Juan del Llano & the Varmints of Doom

It was a sharp, disgusting late winter day. Juan del Llano stared through the window at bare tree branches waving in the wind: heavy, dull clouds had eaten the mountaintops, leaving nothing for him. The next thing you know, it’ll start snowing, he thought to himself, and of course it did.

For the next 20 minutes it snowed like the end of the world, a howling sideways barrage that fell into great swirling clumps where the wind broke over trees and houses. In 10 minutes the bare clay patio was covered in white. Pure as the driven snow, he grimaced, knowing it would soon melt into mud for tracking through the house, never mind how happy the tulips he hadn’t watered yet would be.

The snow subsided. He opened the front door to check for damage. Not much, but the stones were slushy wet, the icy, humid air straight out of his past. Goddamn March! It had been a week of blows no one would understand, least of all himself, devoid of honor.

goddamn March

Surely there must be someone else to kick. He realized he’d have to walk out to the woodpile later in the slop and cursed his self-drawn fate: the mud, the debt, his belly fat. Whatever wouldn’t let him die in peace he’d never known.

Returning to his desk, he spent the next two hours composing and recomposing a long and evil email message to an idiot of a client, the only one who’d ever paid him without bitching. Worthless dreck, he muttered inwardly. Restrictors of freedom. Placental scavengers. Ignorance incarnate! Slashing his own throat was how the game was played, yet somehow this made him feel better for a while. So good, in fact, that in the end he never hit the “Send” button.

The weasels chewing on his tender parts looked up briefly, panting through yellowed fangs, and then resumed their feasting (though with lessened appetite). Filthy geriatric ominvores, he groused. Maybe if he fed them scraps of recognition, they would curl up in the pockets of his hand-me-down soul, and he could buy a new one.

After all, he did like the way their little pink tongues trembled, steaming in the chill.

John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • Number 6 March 8, 2011, 3:19 PM

    so when can we expect the debut album from Juan del Llano and the Varmints of Doom? with a name like that you gotta start a band!

    “The weasels chewing on his tender parts looked up briefly, panting through yellowed fangs, and then resumed their feasting…”
    you should try to get Ralph Steadman to illustrate that! 😉

    • JHF March 8, 2011, 3:38 PM

      Oh, I have a million band names. I was Johnny & the Zoo Pilots for a time, then just the Zoo Pilots. Played all of one official gig and a few informal ones. The summer before last with Los Changos del Mar was the real deal, though. We were rockin’.

      As for the post title as a band name, that’s cool, but just plain Varmints of Doom or even the Doom Varmints might be better. With the former, you could have T-shirts with a big “VD” printed on them. 🙂

      • Number 6 March 9, 2011, 1:33 PM

        yeah! now THAT’s Rock’N’Roll!!!
        or even better (or worse, depending how you look at it), call the band Doom Varmints of Damnation Alley, then the t-shirts could have “DVDA” in big letters 😉 (look it up on urbandictonary.com if you have to; though the South Park guys already used that gag in an early episode.)

  • Ken Webb March 9, 2011, 5:17 AM

    Good luck to ole Juan in buying a new soul, but souls don’t come off the rack and never come hand-me-down. They’re custom-made through all the phases of the individual’s one and only life, not least in his humiliation and tribulation, hardly ever in cheering moments, fleeting as these are. No, they’re battered into shape “in the smithy of the heart”, a fiery furnace if ever there was one. –Still, Juan’s a pretty interesting case, showing his wouunds as he drags his carcase around the daily grind, waiting for splendor to arrive. The guy knows how to write, which makes all the difference. Reminds me quite a lot of some distinguished literary precursors like Dostoevsky’s Underground Man. Let’s have more of him, please.

    • JHF March 9, 2011, 9:22 AM

      ‘Tis the weasels one should worry about. They need their own pen. 🙂

      • Ken Webb March 9, 2011, 4:47 PM

        Those cartoonish weasels might just be Juan’s excuse for bad behavior. Lets him off the hook – it’s not me, just them wascally weasels gnawing on me. Juan was closer to the truth, I thought, when he “cursed his self-drawn fate”. A nice irony, that. We call the way we are fate, but we have drawn it ourselves.

  • Joseph March 9, 2011, 10:37 AM

    I recommend Milk of Magnesia.

{ 7 comments… add one }

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