Why Did I Write The Reckoning?
In an article published in Saddlebag Dispatches, and my last blog post, I explored the fast draw in the old west, or modern times. Sometimes, folks shade the truth a bit. In modern times, history is written by media—be it television, movies, You Tube, or whatever. So we get their version. Some are accurate—some are not.
It’s easy to say something never happened in a particular way, or folks just didn’t do that. The stylized gunfight with two adversaries squaring off in the middle of the street may have happened a few times. But why? To see who’s the better man? I don’t like your hat? Yo mamma wears combat boots? Why would they do that? Pride? Fair Play? Um… I don’t think so.
The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his. General Patton.
The Reckoning shows another version of the gunfight. When Billy Tyler walks into a saloon looking for his brother and finds Tom had been dead a week, he really didn’t know what to do or how to act. He’d buried his pa about the same time a maniacal sheriff murdered his brother. A dusky temptress holds his hand and a sheriff demands he come outside for a shootout. He may be country poor and shy on book learning, but wasn’t about to be stampeded into a fight on someone else’s terms. Or, be another notch on a gunman’s pistol.
The Reckoning is a compilation of short stories about people you might know—just down the lane, and as real as I can make them. You can laugh, or maybe bust a tear or two—but you’ll finish. Enjoy!
Comanche Moon is a rollicking story of a marshal on the hunt. When he stops to rescue a fair maiden, he gets more than he bargained for. A lot more.
He shook his head in wonder. “So, they killed everyone and took you captive?”
“Oh, hell no. While the warriors were trying to decide what to do about their fallen chief, those four-flushin tinhorns and wannabe bad men jumped on the stage and tore out of there like their tails were on fire, leavin me standing with my petticoats flappin in the wind. It was a might awkward.”
Latigo Jones – a sheriff with a conscience.
He stared at me a long moment, trying to catch my gaze. “That killin really got to you, didn’t it?”
“Why’d he do it, Mac?” I stared into my coffee cup, but found no answers. “There was no reason for him to grab that gun. None at all.”
Red Headed Trouble – One redhead is enough, but six of them?
I’ve seen some mad women in my short life, they tend to get that way around me, but I thought this one was going to blow up. She stood staring at me, with her fingers doing a little drumbeat on the butt of her pistol. I thought she was going to drag iron and I had a queasy feeling in my gut wondering what I’d do if she did, but instead she grabbed that paper and wrote on it.
I pulled it to me and turned it around so I could read it. I could feel my face turning red. Young ladies, and I always assumed lady unless proven otherwise, just didn’t talk that way in my neck of the woods. And, I wasn’t sure what she suggested was physically possible.
Who Shot Jesus? Alone. Freezing. Starving. Their mama dead in the next room.
The shaky, high-pitched voice came again. “Mama said Jesus would come to save us.”
I turned to see a miniature version of the dead woman. She looked to be about five years old, dressed like the boy in every stitch of clothing they could find. Tears coursed down her cheeks. Then whatever was left of my heart—she stomped on it.
“You took your sweet time getting here.”