Am I Smith or Jones?

by Michael Faia

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Smith: What happened out there in the water? Did this horse get away from you?

Jones: (expletive deleted—to read aloud, say things like “shee-ucks!”) The horse is on his own! Once he hits that water, I have nothin’ to do with him.

Smith: Is that right? That’s incredible. Seems like the other fellas stayed with their mounts, and it worked out a lot better.

Jones: I don’ know about that. My horse heads for that shoreline on ‘is own.

Smith: Wait a minute. You know this is very dangerous, right? If a couple a cowboys hadn’t grabbed those reins, we’d have had a few trampled folks out there.

Jones: Why the (expletive deleted) is it dangerous?

Smith: ’Cause you’ve got two or three dozen mommas down there along that riverbank, and they’ve got babies spread all around. You shouldda seen ‘em scatter, soon as those horses hit the water and yours got loose.

Jones: They don’t have to push up there on the banks like that.

Smith: But you know as well as I do, they’re gonna do that. It’s nice n’ cool. The bigger kids wade the shoreline from the start.

Jones: So what’s your point?

Smith: My point? My point is that if you’ve got two or three little stragglers out there, there gonna get crushed.

Jones: (expletive deleted)! They need to get outta the way.

Smith: Those babies are not gonna get outta the way! Their mommas can’t pick ‘em up that fast. You’re gonna have three dead babies out there, under your goddamn horse.

Jones: I don’t give a tin (expletive deleted). That’s their lookout.

Smith: The moms’ or the babies’? You don’t give a (expletive deleted) if your horse tramples three babies?

Jones: Right. I don’t give a good (expletive deleted). They know what’s comin’, and they have to get outta the way.

Smith: Wait a minute. Some family blows in here from Houston to do the big river festival, and they’re supposed to know they’ve gotta clear the river bank to make way for two-thousand pounds of mindless panic? Ain’t this a Chamber of Commerce float? Or barge, or whatever the hell it is?

Jones: Yeah. Chamber a Commerce. An’ I’ll tell you what to do, buster. Write a (expletive deleted) e-mail to the Chamber and tell ‘em about this problem. Make your point with them.

Smith: Do you get my point?

Jones: Yeah. I get your point. And I don’t give a (expletive deleted).

A hispanic woman about thirty, drinking coffee, beautiful, slowly approaches Jones. She speaks to him. With reverence.

Woman: This was one of the most thrilling moments I’ve ever known. It was awesome, magnificent, when those horses hit the water. I’ve never been so scared in my life. Or excited. It was totally unforgettable.

Smith: You were scared? Of what?

Woman (backing away): Listen! I’m sorry. I’m sorry, sir. No, no. I don’t want to get into this.

Smith: You ever been pregnant? Embarazada?

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Michael Faia has served as faculty member at various schools (California State University, University of Southern California, Tongan Royal Institute of Technology, University of Toronto (OISE), La Universidad Veracruzana, William & Mary, Whittier College, University of Wisconsin at Madison). His vita and many of his academic articles and books can be seen on his homepage. Faia's best known book is Dynamic Functionalism: Strategy and Tactics, Cambridge University Press; another volume of which he is proud is What''s Wrong with the Social Sciences?, Rowman & Littlefield. One of his better articles, "Three Can Keep a Secret If Two Are Dead"; (Quality & Quantity 34:193-216), predicted the size and structure of the terrorist cells of 9/11. Faia's most recent academic publications develop mathematical apps in the social sciences.

Faia's satirical articles appear occasionally in the Virginia Gazette. Liberation Ichthyology, a novella, appeared in 2009-10 in The Copperfield Review; see also, and learningace. In 2008 he finished a first novel, Pison; and in 2012 a second novel, Suicide FOR DUMMIES aka The Double Pendulum. (Liberation Ichthyology is a section of DUMMIES.)

Faia is now at work on a third novel, Retard Your Spark, Miss America. In a 2014 Glimmer Train competition, Chapter 9 of Retard received an honorable mention.

Faia insists that he will not be a short-order storyteller.


Happy Birthday Michael, only 20 days late! Victor David
Victor D. Sandiego, Jan 25, 2015
Nice compliment. Jan 5 is my birthday. m
Michael, Jan 25, 2015
Great story. Great recording. Enjoyed this dialogue immensely.
Sarah Rohrs, Jan 05, 2015