comes to the historical personalities of Prescott.  Was Whipple’s first name Fort?  No, I don’t think so.  And it might very well be he was going to be not Prescott’s first mayor but Arizona’s first governor.  He never made it.  I best stop thinking about this.

And it’s getting hot around here.  Sweat is dripping down the side of my face.  My armpits are sopping wet ~ might be because I’m wearing a new vest.  I pull down the brim of my old hat.  My hair, I’m sure, is all over the place, like, I’m an over-the-hill hippie with a silver beard…

~ by Rawclyde!


copyright by Ken Loots


Run like a deer, like a rabbit…

mule deer running


GUN 2013

Chapter 12


Do I actually tumble down the stairs?  No.  I scuttle like a bug.  The soles of my hiking shoes barely touch the edge of each corrugated metal step at the backside of the inn.  Now I’m on the ground & down the alley & around the corner.  Why didn’t I go out the front?  Why ain’t I perfect?  And why has my left leg gone lame?  Why are my knees cracking?  Why am I not having a heart attack instead of running like a deer, like a rabbit?

Run run.

I run by the poor kid layed-out on the sidewalk, 3 or 4 folks gathered around him, one kneeling checking the little guy’s lack of pulse, the crying little girl standing there with a derringer in her hand.  The reality of the minature 22-caliber gun not being a toy ~ hammers her sweet little face as the tears waterfall into a lake at her feet.  She just killed her brother with a gun that a clown gave her.

I’m running down the cross-street because I saw a flash of that clown turn down an alley.  He is red white & blue aflutter ~ big red & blue spots on white with gold ruffles, goofy face, frizzy hair, a red ball stuck on the end of his nose.  This little red ball came undone, is bouncing on the sidewalk.  I kick it into the traffic as I pass ~ old horn-dog style now ~ so swiftly do I pass.

When I reach the alley down which the not-so-funny rainbow disappeared, I’m totally out of breath.  I slow down.  I turn the corner into the alley casually & in no hurry.  I am on a sight-seeing stroll.  I am a humming tourist.

There he is ~ way up the narrow back-way ~ crossing Gurley Street.  Now he is behind Whiskey Row.  He is on the move at a brisk pace.  And now, baby, now, so am I.


In the blink of of a lizard’s eye, he is on one knee facing me with what looks like an assault rifle & scope raised & ready to fire.

I go squat behind a trash bin & pretend like I’m taking a crap.  A fashionably dressed man & woman on a fancy date stroll by.  They’re laughing.  I straighten up and peer over the bin.

My prey is gone.  I forgot to mention the clown was toting a laundry-like cloth bag ~ I presume full of goodies.  That must be from where he pulled out what I presume was a deadly weapon aimed at my head.  I presume it was not a toy…

~ by Rawclyde!



Photos courtesy of:


Fading away on the balcony…



GUN 2013

Chapter 11


“The common sense gun regulation bill got buffaloed in the senate.”

“You mean the gun control bill?”

“No.  I mean the common sense gun regulation bill.  ‘Gun control’ doesn’t sound right to me.  I don’t use the term.”

“All the people I’ve talked to around here say Obama wants to disarm them of their firearms.”

“That’s the NRA lying to the gullibles.  Our Commander In Chief doesn’t like little Americans in their elementary school getting their brains splattered all over the walls by an over-armed maniac.”

“What do you propose?”

“Well, with the gun bill defeated in the senate, I propose intelligent voting by American citizens in 2014.”

Submissivania laughs.

“Hey, if the American people refuse to be buffaloed,” I say, “This gun legislation can still get through!”

Submissivania laughs again ~ bitterly ~ and shrugs.

The Earth’s aura is thick with mystery and so is my head.  The town is a mother lode of human spirit.  The American motorist rules.  Benches are prevalent downtown, never the less, for weary pedestrians ~ a generous gesture by the city mothers and fathers to the tourists, and to people like me.  A chilly wind is knocking about.  But the sun is arising.  And Thumb Butte keeps winking at the White House’s two favorite secret agents perched on a third-floor balcony above Cortez Street in Prescott,  Arizona.

By n’ by a feller come outta the hall door behind us & lean on the rail to the other side of alluring Submissivania.  It doesn’t take long for her to divert her attention in his direction.  He is younger, more outgoing, more stupid than me.  I cannot comprehend why Submissivania’s alarming shoulder is bumping him now instead of yours truly ~ except I suppose he’s one of the boys that has been in & out of her room in the wee hours of the night since my secret-agent partner & myself have been rooming here.  That’s how it’s been at the Downtown Prescott Inn.

I don’t know what they’re talking about.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  They’re yammering on & on about balance & awareness & loping & rearing up & eating grass along the trail.  His hand fondles her knee and that too submissively swings in his direction.  In fact, my fair lady eventually swirls around, leans her back against the balcony.  Pretty soon they might as well be slow dancing & I might as well be Perry Como singing Moon River specially for them to enhance their romantic inclinations.

My happy face has faded entirely away.  My new mood is becoming pretty transparent.  But they don’t notice.  Or care.  I might just as well be a ghost.

As I’m deciding how to sneak away from there, my favorite duet leaves instead.  I think they say something about riding horses before they go.  They’re gone without any good-byes to the old grey ghost who has been fading away on the balcony.

So now what?  Am I going to go to the gym across the street or the public library up the hill?  Will I hit the church for free grub or the ornery mother goddess for free coffee?  How ’bout the community college library?  I could go there.  Or I could visit a friend.  I happen to have had at least 3 years of familiarity with this place, Prescott, before I returned two months ago accompanied by Submissivania ~ and the day is actually becoming more and more beautiful.

I’m about to turn & head out when something catches my attention on the sidewalk across the street.  What’s a clown doing down there?  A man in a colorful Bozo costume just handed a little kid a small gift-wrapped package.   The clown just handed another kid another one.  That’s nice.  The little boy and girl run down the sidewalk tearing open their free whatevers.  There’s a loud bang.  And the boy drops ~ drops dead?

I turn, run down the hall, tumble down the stairs, to investigate…

~ by Rawclyde!


Artwork by Quintero:


Too much waiting…



GUN 2013

Chapter 10


Neither one of us know what our mission entails.  Our one order ~ go to Prescott AZ ~ has been realized.  We are in that town now.  We are in Prescott waiting waiting waiting for more orders.

We lean forever on the 3rd-floor balcony rail.  Submissivania’s short skirt slips higher up her smooth thigh when she puts forward one foot.  Says she, “How much longer must we wait?”

I slowly shake my head.  “I don’t know.”

“Not a clue?”

“Just the same old hunch ~ that it has something to do with ~ with gun law.”

Submissivania slowly shakes her head & sighs, “Washington D.C.”

I oh so slowly nod ~ and say nothing more.

We raise our cups at the same time, sip our coffee.  These cups from the lobby downstairs are made of plain white styrofoam.  We lower our cups ~ at the same time again.  Submissivania bumps my shoulder with her shoulder, on purpose I am sure, which spills my coffee, a little bit of it.  We both look down to see the splash on Cortez Street ~ 3-stories below ~ but we see nothing ~ nothing but people strolling by…

~ Rawclyde!