January 6

Posted on: January 7, 2013

After we had our morning coffee and toast, I excused myself to retrieve something from the back room.  I handed John a long Styrofoam box.

“I’m correcting an oversight,” I smiled.

He laid the box on the kitchen table and undid the tape, to reveal an AR15, packed in original grease, still wrapped in plastic.  He looked like a kid being handed the keys to the candy store.

“You’ll have to clean it up of course, but considering yesterday, I think we should have the heavier fire power, don’t you?”

While John clean the rifle, I worked at putting a casserole together in an aluminum disposable dish; my last.  I cooked up some macaroni, drained a jar of turkey soup, adding the turkey to the dish, plus a spoonful of dried onion, dried celery and dried green peppers, knowing they would rehydrate while heating.  I poured some of the soup back in to help rehydrate those veggies, a dollop of mayo, stirring it all up and topped it with some of Jacob’s American cheese, and covered it with foil.

John leaned over my shoulder, “looks good, when’s dinner?”

“This one is for Donna.  What to take a quick trip with me?”


Not only was Donna home, but so was Paul, which surprised me.  He was sporting a sling, she was limping; I almost chuckled, though it wasn’t the least bit funny.  They were both in good spirits, but also pissed off; this was a good sign.

“Paul,” John had this calming effect on people, it was that soft accent, “can you shed any light on who shot you?”

“Not at all.  Once I saw Donna there I knew I was good.  Vince was a bonus; you were right about him, Deborah,” Paul directed that last at me; I nodded. “Anyway, my attention was drawn to Beamer and Billy.  I didn’t see anything.  But they definitely pulled a .38 out of me.  Not something we use anymore, only .357’s.  And the shotguns,” he smiled at his wife of many years.

“I’ve got a question that’s been puzzling me, Paul, please don’t be offended.”  He just nodded for me to go on.  “But I’m wondering, considering the scope of the offenses, why didn’t you execute Billy right away?  Obviously, that’s what the town folk expected, or they wouldn’t have confronted you yesterday.  Way out here we’re in a ‘wild west’ situation, and very much on our own.  No one has questioned the Hapson situation, have they?  It was justified.  Wouldn’t it also have been justified to terminate Billy?”

There was a long pause before Paul answered.  “I’ve been thinking about that all night.   Perhaps it would’ve been the thing to do; but I spent 28 years on the force, arresting those who took the law into their own hands.  It’s a hard thing, a very hard thing to be on the other side now.  It crossed my mind when we first arrested Billy, I’ll be honest about that, but I just couldn’t do it,” he shifted in his lazy-boy.  “What if I had just shot him?  And what if the world comes back to normal next week?  I would have that boy’s death hanging on me for the rest of my life.  Yes, he’s crazy, right now, without his meds, but with them he was a ghost in town; quiet and unseen, not bothering anyone.  I went to school with his mother; I’ve watched him grow up,” his voice hitched. “I just couldn’t do it, Deborah.  Can you understand that?”

“Yes, I can, Paul.  But you might want to think more about it, because it’s bound to come up again, and maybe soon.  People are getting hungry, real hungry, and with the deeper snow now, hunting is sporadic at best.  There’s bound to be more violence, more theft, and then what are you going to do? What are we going to do?  Stealing food could become a hanging offense.”  I let that hover in the air.  “We should go so you both can get some rest.  Don will want his officer and cruiser back soon.”

I left the casserole on the table, leaving them to figure out how to heat it; and John and I went home.  Home: yes that is what it feels like now, not just a place to live.  Home.

5 thoughts on “January 6

  1. Deborah, a slight critique? IMHO, even though this is not a mystery fiction, you could make it more interesting by using a person more central to the story with some hints as to who that person might be. In this case there is very little suggesting that Billy might be the arsonist, and his motivation is simply not there…
    However, the fact that he is a person on meds, well, that DOES give credence to his behavior.
    Just saying, as someone who reads constantly, and thinks that you could make this Journal into a book that would generate interest in several audiences.
    You write wonderfully. Would love to see you write more!

  2. I agree with Lori above.. reading one page updates per day IS painfully slow… but only because I find it so interesting!!! And yes, it IS fiction, fiction that makes me think, and imagine, and say to myself ‘what if…’ which is what really good stories are supposed to do, yes? :o)

  3. Deborah, in regards to your above comment 🙂 you make me smile. I find it amazing how many people take works of fiction and pull them apart, saying ‘you can’t do that’ and the like. IT”S FICTION, FOLKS!!!!

    Anyway, keep it up! Other than it being painfully slow (reading a book one. page. at. a. time. is torturous for me (especially when I like the story!) It’s fantastic!! “Deborah” in the book reminds me a lot of myself…

  4. Good question about vigilante justice. At what point does a group of people in peril have to take matters into their own hands?
    But this is different than shooting someone who is in the act of attacking you or your family: this is the execution of someone who is unstable.
    Hard questions, Deborah.

  5. A Note from the Author:
    Please remember that this is a work of FICTION.
    I can have anything I want
    Give away whatever I want
    Feel whatever I want

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