In the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada the Manson family made its final stand
In the Panamint Valley, Lucy, Charlie, and Sally watched the rangers climb the canyon while they boarded up the ranch

Now Chuck, he hid his body in a vanity in the girls' room
While Lucy spraypainted paintings hanging in the air
And Sally got the rifle with the bullets they'd been saving
And shouted to the sheriff that he damn well better beware

The way the colors hung in the sunlight choked Sally's lungs and stung her eyes, and she saw blurred in the floating haze, in a delicate vase, a single flower
While she fixed upon it, a bullet breached her bonnet
Sharp and sirening colors mixed into her morningbloom vision
A too-bright light casting a shadow across a statue to the bower
It seemed to Sally that a solemn-faced legion of conscripts drug from graves was marching up from hell's prison

She cackled to the posse "Come, man, to meet thy doom!", then she noticed her bonnet on the floor with a piece of her ear stuck to it and she decided to strike a match to the curtains of the room
Turning to the window, Sally saw the grey men below
Held the gaze of a nervous lad and glad of her tidings to his foolish heart she set the house to ruin deftly, grinning at the kid with what of her mouth was left

Lucy saw Sally's brains burst through the shimmer of glinting paint droplets she was watching form and transform into a thousand of the windward valleys the mountains love dearer, each a home to a family singing, as they labored through the days, songs with love and sorrow embracing ever realer into life
She watched the pieces of her estranged personfriend hurtle through a hearthglown paintfamily's dinner at the table, the old man speaking the Grace as a chunk of matter scattered the fumes he knew to be his little one's cradle, and his wife
Lucy hit the button on the can, and watched the mist reveal another woman, child, and man, soon to be another strife

She was now aware of, shining through the haze, a mightier world in its revealing
Sally's curtain fire was spitting flames into the ceiling
What's that? A man, a figure in the fire, flung a hand to the idly spraying can, which ate the devil greedily
And Lucy's hand was off her speedily

Charlie shook behind the little flower-covered door
His knees ridiculously close to his eyeballs
The faintly smelling smoke which reached into his cabinet was soon followed by the snap and scream of an exploding aerosol can in a hand now quite poor to look at
And really, he was growing a bit bored, squeezed into a tiny space with nothing but bottles of sodium laureth sulfates and propylene glycols to look at

So he bolted through the bathroom window saying prayers in backwards english for all the spirits of, and soon to be committed to, the house
He called down rain upon the valley
Thought to climb a tree to dwell among the clouds, perhaps befriend an Eagle or a Mouse
Listened to Lucy calling out to Sally

Now the sheriff's ashen lad sees Manson on his knees and chanting
Eyes uncorked and seeming to spill soul or sweat or semen down his cracking cheek
Jaw like a jackhammer pounding teeth to crumbles in his ranting
The kid says, "good God what a dear week I have had-o."

In the rain shadow
of the Sierra Nevad-o

(an historical confabulation)

brian brock, dec 2016