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Monday, January 4, 2016

LIFE WITH THE SIX GUN (Fiction)


LIFE WITH THE SIX GUN  (Fiction and all here)

I begin a new Series of Continued Stories.
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My mother objected with my playing with a six gun at an early age. I couldn’t pull the trigger early on but would put the barrel in my mouth to chew on while my early teething was occurring.  She named me Louis but always called me Little Lou.

My father had a lot of guns around the house for he was the sheriff and he kept the guns he took off drunken cowboys.  There was a gambler he caught cheating who had a derringer that he brought home, and when I saw it I claimed it for my own.

So from the time I was three I had as my most prized possession, “my derringer.”

I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to take it out and fire it. My pa once caught me putting bullets in it and tanned my hide as well as jarring the earth with that big voice of his. I feared his pronouncements far more than his giving me the strap.

He never took the bullets away from me he just put them on the mantel where they could still be seen. Even with them within my reach I never touched them until one day much later he took me shooting.

He had bought me a small caliber six gun which cause me to lose much of my interest in the derringer. He loaded it (the derringer) and let me see what it was like to shoot it but I wanted a real gun you carried on your hip and not something you hid away.

Pa said I would be far better off learning to fish than shooting a gun but even after that he spent more time teaching me to shoot than taking me fishing.

Most of my early training was spent on learning how not to shoot myself or something else, like our dog or a pig.

Don’t shoot around the house or barn and also nowhere you can’t see where the bullet might go. By following Pa’s early training by the age of twelve I never either wounded or killed anything I didn’t intend to.  (The thing that happened at the jail didn’t count). Perhaps I should explain that cause it wasn’t really my fault.  

I liked to spend time at the jail where I would look at the wanted posters and pin a deputy badge on my shirt.  My ma would swat me for making holes in my shirt but since she didn’t whup me like pa it was worth the doing of it.

But anyway I was about six years old and alone in the jail with only one prisoner in the cells.  This supposedly bad man was saying some bad things to me while I was playing as I always did. I just ignored most of his talk until he said some nasty things about my ma.

I told him to take it back but he just said some worst things. I knew he wouldn’t have said them if my pa was there for Pa would have fixed him where he couldn’t talk. I would have left, cept Pa said not to stir from the jail till he returned.

I had my derringer with me and I told the bad man to shut up and I wasn’t going to tell him again to which he lit in once more with his filthy talk about my ma.

Things aren’t too clear about what happened next for I was madder than I had ever been.

I went to where the prisoner was and pulled out my gun and shot him through the ear while grazing his cheek. He started cursing me and I parted his hair with the second bullet.
 
While I was reloading he suddenly shut up and when I took aim at his knee cap he began begging me not to shoot him again. He crawled under the bed in the cell and continued to beg. I told him to say some more nasty stuff about my ma as I aimed at his side.

My pa had come in and heard me goading the bad man telling him to continue to speak against my ma.  Pa took my gun away from me and the man come out from under the bed and started cursing me.

My pa opened the cell and checked the man over and punched him in the mouth. When the man came to Pa said, “Now tell me what you said about my wife?”

The man was shaking and wet himself. He was begging before but now he was pleading for his life.  Pa gave him a very hard kick in his rear and told him to leave town and never come back. Oh yes he smashed the man’s gun hand and said this will keep him from getting his nerve back in case he finds a bottle.

After this disturbance was over my pa just stared at me for some time. Since he didn’t say anything I’m not sure what he was thinking but I think he was evaluating what had happened and what I had done and what action he should take concerning me.

Finally he said it’s time for your supper so you better head home and leave that badge here. I never thought much about what I had done for it was done in anger but I determined that no one could talk about my ma the way he did without suffering some consequences.

Our town wasn’t as rowdy as Dodge City or Coffeyville or some of the other towns but my pa had to settle a fight now and then.  He taught me there were a few things to watch out for.  Most of them were associated with the saloon.

He said stay away from the saloon and you will avoid most of the problems of life. Later I come to understand he was right on that one.  He said gambling, drinking, wild women, and harboring old grudges are the source of most of the beatings and killing in most towns.

He said half of the time some innocent person catches the brunt of the altercations.  Since we were not a rail head we didn’t have the influx of trail herds coming to our town but once a month cowboys get paid and come to town to blow off steam.  On those times my pa had a couple of part time deputies available. The worst that usually happens is a fight between two or more drunks where the bartenders breaks it up with a club he keeps behind the bar.

It has happened where the damages cost the cow hands to lose three months’ wages to pay for the damages they caused.  No rancher wants to hear that his hands have made a fool of themselves.

Like most cow towns we had the saloon gals but most card sharks didn’t last but a day or two at most.  My pa couldn’t stand cheats of any sort and sent them on their way after teaching them a couple of lessons on honesty. The lessons usually consisted of several days of hard labor with the proceeds going to the injured party.

During planting and harvest times pa was especially alert for any infractions of the law.

I heard him say one time; “cheats serve some good purpose.” That was when the harvest season was over and the prisoners were released. I thought the saloon gals were pretty but as I grew up I realized it was the makeup that caused them to stand out.

That and the fact most of the country women didn’t use anything but a little face powder and not very often did they do that.

I was around twelve when I became aware of how ugly some of them were. The saloon owners would get a fresh crop of them in every so often.  Being the sheriff’s kid they all soon knew who I was and teased me unmercifully. They would say things like; come on up to my room, I’m so lonely or it’s time for you to become a man.

It embarrassed me something awful for I knew what they were hinting at. They kept it up till I had enough. I went into the saloon and told the one that had been ragging on me the most and said, “I am ready let’s go.”

The whole saloon became quiet. No one was making a sound till the bar man said. “Alright kid get out of here now.”

The gal was ashen white for they all knew what my pa would do to them if it went any further. He would have run every one of the out of town and smashed the saloon to pieces.  That was the last teasing I received from the saloon bunch. Once in a while I would see one of them on the street and they would say; hello Mr. Louie and give a smile as they passed.

Pa told the town council he was going to quit unless they hired a full time deputy. He wanted to be at home more than he had been. I think he wanted to spend more time with my ma. She was a little over thirty and he was under forty so they were still pretty lively.

Every so often they would tell me to go over and visit a girl near us named Marsha. I would stay for an hour and then leave. I visited Marsha quite a bit over the years.  Her folks didn’t seem to mind but whispered to themselves and grinned a lot for some reason.  Marsha was a pleasant young girl and we talked about a lot of things when together. As we grew up our conversation became more grown up and we talked about stuff that boys usually talked about. As it turned out she was my best friend for we were comfortable with one another.

When we were almost finished with high school there were a number of other boys visiting her and I must admit I didn’t like it. I knew I was destined for college and there wasn’t anything I could do about taking the next step in our friendship. I wanted to forget about college but my ma wasn’t having any part of that.

I usually held hands with Marsha but hadn’t really tell her of my deeper feelings for her.  Finally it came to the place where I couldn’t hold back any longer but whereas we had always been able to talk about anything I couldn’t get the words to come out.

I managed to get started and I told her I loved her. I almost choked as the words came out. After I got my breath I said I wanted to marry her but my future education was a hurdle to get over.

She wasn’t making it any easier for she just stared at me. “Well say something,” I almost shouted. She said, “You know you are like a brother and you haven’t kissed me or anything.”

I said, “That can change in a second.”

She still looked at me so I took her and kissed her more times than I could count. She really looked shocked at that show of emotion.

She laughed and said, “You are beginning to seem less like a brother all the time maybe you should work on it some more.”

After that afternoon I was a different man. Those repressed feeling once let loose changed our world.

We went to my house just as my pa came home and we told Ma and Pa we wanted to marry as soon as we graduated.

They weren’t as shocked as we thought they would be.

Pa said, “What about school?”

I said, “Nothing has changed about that I will go and get my degree.”

I said, “Marsha will live here and I will come home when I can for the school isn’t far from here. Marsha will work in her folks store and I will get me a job near the college.”

Ma said, “What if she gets in, you know the family way?”

I said, “You will have a grandchild to love and help care for.”

Ma smiled and said, “Well that will be alright.”

We got a bigger response out of her folks when we told them of our plans. Her father teased me saying; “I thought we were going to get rid of you when you went to college.”

We were married as soon as we finished High school and in my second year at college we had our first child. We moved to the big city upon my graduation and I got a good position where I could support my growing family. It was growing by number and by age.

We go and see the folks as often as we can. My pa will soon retire from being sheriff and my ma will be glad of that. She was afraid he would get shot by some drunk but she under estimated how smart he was.

My story isn’t what you might call exciting. Some of the stuff I left out would have juiced it up a bit but I’m glad it was the way it was for who needs all the disappointment and struggles of people with exciting stories to tell.

Finis
This post is shared at “Tell Me a Story.”

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Robert for sharing your story with us here at Tell me a Story. I am glad the boy was not you.! LOL I did enjoy his adventures at the jail with his Dad and the bad man.

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  2. When I was a kid, back in 1950-ish time, I knew much of the gun situations. My dad did it a lot in southern Washington and a bit even in Tacoma, usually shooting animals in the local area. I've never been an anti-gun person. Unfortunately, here in Omaha, there have been many shooting to hurt and many murdering, and, since I'm involved with the group that prays for the murder families and the area prayer-walking situation, guns are dangerous. I'm still not anti-gun as often, b/c other things are used as the murder sites and the hurting situations. Anyhow, being careful and watching strongly is the important issue re: the hatefulness of people, the sinfulness from people is worth praying and focusing strongly. Thank you.

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