Her great first line evades her, off making a last impression on some scoundrel who’ll scamper away to the streets when you least expect it. But there he is, lashes twitching, assuring her she’s caught his eye. The great silver clasp of his bolo would cleanly reflect her image, she reflects. He laughs open-mouthed, slugs back some tequila, no chaser, with his round table of wanna-be eses. But his slacked jaw returns with the thick charcoal stick brows to her side of the wide, thin room, pausing almost like an old film in a left-right vacillation, not quite blinking. The eyes don’t find her. Not right away. Ducks into view, she does, dives, head first plants her chin on Rootin Jack’s fringed shoulder. Smacks the table with her dead wedding ring band. “Let’s dance.”
Rootin Jack lumbers up from the tall booth, practically throwing her before him onto the dance floor. Faux-rustic squares triangulate into the corners of her mouth when she catches them between dashing and snaking. Rootin pounds his boot like he were trying to shake his knife off his belt, or clean out the old case. Might’s well, she thinks, slice through the bottom of that cracked papery obstacle incessant on his left hip, a bulge misplaced, and pin his foot to the floor, give his stomp a purpose. Add some real blood to his bloody stories.
It works. Shiny bolo man cranes his thick neck toward her table, narrows the eyes at the abandoned foggy glasses and their backwash. Scans the place, or maybe just winds his head in disappointment back to his booth of ruffalos. And stops, ramshackle papiay-machay plasters a grin into his own features. Cocks his head like he’s hoping it will fall off his shoulders and roll across the laminate to her. She wonders somewhere in the way back of her mind how fast she’d scoop it up in her skirt, but if she’d have to cradle it in the ruffles for a lifetime. And there he is. Quite the beeline for another bull riding type. Nods his head to tip his hat to her. But before he can say anything, Rootin blows out, “And what might you want?”
Frozen for a second, except for then his arm extending to her, and Rootin grabs her, seizes her into a polka of a two-step. Uncertain Rootin looking like his leg’s a metal detector going off, the knife hopping on his hip. The man begins a half-assed little dance beside them; does he think he’s invited? His hand returns to its position of offering always finding a home in the air there, until he gets a chance to finish the gesture. This time he taps Rootin’s fringed arm a little ways down from the shoulder. Unnoticed, his second round, his two fingers curl; he knocks on the leather bicep. His head bobs along now with a half-knock, half-nudge. Rootin’s head jerks his direction; bolo’s eyebrows shoot up. “We’re dancin’. We’re dancin’!” Rootin shouts.
She thinks his voice is smooth, but she doesn’t catch every word. “…with the lady.” Rootin’s hand hits his knife case. “With me, I don’t believe with you,” she says. “You can dance with that.”