The Ramingo’s Porch – “Five Finger Discount” And “The Three Bears” By Catfish McDaris


Five Finger Discount

Nasty Jack was a greaseball biker
from near the Mexican border, he
got his name from his Levis being
so stiff, he could stand them up in
the corner awaiting his reentrance

He was always working on Indians
and Harley Davidsons, occasionally
he applied his magic to four-wheel ve-
hicles, but he preferred the freedom
of riding in the wind, unless he was

Pulling a big shoplifting job requiring
a crew to cart away the stolen goodies,
his hands were invisible fast, I worked
with him a few times as a distraction
man or driver, Jack knew no fear

I’d entered stores with him and never
seen anything, outside he’d unload
eight huge Porterhouse steaks, three
bottles of Heinz 57 and he’d grab a
rack of fifty packs of Marlboros

Situated right in front of the checker,
he once walked away with two dollies
of booze, one had nine cases of Corona
and the other had top shelf tequila and gin

We never knew what Jack would show
up with next, but he never came home
empty-handed, he wrote a note goodbye and
said forget about being thieves, he was going
fishing at Boca Chica where the Rio Grande
flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.


The Three Bears

A ferocious bear jumped out of a tree onto Quick’s shoulder, he was riding Brown Hand his Comanche horse. Quick tried to sling the bear off, but its claws were sunk into his shoulders. If the bear got its teeth into his neck, that would be all she wrote. Brown Hand bucked against a big fir tree and his dog, Killer a scrawny black mutt was able to distract the bear enough, so Quick could get to his knife. He had a long-wicked razor-sharp blade, he slipped into the bear’s mouth before it could make an omelet of his brains. Quick cut the bear open all the way down its chest, a wolverine jumped out of its guts. It tried to rape Killer, Quick pulled his hog leg and emptied 44’s into its eyeballs. There was a creek nearby, so he could get moss and medicinal plants for a poultice for their wounds. Quick was just happy Brown Hand and Killer weren’t injured too seriously. That night they ate bear and wolverine stew. Brown Hand had some grain and wild apples. Two days later, another bear leaped from a tree, Brown Hand must’ve smelled him. She reared her front hooves high into the air and knocked the bear into a swamp. Killer and Quick looked on as a herd of alligators swarmed that bear like angry cannibal flies. In moments it was just a pile of fur and blood. A week later they made it to the Porcupine Mountains and another bear leaped from a tree. Quick, Brown Hand, and Killer were tired of bears attacking. Quick was ready to murder this bear, when the bear started talking. It said, “Please kind sir don’t kill me, I am really a beautiful woman. A witch put a spell on me, turning me into a bear. If you kiss me I can turn back into a lady and I will grant you three wishes. Plus, I’ll be your sex slave forever. What do say?” Quick thought why not. He kissed the bear and waited for the transformation. The bear changed into a blonde lady with sparkling blue eyes, but she kept growing and growing. Soon she was a giant, she bent down and crushed and swallowed Brown Hand, Killer, and Quick. Then she turned into an aardvark and disappeared into the forest.


Catfish McDaris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1953. After 3 years serving in the military as a young man, he hopped freights and hitchhiked across the U.S. and Mexico. He built adobe houses, tamed wild horses, made cattle troughs, worked in a zinc smelter, and painted flag poles. In 1994, he organized a charity event of poetry and music in Milwaukee, called Wordstock. During the same year, he also read at The First Underground Press Conference at De Paul University in Chicago. In 1998, he read at a Beatnik festival held near Allen Ginsberg’s farm. His last collection of poems “Ghosts of the War Elephants” was published by Concrete Mist Press.

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