High Water, and Rising

by Dormouse

Fic:High Water, and Rising
Recipient:Adrian James
Song:"High Water" by Bob Dylan
Fandom:'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Word Count:540

So this was it. The end. Death had been chasing them for months, and now it had finally caught up. The reason Etta had left them after all their time together.

"I can do anything," she had said, "except watch you die." Sundance wondered if things would have turned out different had she met Butch first. Maybe she would have done better with Butch. Maybe Sundance would have done better with some other woman to dress his wounds, and dress up pretty for him.

Probably not, he decided, mere seconds later -- seconds were all they had left after all. Whichever of them she had chosen as hers, they would still have tumbled down the same path together sure as a flood will rise if it rains for long enough.

Like a flood spreading steadily across the plains, the law had slowly but surely drawn ever closer, until here he was, and here Butch was: rats in a trap, or outlaws in a shack. It was all one and the same. They would die here, together, the only thing Etta could not stomach staying for.

Sundance had no stomach for his own death either. Being shot hurt, but it was a hurt a man could get over. Being dead, well there was no coming back from that. No more Etta, no more Butch. A man needed to believe in the afterlife for those kinds of things and Sundance never believed in nothing unless he could hold onto it with his own two hands.

They had made it this far; they had to believe they could make it out the other side. Sundance looked at Butch, and saw that the other man was hurting as much as he was. But Butch had a line for every occasion, and arguing like old times made Sundance -- Butch too, he hoped -- feel like they were invincible once again.

Loading their guns seemed to take an age, fatigue rising up to claim them, threatening to drag them under its surface. Talking helped keep them alert, helped keep their minds off what was surely going to come next. Each gasp for air between muttered jibes filled Sundance's lungs with dust, the smell of cordite, blood and fear, then finally air. He was drowning, but he would keep his head above water for his partner until they went under together.

Sundance bound Butch's hand, almost as tenderly as Etta would have done. They needed both his hands functioning properly if they wanted to shoot their way out of this. They could not stay here much longer; they were surrounded, and the soldiers would not wait forever before smoking them out, or throwing in a stick or two of dynamite.

No, there was only one thing for it. Run to the horses, and hope against hope that fewer men waited out there than they could shoot or dodge. If their luck was in, they could ride off into the sunset. If not -- he would not think about 'if not'.

They nodded to each other, and set off running. Blue coats rose up like a flood come to claim them. High water everywhere.

His last thought, as the bullets hit, was that it had been one hell of a life.

High Water

Bob Dylan

      High water risin' -- risin' night and day
      All the gold and silver are being stolen away
      Big Joe Turner lookin' East and West
      From the dark room of his mind
      He made it to Kansas City
      Twelfth Street and Vine
      Nothing standing there
      High water everywhere
      High water risin', the shacks are slidin' down
      Folks lose their possessions - folks are leaving town
      Bertha Mason shook it -- broke it
      Then she hung it on a wall
      Says, "You're dancin' with whom they tell you to
      Or you don't dance at all."
      It's tough out there
      High water everywhere
      I got a cravin' love for blazing speed
      Got a hopped up Mustang Ford
      Jump into the wagon, love,
      throw your panties overboard
      I can write you poems,
      make a strong man lose his mind
      I'm no pig without a wig
      I hope you treat me kind
      Things are breakin' up out there
      High water everywhere
      High water risin', six inches 'bove my head
      Coffins droppin' in the street
      Like balloons made out of lead
      Water pourin' into Vicksburg,
      don't know what I'm going to do
      "Don't reach out for me," she said
      "Can't you see I'm drownin' too?"
      It's rough out there
      High water everywhere
      Well, George Lewis told the Englishman,
      the Italian and the Jew
      "You can't open your mind, boys
      To every conceivable point of view."
      They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway Five
      Judge says to the High Sheriff,
      "I want him dead or alive
      Either one, I don't care."
      High Water everywhere
      The Cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies
      I'm preachin' the Word of God
      I'm puttin' out your eyes
      I asked Fat Nancy for something to eat,
      she said, "Take it off the shelf --
      As great as you are a man,
      You'll never be greater than yourself."
      I told her I didn't really care
      High water everywhere
      I'm getting' up in the morning --
      I believe I'll dust my broom
      Keeping away from the women
      I'm givin' 'em lots of room
      Thunder rolling over Clarksdale,
      everything is looking blue
      I just can't be happy, love
      Unless you're happy too
      It's bad out there
      High water everywhere*