I Love Robbing Banks/ I Always Tell The Teller Thanks.

by Serge Bielanko

The wind jabs, dances, jabs some more, and then just cuts all hell loose. Dark clouds hustle toward us, eager to dump on someone/anyone out here where people are scarce. I suppose the sky gets bored too. Tired of hammering the ground to dust with hard pellets of summer rain. Even pelting antelope and coyotes would get dull after like eight thousand years. You'd want to soak some big guns now and then. Some damn human people. Sneak up on them if you can, while they're out in a wide open field mending a fence or looking for rattlesnakes; set upon them with wicked wrath. Drench their thin clothes. Fire lightning bolts at their scared asses. Good times if you're bad weather, but few and far between out here in No Man's Land.

A few drops slip down through the streaky sunbeams and plop onto my arms, but that's about it. Sometimes the wind tells the rain to fuck off, sometimes it doesn't. We luck out, I guess. Through the locomotive gusts I hear my daughter wake up back in the Honda. Her crying leaks out of the backseat and probably dies upon some cross-wind for a few minutes before it manages to hitch a ride on the back of something headed past the car towards my face. So, I hear her crying out: probably wondering where the hell her folks might have gotten to. I stroll back over there and untie her from her seat.

Then we head back into Butch Cassidy's place.

Inside, there is no wind. It slams up on the cabin walls like seawall waves, but there is newish mortar in the old cracks and it would take a tornado to get in. Violet looks around with her sleepy eyes and begins to percolate. Her little head swivels up over my shoulder to watch Mama on the other side of the one room in here. She gum-grins at her and then at the stormy sun coming through the broken panes in the windows.

Butch Cassidy spent his younger years here. A Mormon kid in a land of flash-fur jack rabbits bolting for holes. They say it was here, in the land around this cabin, that he first learned to ride horses and shoot pistols. I believe it too. What the hell else would you do? I whisper to Violet a little about Butch; I don't know all that much. I tell her he wasn't as cold-blooded as Jesse James or Billy The Kid. She stares at the log walls with babbling coos. Max and Milo putz around out in the waving grasses and she fixes her eyes upon them while I speak. I tell her that Butch and Sundance and their gang robbed and stuff but tried not to kill too much.

I slip in that her Papa rode with that infamous Hole-In-The-Wall Gang for many years. That I was a favorite of Butch. I slip in bullshit here and there: for me. She doesn't blink a doubtful eye and I like that. I need it.

Monica takes our picture. I make her take maybe a thousand. I'll probably be having beers with Prince Charles on his chicken farm before I'm back here again. Part of me wants to shoot a six-shooter into a stump or something. Monica reads some lore to us out of a book I have. I try and listen close, so it might help me suck up the vibe even more, but it's not much use. I'm just too excited to have my daughter here to really concentrate.

The mean Utah wind blows through Violet's corn-silk hair when we move back through the low door from the cabin. I try and imagine a young freckled kid moving out through the same door a long time ago. I look at my little one. I think about young Butch, a kid long before the legend. I see him wandering out into the wild wind, just like we're doing this morning. I see him squinting into the long day, maybe looking for Indians.

Monica comes around the side of the cabin.

"Squaw," I whisper to Violet.

Each passing generation has their hardscrabble legends. And no daddy who ever held one of them in his arms ever dreamed that things would turn out the way they did, for better or for worse.

We all head back to the Honda. Two good dogs, two Un-Legends, and an adorable blank slate.

Me an Monica will probably never be legends. We'll likely never walk on Mars or sail around any capes in a dinghy. We probably won't star in any great film classics or discover any medical miracles this time around. And probably, we won't be hopping up on any teller's desk and firing a few rounds into the rough ceiling plaster just before we get handed the heavy sacks of glorious loot.

I strap the kid into her seat. She's so young, so small that the damn thing still faces the backseat. She lets go of a high pitch squeal as I strap her in. I smile at her. I push her button nose. Damn, anything's possible for you, I think to myself.

Then, I ponder it. The wild and wonderful trail ahead of her.

Take me with you, I whisper, all selfish and all.