New Mexico "warm" is a different kind of warm. In what could only be described as a dry state, today's warm is a double hit of 95 degrees and 95% humidity. Thunderstorms have been rolling through the state, teasing dry farmers with a chance of a crop for the fall, while starting Dante-esk fires in the mountains. So the added hint of smoke in the air from singed Pinon pines kind of dots the "I" on what it's like today.
A few of my friends showed up to help get a little work done on my perennially half finished house, but the "warm" has already overwhelmed us. Sitting on the rear deck of my house, my friends and I studied the giant Dutch Elm in my neighbor's yard.
"Thirty feet up...To the right of whatever the hell kind of bird that is..". Titus pointed. "I'm pretty sure that leaf moved." Bob Lousy and I both leaned forward in our lounge chairs. We squinted as we followed Titus' line of sight, then looked at each other as we shook our heads.
"The bird moved it jumpin' from branch to branch. Ain't a lick of wind, let alone a breeze," Bob observed. Our town Sheriff, Bob's "My Gun Is Not A Metaphor for My Tally-Wacker" t-shirt was soaked through with sweat. He reached into the 120 quart cooler strategically position within arms reach of the four of us.
The other part of our deck chair foursome was Monica Gibson, town Mayor. "I'm pretty sure the branch moved because my kids are throwing rocks at the bird." She nodded to her three sons digging through 'ol Mr. Hemstead's cabbage garden for rocks. Titus, Bob, and I leaned forward and followed her pointing finger. A mix of nods and shrugs ended with us leaning back in our lounge chairs.
I looked at the tools scattered around the deck. The day had started at 6:30am, when my well meaning friends had arrived. Titus had used my little fake rock hide-a-key thingy, so he, Bob and Monica had come barging into my bedroom, screaming everything from "The house is on fire!", "Freeze, dirt bag - Let that hooker go!", and from my friend the mayor - "The Rams just re-signed Mardy Gilyard!". They got a good chuckle when I flew out of bed, ran through the open screen door - hit the deck railing at full speed - and toppled off the deck. I'm told I landed on the little side lawn running along the side of my house. The sprinklers were still on, so my friends stood on the deck watching me get a morning shower, as I mumbled "Not Gilyard... Oh for the love of God NOT Gilyard..."
In my semi-finished kitchen, I prepared breakfast for my friends. They all waited for me to take the first bite of food for some reason? The looks on their faces, after they'd polished off their omelets, when I said "One word to keep in mind today - Imodium" gave me a small bit of retribution for their wake up call.
We hemmed and hawed for an hour over what project to start, then slowly migrated to the lounge chairs, where we now found ourselves. Did I mention it was warm?
Titus knew there was one subject that'd break the silence. "So how do the Rams look this year?"
Bob and Monica glared at him. I heard Monica's kids groan, one yelling, "Tell him you were kidding Uncle Titus!" The other kids froze where they stood, though nodding their agreement.
"Ouch!" Titus yelped as an ice cold can of beer bounced off his head. Bob held another can, his arm cocked.
"Like it ain't warm enough...You had to bring up the damn Rams?"
Titus grin as Monica threw a hand full of Cheetos at her Fire Department Chief, "It ain't like we were talkin' about anything else?"
"We were suppose to be trying to talk Doug into running for Magistrate Judge," She threw more of the cheesy-crunchy missiles at Titus, two pieces landing on his head, sticking in his sweat soaked hair.
"You want me to run for Magistrate Court Judge?" My friends all nodded. "During football season?"
Monica cleared her throat as she turned from Titus to me, "We've been after you for years to run. My polling says you'd have a good chance of winning."
Her polling? I happened to know Monica's way of polling her constituents had to do with sticking a post-it on the collection plates in the many churches around town. Sunday was polling day, and Monday -when she had her weekly breakfast with the priests, pastors and ministers - they gave her the post Sunday service scuttlebutt in response to her question. The clergymen had tried everything, including locking up their collection plates, but somehow the little post-its appeared every Sunday.
"You're telling me the "Church Brigade" wants me to be their Magistrate Judge?" I started laughing as a beer sailed toward me over Monica's head. I snatched at it - missed - and watched it bounce off the deck.
"Kids!" Monica yelled. The three boys dove on the fumbled beer trying to retrieve it. A small scuffle ensued out of our view, until one of the boys ran up onto the deck and handed me the frosty, grass covered can.
"They'd vote for you by a 2 to 1 margin." Monica stated as she glared at Bob and Titus to chime in.
"Plus, you'd be running against Bubba Siegel. He's a Cowboy's..." Bob tried to add, but stopped talking when I raised a hand.
I got out of my lounge chair, and began to pace across the deck. I had the unopened can of beer in my hand as I looked down at Monica's three boys who were staring up at me. I shook the can and opened it, spraying barley and hops at the boys. The courts could use a man with my intellect and maturity I thought?. I threw the empty can at one of the kids who was sticking his tongue out at me.
"Bubba's running for Judge?" How could I allow the skewed legal ethics of a Dallas Cowboys fan to usurp the Constitution in my little corner of the world?
"He hates the Rams too." Bob added, "I heard him laughing after last year's game in Dallas. He said the Rams were so bad they ought to be outlawed."
Titus covered his mouth with a hand trying not to laugh. He pulled himself together, "Didn't he want you to name the Cowboy's our town's official NFL team?" He said to Monica as he winked at her.
Monica took the cue, "He most surely did, in fact he wanted me to make it mandatory that every citizen in town had to have a Cowboys flag on their lawn on game days."
Bob started laughing when saw my jaw drop, "Yup, a $100 fine for non-compliance too. He wants to re-name all the streets on this side of town after famous Cowboys players. I think your street was going to be called "Michael Irvin Way".
I could feel my blood pressure rising. I shook my head, wondering what was happening to America's heartland. I exploded into a tirade about the Cowboys, blaming them for everything from al -Qaeda to the Hindenburg fire. I'm pretty sure I made a case for the Cowboys causing Hurricane Katrina too. I began to spin out of control, my finger pointing into the air as expounded on the blight that is the Dallas Cowboys. I lurched backwards as I was about to make more valid observations, "...and another thing! ..." I topple over the deck railing.
When I opened my eye, I saw my three friends staring down at me from the deck, laughing. I held up a finger and said... "It's a bit warm today, isn't it?"