© 2011 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
‘They say don’t go on Wolverton Mountain if you’re looking for a wife’ the boy gasped as he climbed, panting. “Who cares!” A thorny branch smacked him across the cheek, leaving another burning welt. The .45 Colt dug into his leg.
“Don’t say you weren’t warned, boy!” his Daddy spoke softly as he dug potatoes early that morning in the bright October sun.
“I’ll call the undertaker and order an autopsy.” He threw potatoes into the rusty pail. “I won’t tell your momma you’re gone to get yourself shot”.
“I’m going to get Lily, we’ll run off, he won’t find us.”
His eyes sparked. “You’re a fool, boy, that old Clowers, he’ll kill you quick! I always said no gal is worth a load of hot buckshot !”
“ I’m going to marry her -and crazy old Clifton, he can shoot me if he wants.”
“He’ll make you sing real lyrical with that Bowie, you watch that knife”.
“ I’m tired of waiting for him to die, – an’ he ain’t never going to die.”
His father leaned on the shovel.
“You’re a grown man, son, I can’t be telling you what to do now. “
“No, Paw, I ‘m going, that’s it.”
“You take a half dozen shells, go up the back trail, it’s overgrown, you won’t run into Clowers there, it’ll be safer. You tell him you’re hunting that buck I saw this morning, maybe 12- point .”
It was hot, and the sweat burned. He paused to mop his forehead..
A jackrabbit bolted under his nose . He figured it was two miles, all uphill.
“In this brush I’ll never see the old man, no matter, he’ll shoot me anyway… I should have taken the wagon road, and let him shoot me first thing” he gasped to himself. ‘That way I could see him coming, it would have been easier to get myself to the undertaker.”
He heard the click. He stopped dead in his tracks, breathing hard. It wasn’t a .45 , it was too quiet.
“Hands up, boy!” The old man yelled. He turned. A double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun pointed at his head with one hammer cocked. A menacing 16″ Bowie hung on the man’s belt.
“What are you doing here, boy?” the white-haired man demanded..
He squinted into the muzzle, now less than a foot from his cheek.
“You leave that Colt right where it is!” he warned.
The boy took a deep breath and raised his hands slowly.
“I’m not hunting, sir” the nervous boy said. “There are no deer around here, not in this brush, but I saw a jackrabbit back there if you’re looking.”
“I came for Lily ” he added.
The old man’s hand twitched as he lowered the shotgun slowly, dropping the hammer.
“You better be telling me the truth, boy, -my Lily, she don’t like no liars.”
“You should have walked up the trail instead, it’s easier,” Clowers said, turning away smiling, “You get up to the cabin, meantime I’ll get that jackrabbit for supper.”
He turned around suddenly as if he changed his mind. The boy eyed the shotgun nervously.
“Me and Lily–we wondered when I was going to have to go see your Daddy and drag you up here by the ears, fighting all the way…...” He laughed softly.
Is that Incoming I hear?