Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Friend of the Devil," where "O Brother Where Art Thou" meets "Last Temptation of Christ."

Finally, I’ve had enough. I toss the broken rifles aside and just stand there trying to catch my breath. That’s when I hear the music playing. It’s coming from a radio inside the store; one of those hillbilly family quartets they have singing on the border blaster:

Just a few more weary days and then,
I’ll fly away, fly away
To the land where joys will never end,
I’ll fly away, fly away.
I’ll fly away, O Glory,
I’ll fly away.
When I die, halleluiah by and by,
I’ll fly away, fly away. makes me happy that while time might be standing still here, somewhere down in sunny Mexico reality goes on just like it always does. It also makes me suspect that this is all very local and temporary and might end any moment so I’d better get a move on, so I go to the gas pump and fill up. Then I run into the store and fill a bag with apples, soda crackers, a loaf of sliced bread and a big piece of ham, then carry them back to my car and load them into the back seat.

I’m about to start up the engine and go, when I look at Hamer and decide I still need to finish the job. So I go back, reach into his jacket and remove his billfold, which is bulging with ones and fives. I can use those. Then I notice he’s got a shoulder holster and a big pistol riding inside it. I reach in and take it out. It’s a beauty, all right; a .45 caliber, single action Colt, silver plated. On the side of it I see inscribed, “Capt. Frank Hamer, State Ranger. Presented by the citizens of Corpus Christi, 7-22-22.”

I decide Imo keep it for myself. But because it wouldn’t do without I let him in on who done this particular deed, I extract the pencil and notepad he’s got in his pocket and I write him a little note.

“Dear Capt. Hamer, I could have killed you now, but, unlike you, that’s not how I operate. I haven’t done anything wrong, I’m not part of Clyde Barrow’s outfit and don’t intend to join. But if you keep bothering with me, by God, I shall kill you with your own pistol.”

And I sign it, “Very truly yrs, Herbert T. Barrow.”

I stick this back inside his holster, then head back to my car and drive away.
(Excerpt from Friend of the Devil, available on Kindle here).

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