Known to all in Delroy Beach as Indigo Bob from the hit series Cowboy Cop, Barnum lost his battle to stomach cancer Wednesday morning, just three days shy of his 90th birthday. He is survived by his daughter Susan, 65, and wife Darline. A screening of Cowboy Cop will be held Saturday at the Fairgrounds Drive-In at the request of his surviving family.
There used to be a bitch that followed me around on my morning routines-a mix breed no doubt, brown coat and green eyes. She would chase behind me, wagging her tail, while I road my bicycle to the post office. Then I'd stop at the butcher and pick up some ground chuck and fifty cents of scraps that I would feed her. She'd stray about a block or so from my house on Shepard Road and would pick up where I left her the next morning.
I'd been living in my house for a little over a decade and couldn't for the life of me tell you what color it was, but it wasn't gray. I know it wasn't gray, not at first.
I grew to love the bitch like she was my own. I'd beg her to follow me home-I even bought three dollars of scraps for her one morning, but she left me at the same post like always.
Days would mesh together for me back then. My routine would keep me busy until I was ready to sleep at night, and I would always have trouble waking up the next morning. I felt busier with my routine than I did before I retired from the city. The only relief I'd get in the day was sitting with the bitch by the fountain in the park and feeding the pigeons the crusts from my ham spread sandwiches. That was only fifteen minutes of the day, mind you.
One morning I woke up and found my bike to be rusty. I think I would have remembered my bike rusting over time, but it seemed to have happened over night. It was hard to tell any difference between my bike and the dirty, rusted street lamp I had chained it to. I didn't let this disturb my morning, however, for I was only half awake, you see.
I pedaled past Plum Court and the bitch was missing, probably found something good to eat behind one of the dumpsters in the alley, I assumed. I found the post office to be deserted, save for a man mailing dozens of what looked like military uniforms. I bought my fifty cents of scraps from the butcher, but the bitch was not peeking her snout around any corner.
I attempted to go about my routine, which led me in purchasing an out-of-date newspaper, buying a half empty carton of eggs and vomiting after inhaling secondhand cigar smoke from a group of Irish mobster-types in the park.
I got home just after sunset. The street lamps had come on and I noticed the deep gray house. I don't remember my house ever being gray. Walking up the steps to the porch, I noticed a ball of raw flesh at my door-a disturbing sight of gore, regurgitated from the now gray walls of my house, it seemed. I flipped the corpse over to reveal the bitch's bright green eyes attempting to escape from a tiny exposed canine skull. The door smiled at me. It fucking smiled at me. And I began to bat it with a rolled up out-of-date newspaper. The door seemed to surrender and opened itself up for me, slamming it and claiming my left arm as I entered my domain.
The sun never came up the next morning, so I didn't bother riding up to the post office. The blood blanketing the hardwood floors began to shift the same rust color as the street lamps.