Spot 034: Candidate for Sainthood

 

LAS CRUCES
by Paul de Denus

Smith sat quietly inside the stagecoach, thumbing the rotating cylinder. Bullets had been flying. When the coach stopped, the guard riding shotgun had dropped to the ground heavy, like a sack of barley seed, a hole through his throat.

“Everybody out,” one of the riders had shouted.

Smith was thinking about a simple premise his Pa had taught back on the farm.

“Size up the situation, figure out what’s possible, take your best shot.”

Smith and his wife Millie, had worked hard, scraped the land bare for the meager return the parched ground had been willing to release. It was never enough. His Millie deserved better. Now, after losing the farm and his Pa, they were headed south.

“I said, everybody out.”

Smith gave Millie a steady nod, then calmly stepped from the stage. Without hesitation, he flashed the gun and fired four shots, his steady hand as sure as the truth. The three riders tumbled from their vaulting horses.

The stagecoach driver, Hank Barrett sat gravely wounded on the carriage deck.
“You saved us son,” he whispered. “The bank too.” He rubbed a slow hand along the silver strong box. “Over ten thousand dollars worth I’d say.”

Smith rotated the cylinder; there were two cartridges left. He thought about his Pa’s words as he put one through Barrett’s left eye. He turned to Millie who looked out at him through the coach window, a beatific smile crossing her face.

“Darlin’. Would you like to see Mexico?”

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.

 


 

TRIGGER HAPPY
by Gita Smith

The reason I’m a candidate for sainthood is, I didn’t shoot him.
Oh, trust me. I wanted to.
I had a loaded shotgun in hand. I had motive and means. Sweeter yet, no Alabama jury would have convicted me.
Despite my fury, I could see it all play out: the front page photos of me in hunting camo, Nancy Grace on CNN talking about redneck rage, his grieving family, the telegram of congratulations from his ex-wife.
But, did I want to be a party to such a cliché? No! I was better than that. I took the high road.
Whereas he, with malice aforethought, had raised his gun, aimed and shot the gobbling turkey that was walking towards me, I would forgive. Whereas I had slogged through marsh and sawgrass, climbed steep piney ridges and sweltered in mosquito-ravaged misery for hours to call that bird into shotgun range, I would forget.
Whereas he, in a testosterone-cocktail fueled moment had done me wrong, I let him live.
Oh, I swung on him. I aimed that 12-gauge at his beefy midsection and uttered the words, “Die, you fucktwit,” under my breath.
But I didn’t shoot.
I let him rush to the fallen bird, nearly tripping himself on his camo bootlaces, and hoist it for a victory lap. I waited until his yee-haws died down.
I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, was I not an angel of mercy to let him live? Should I not get recognition for my superhuman self-control?
Canonizing me would be justice served.

See Authors page for Gita’s bio.

 


 

POOR JOE
by Bill Lapham

At the end of an endless string of boring days, Joe decided to row a kayak from Michigan, across Lake Huron, to Ontario. Depressed, he boarded the small, but exquisite, rented canoe [1] and shoved off from Lakeport State Park [2] on a warm spring morning not long after the equinox. He pointed the bow of the kayak at the rising rose-colored sun and paddled in an easy rhythm he thought he could carry for the length of the day. He ate a PowerBar™ for lunch and drank Gatorade G2™ for hydration. Later, when the sun went down behind him, the lake was clear of traffic as far as he could see in 360 degrees. Alas, poor Joe only made it halfway across the Great Lake [3] before he collided with a northbound freighter doing twelve knots. Pieces of his kayak were found floating in the water the next day, but Joe went missing and was never heard from again. Today, many students of recreational therapy consider Joe a martyr to the cause of innovative interventions.

[1] Handmade wooden kayaks by Nick Schade: Source: http://www.woodenkayaks.com/
[2] Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lakeport, MI: Source: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=466&type=SPRK
[3] Huron is one of the five officially designated Great Lakes: Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario. “There are ongoing proposals for [Lake St. Clair’s] official recognition as a Great Lake, which would affect its inclusion in scientific research projects, etc., designated as being for ‘The Great Lakes’, [but none have been approved].” Source: Wikipedia.
See Authors page for Bill’s bio.

 


 

POOLE HARBOUR 1971
by Sandra Davies

Tourists, from the way they strolled, looking at the ordinary same as the extraordinary, and pointing. New to parenthood too, both from their youth and the minuteness of the baby, glimpsed as the top half of the pram was tilted as he, the long-haired and scruffy-bearded father, manoeuvred it into the back of the grey van, while she, long straight hair, blowing from the light breeze off the sea, folded down the frame.
All loaded, they sat, heads together poring, presumably, over a map. Came to a decision, sat back and he prepared to move, releasing handbrake and looking back to check the road was clear.
She spoke again, he paused and looked where she was finger-indicating, an alternative route perhaps.
But they’d never have reached it, nor lived much longer, had I not hooted, having seen their van roll inexorably towards the harbour edge. The father managed just a panic-faced acknowledgement, before I drove away.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.

 


 

CHIGGERS
by Author

Had Barbara been their heir, her parents might have been happier. Nature did not play fair sending Babita along first, when the two of them were trying so hard, long before she granted them sickly little Benito’s existence. Anyone could see the boy was unlikely to make it to adulthood. Paputs’ older sisters, Griselle and Agnetha, tut-tutted in unison each time they stood over Benito’s crib, then looked at Babita with the same disdain, as if his affliction were somehow her fault. Surely, she had compromised the child’s health by making her mother wait until having another baby proved a dangerous proposition. She was the cause of their sister’s current malady, why she often took to her bed these days. Between them, they had four strapping young offspring, already out working, but unfortunately not bearers of the family name.
Barbara piously worked hard to make up for the terrible discrepancy. She cooked, cleaned house, cared lovingly for her malformed little brother, performed all the beneficences a healthy mother would be expected to do but received little recognition for all her sacrifices.
Some said she had been poisoned by the chiggers or some other venomous insect, something external, because she did not appear to be in her right mind when her cousin Axel found her cradling, trying to console the whimpering baby, surrounded by the slumped and lifeless bodies of her mother, and father, and both the aunts at their last family meal, the arsenic-laced mousse still cooling on the sideboard.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.

 


 

Spot 034 piously left unillustrated.

 

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5 Comments to “Spot 034: Candidate for Sainthood”

  1. I will return to read the words, but just wish to note that Mr. Brown was NOT without ample photos to illustrate this page.

  2. Mr. Brown would like to state for the record that although he does indeed have ample photos on hand with which to illustrate suitable MudSpots, he did not feel the current stock (mostly supplied by the the redoubtable Ms. Smith) held any appropriate to this theme, and was saving them for upcoming Spots. In addition to which, Mr. Brown is actually without the bandwidth necessary to accommodate the uploading of anything larger than the half-size header and footer herewith displayed.
    These two little numbers took over 35 minutes to upload, during which my connection went down twice, and have you noticed the timing on postings? This is becoming more of a problem lately, and doesn’t look to be solved until I get an honest-to-god working connection. (Promise pushed back another month.) I’m working as fast as I can.
    🙂

  3. I apologize to Mr. Brown for my hasty comment and sorely wish he had the bandwidth that would make life easier.
    Further, I appreciate the order of the pieces as he arranged them. They had an intelligent progression from stagecoach to turkey hunting to watersports to family vacationers to family horror. Congratulations to all for your fine writing.

  4. I thought Gita’s was quite funny- “I waited until his yee-haws died down.” and Bill’s brought back the memory of the story, ‘Paddle-to-the-Sea’. Sandra’s indicated she saved three lives that day- and Michael’s left me pondering the character’s here for my wee brain to figure out.

  5. I too am pondering upon sainthood … obviously not what I thought. And, for the record Paul, mine was the distracting finger, not the one who shouted and whose momentary sainthood I recorded here.

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