Melchior Diaz. The story of a man killed by a dog, a greyhound to be exact. The year, 1542. Melchior sets off west across the evil desert of death with twenty-five rejects from the army of Coronado (retreating south after the Death of the Moor) to meet up with Alarcon at the gulf of the Colorado. It’s winter, so presumably they took advantage of what little water is ever in the Cabeza and reached the Colorado, called the Firebrand. They meet giant Yumans, they presumably cross the great river and get to the Imperial Valley in California before turning around and fleeing East. They come to burning ground and heaving and smoking. A greyhound owned by one of the soldiers chases the herd of sheep that’s with them and Melchior, on horseback, at full speed, hurls a lance at the greyhound. It sticks in the desert and Melchior goes right into it, the horse being unable to stop in time. The back end of the spear punctures the conquistador bladder and the soldiers, fighting Yumans and probably Seri and maybe O’odhams all the way, carry him for twenty days until he dies.
Did they kill him and bury him somewhere near our Designer Border? Is he still there? Oona often paints the Ajo Mountains when we’re camped at Lone Ranger National Monument. One of the odd mountains in this painting is named Diaz Spire. Is the old dead Spaniard still out there?
The greyhound probably made it to Acapulco and his descendants are probably still there, racing probably, wearing tropical shorts and sunglasses and para-sailing or some damn thing. Doing the Macarena, probably.
Melchior is dust, one way or another.