From the roof, we watched
Mr. Smith stop in front of the walkway that led
up to his front door. Unsteady on his feet, he shook open a gun in his
right hand. We heard muttering and the jingle of falling bullets.
I ran over the roofs and slid down the gable and ran into the big
room of our house. My father and mother were there, along with a bunch of
my father's friends. They were all lounging about, talking. The high
ceiling arched above.
"Mr. Smith's drunk and's got a gun and he's going into his house!" I
All activity stopped. The men exchanged glances. Bob Siddons said,
"Guess he's finally cracked." Ben Bowie added, "Gonna kill that wife of
My father nodded. The tin star shone on his vest. "Guess I better
go'n stop'm." He picked up his guns and began to strap them on. The men
lounged. Johnny Sidearms poured another shot of whisky.
"Wait," I said. "Why don't all you guys go, and then just creep up
on him? He can't shoot alla you."
My father looked at the men. The men looked back at him. Then my
mama said, "Nope, you better oughta go alone."
My father looked back at her, sadly, for a long moment. "Reckon
you're right," he said finally. He looked back at the men. The men looked
My father left.