The Sunburned Cowboy
by David Byron Queen
When I met the cowboy on the bus to Palm Desert, I had a few months sober still and life was open and full of possibility. This was 1995. Everything I owned was in a suitcase in the compartment above me—toothbrush, socks, underwear, jeans, t-shirts, a box of nicotine patches, my father’s meditation tape, a tambourine, and a 1971 Selmer Mark IV saxophone that had once belonged to my father in a plastic music case. I looked good. I’d shaved my beard, gotten myself a haircut, and wore a neat dark suit my father had given me around the time he left, told me to wear it one day at the start of my career. And well, it had taken longer than some but there I was.