The Land Owner

by on June 27, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "In Pieces" by Tyler Malone

From Meth Mountain Chronicles

I wanted to be a pacifist, he said to no one in particular.

There were five of us in the bar if you include the barkeep who kept on cleaning the same five glasses again and again. One guy stood at the bar drinking whiskey and rye, nearby another sat on a bar stool and every now and then knocked on his glass for a refill of beer and I sat facing him two tables down.

When they came down from the hills the first time, they broke into one of my outbuildings. No big deal. I was rehabbing it and there was nothing of value inside.

I nursed my lukewarm glass of beer too close to the fire burning stove and warmed the glass with the warmth of my hands. No one else seemed to acknowledge him.

The second time, they broke a window in my car.

He took a long draw of whatever he was drinking. I don’t even know if he noticed me noticing him as he talked to himself.

After that, I asked my daddy for his shotgun, and I always kept it nearby. The third time three guys crossed onto my ranch and neared my porch. I turned on the porch light and stepped outside holding the gun easy in my arms.

He noticed me now, nodded in my direction, and took another draw of his drink.

One warning, I told them. This is your one warning. And I cocked the trigger and aimed it straight at the one in the middle. Everyone knows shotgun pellets spread outward. One warning, I repeated. Now get off my land and if I see any one of you again, I won’t say a word, but I will attend your funeral.

He smiled then, called to the barkeep to give me another beer, finished his drink in a large gulp, went to the counter and settled his bill. That was the last time I saw him until the other day. A funeral. Yes, plain and simple. He sat in the back, saw me, nodded in recognition, and when it was over left out as easy as when he came in.

editors note:

One moment will be your last moment. Thing is: will you see it coming? ~ Tyler Malone

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