Black Friday

The town was El Paso, the store Toys ‘R’ Us;
The day was Black Friday; the place was abuzz
When Cisco Romero bust out the saloon,
His target the toy store. The time was high noon.

“Rodriguez!” he yelled, as he kicked in the door,
“I heard what y’r up to, y’ son of a whore!
One Game Boy, in all this yere cow town, ain’t sold!
She’s mine: put ’r down, if y’ wanna grow old!”

The bellow so terrified moms and their kids,
They might have been Moors and the bellow El Cid’s;
They dove through the windows, or shrank out the back,
Till no one was left, not a single man-jack,

But one—Elberardo Rodiguez himself.
With Game Boy in hand and his back to a shelf,
He stood there undaunted, then hawked up and spat
A gobbet of mucous as black as his hat.

“You want ’m?” he said, with a curl of his lip
And eased, in its holster, the gun at his hip:
“Come get ’m.”…  And then, said the sheriff’s report
(Or so wrote a cub, who was there in the court)

The lead started flying, and when it had flown
There wasn’t a Barbie (said owner Ramon),
A ball or a bike, or a bit of décor
That wasn’t in pieces all over the floor,

And as for those Cain-raising, bad-ass galoots
They lay in a blood-puddle, dead as Paiutes,
As Indians killed in a video game,
And that’s how Black Friday lived up to its name.

[Based on a toy-store shootout on Nov 28, 2008, in Palm Desert,
California, which ended in the deaths of both gunslingers.  Black
Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving, is called so by retailers,
because they sell enough to go from the red into the black.]

—Peter Austin, Toronto, Ontario