I shot mah accountant in the belly and spat at him as he slumped over in guffawing agony, an insofar as I can tell (now, know I'm not a gentleman given to the common pitfall of exaggeration), that was the most Goddamn blessedly wonderful day of mah whole durn life. It hit me that he was needless drag, dead weight that mah hoss was plum tarrd of pullin. I walked right into his buildin, past the purty girl who barked as I sauntered in and again as I kicked down his office door, and he stood right up like a target in a shootin range. I ain't much fer wastin words so I jus sent the slug right into his guts, spat, and left. Warn't suprised much when no one tried to stop me.

Course the lady warn't much pleased when I came back home an tolder to pack a week's clothes. I tolder, "We need to lie low," an she said, "Hon, what are you gabbin about?" so I showed her mah irons and tolder what I had gone off an done. Such a ruckus I ain't never seen before or since. She was really up an catty, throwin her weddin ring, sayin things bout mah kinfolk that'd make a rattlesnake wimper. I let her get out all her energy, all that anger one could expect from hearin news like I brought, jus bein reasonable bout things, then I tolder, "Woman, I love you more'n I can bear sometimes, but if y'ain't with me on this one, I gotta shoot you an be on mah way."

Knowin how fragile womenfolk can be, I went over an gave her a reassuring clap on the shoulder with mah free hand. It must've been a powerful hard time for her, cause she jus crumpled and cried at that. Now, no man in possession of a right thinkin mind can bear the sight of his woman in the grips of a hysterical fit, so I stowed mah weapon an helpter to the kitchen an a glass of water. Mah woman is a rock. She was cryin as I brought it to her lips, gaspin as she took it, settled by the time she set it down. She almost made me bust into tears, an truer words ain't likely to be heard from this mouth again.

Baby packed in silence, sendin me little death stabs with her eyes. I know I'm in the doghouse, but that stare don't make the stay unpleasant. Her little lips peep peeped as her suitcase shut, I grabbed mah rucksack an spurs from the closet, an we were down the stairs. By the front door, I grabbed her arm and whispered in her delicate ear, "Donchu be screamin. We're in this together," but as soon as we're outside she broke plum free of mah grip an ran right toward our dadgum neighbor, Alfred Bunsen. Now, I'm quicker on the draw than she is on the holler, so by the time she got to the point of yellin, "Hostage!" Al Bunsen was dead by my hand. She halted right in her purty little steps an stood gulpin at the air like a mermaid. I watched her as she spun screamin in the sunlight an blessed the good Lord for lettin me live long enough to see her there right then. Were it not for mah overwhelming sense of decency, I would've made her my woman right there on our front lawn, but we were runnin against a clock an the troublesome arm of the law, so I took her elbow an showed her to mah Chevrolet.

Baby didn't holler no more after that, but she warn't talkin to me neither. Normally that woulda broken mah poor heart, but warn't no use to bother bout it while I had a fair night of drivin ahead of me. She was happy jus starin out the window an clawing at the seat. I'd breathe deep an announce, "Darlin, don't worry your pretty head. We'll be fine," or somethin to that effect, she'd stay rooted down, jaw clenched, angel face turned away. Hours of silence as we tooled up to Montana an all she ever uttered was, "I'm hungry," so I pulled over at the next fast food restaurant and ordered us up some burgers with cheese. The meal was in our hands quick as a wink, but I didn't have enough cash to cover our spread, so I drew mah pistol and freed myself from my monetary obligation. I watched the girl at the window reel at the shoulder an fly back against the stacks of cups an french fried potater cartons an I put mah boot down an took off. Mah belle huddled in the corner of the truck, golden hair broken into strands in front of her face. I pulled back onto the freeway and handed mah honey a burger. "Here ya go, pearl," but she didn't take it until a couple miles later. Mah guess is she was savoring the tension and overwhelmin oddity of the moment.

Warn't much longer after her stomach was full when she opened her mouth to break the silence, but damn mah dead grandfather if it warn't nothin but conjecture and venom that came out. She was comin across caterwaul, all in with, "What the hell is goin on in that fool brain of yours? You can't just fucking shoot people!" I raised a hand from the steering wheel and slammed it back down to quiet her and get mah piece in. I said to her, "Honeyblossom, I got me a gun and a bad itch that keeps it from restin long in its holster. I been denying mah murderous side ever since I met you, but ain't got no reason to keep it down any longer. Our world keeps wearing me down, and I ain't gonna let it step on me with accountants an grocery clerks an politicians an the rest of its arsenal of backstabbers an armadilla roadblocks. Baby, I am a gun."

It tooker this long to push away her hair and reveal her babydoll face. I still saw scorn iner eyes, but a soul couldn't deny that it was a scorn fueled by a high pile of concern. Now, I'm no dummy. When that look comes across a woman's face, it's time to cool yer britches and take note of what she's tryn to say. So she spoke, "Jedahmir, I know you got a good heart inya, butcha can't go round killin folk indiscriminate like. The world ain't like that. It's goin gainst God's ways, an sooner or later yer gonna havta own up to Him."

Now, I ain't one ta claim ta know the eternal design, philosophizin as a body might call it, but this is what I tol her. I says, "Peachpie, our Lord an Creator has a much better grip on the lives of everybody on Earth than you're willin to give Him credit for. An even if I am dealin Him a couple cards a little earlier in the game than He first anticipated, I've been assured by many church goin folk that He is wise enough to let a souler two ta slip inta heaven before their previously appointed times. Hell, they might even be able to hold the gate fer their kinfolk. I know I'd do the same for you, Sugarcomb."

When I talk of heaven, eternal rest an bliss an the choir an all, I know that it must all sound like her voice, even if I don't like what she's sayin. "I ain't holdin the gate for you, Jedahmir, less you stop killin folk all impulsive. It ain't a behavior fit fer a human bein." An that was that, a woman's final say. I decided right then and there yes, once again, it was time to take a good long rekkinin at mah life, evaluate mah decisions.

A man can't make decisions of import on the move jus like a hoss can't run a day on an empty stomach, so I settled into a Texaco up the road in Cody an tol mah sweetmeat, "Now, purty, you sit here while I go contemplatin an gettin gas," but she did somethin tricky with her eyes an lips an breathed through her teeth in the sound of mah name an I knew, like I was gettin a premonitin ora holy vision or somat, she was gonna ask me to leave mah irons behind. Under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn't have a problem with this request, so I did somethin a body might call dirty or underhanded, but wholly necessary to keeping mah control on the situation an preservin a sense of trust with mah life partner. It warn't no big thing, jus removed the three bullets from mah six shooter an kept em hid in mah pocket so as she wouldn't accidentally get the rekkinin of takin our situation to a more drastic state. I gaver mah pistol and good blessins, then set mah spurs to the gravel an walked into the general store.

Don't get me wrong. I ain't proud to be the kind of man who would force his woman a bum hand jus ta save his sorry hide. I ain't prouda mah actions that day, but I'm livin with them, they's my responsibility to account for. I knew the course of events on this long road would stray towards difficult decisions, an I knew I was a damn fool to inflict mah woman with mah murderous sensibilities. All in all, though, I should've expected that angel to double cross me worse'n I did her. Lookin outside the gas station, I noticed she had attracted the attention of a highway patrolman. His sunfried bulk was leanin into the bed of mah truck, an I screamed an dropped mah Clark bar to draw from mah shoulder before the cop could gofer his, but Bessie noticed an was outta the car an between us quicker than a jackalope.

The cop had froggy eyes that bugged out all fierce as he shouted, "Ma'am, step aside!" and then the world took a sharp breath, like it had been poked in the dark with a brandin iron. Trees stopped movin to take note of what was occurin, an I have a specific recollection that all sound dropped but a straining rasp through mah throat as I took in some air. In the span of everythin slowin down an all, I noticed a tear on her cheek as she raised mah gun wither finger on the trigger. I took dead aim through mah woman, busy fightin to keep her stance between myself and the pohliceman, an said to her, "Bessamin, be a darlin an put in a good word for me with Peter."

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