It was one of those really fine afternoons where you can sit on the front porch and no matter which way you looked there wasn't much in the way of cloud or haze to stop your eye. Off to the west the line of the mountain was held in place by the sky at the top and the ground at the bottom.
To the east and north all you could see was flat prairie stretching away into the distance, the only interruption the occasional scrub brush or the dips in the ground where a sinkhole had formed some time in the past. They'd filled in long ago, leaving just a slight crater scraped out of the surface. If He was in a good mood He'd call them acne scars. Catch Him in a bad mood and He'd start muttering about pox-infested blankets that left scars even on Her face.
The good thing about living out here and being able to see as far as the mountains in one direction, or as far as your eyes let you in the two other directions He could come from, (there's no way you'd ever be catching Him coming along the south road), is that you get plenty of warning as to what His mood is going to be like.
If He was just trotting along with his tongue lolling out the way that it can, then you know things will go as well as can be hoped. But if there's any deviation from that then you can be sure there could be some trouble. If you weren't able to distract Him quickly enough you could wind up with anything from a bad trick being played on someone to war on your front porch.
So this afternoon when I spotted Old Coyote approaching out of the north, He was still some five miles away. But oh boy, could you see that He was more then a little pissed about something. Forewarned is forearmed they say, so by the time Old Coyote arrived at my porch that looks out over the prairie in three directions, I had pulled up His favourite chair, made a pot of tea, and had His favourite cup filled with sweet tea (four lumps, no milk).
"Hey," I said to that one, "sit and have some tea, sit and have some tea before it gets cold. Have some fry bread, I just made it, or one of those microwave pizzas – you want one of those – those microwave pizzas?"
But Coyote just continued to pace in front of my porch with His tail dragging in the dust behind Him. Boy, He was one steamed Coyote. I'm wondering what I'm going to do about that, because there's nothing worse than steamed Coyote (although I've heard that Coyote pot roast is pretty bad, too) and if He keeps pacing like that I'm going to have me a trench dug in my front yard.
"Hey," I said to that one again, "you want to go inside and watch television on the satellite dish? We can sit here and look at the TV Guide and find out we should be watching." I had put up the satellite dish for Coyote because He wanted to watch Oprah and Jerry, and all the other funny shows they play during the daytime. He liked to talk to them and see if He could get them to talk back; sometimes He did and sometimes He didn't — get them to talk back that is.
But that one must be really steamed because He continues to pace back and forth – even the thought of back to back Jerry and Oprah doesn't seem to be penetrating His mood. There being nothing else that I could think of suggesting to distract Him, I gave in and did what He wanted.
"Hey Coyote, why don't you come over here and sit down; drink some tea, eat some special fry bread, and tell me what put the burr up your butt?"
You know what it's like to watch a friend get carried away sometimes and talk while they're drinking and eating? Well you haven't seen anything until you've seen Old Man Coyote try to drink tea, eat fry bread, and talk all at the same time. He only slowed down after that first coughing fit almost made Him lose more than just what was in His mouth.