When we last left Guy, in his sheer desperation to help his slowly starving family during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years in Okalahoma in the 1930’s, he had retrieved his 22-caliber pistol he’d stashed a couple of years ago high on a shelf in his bedroom closet. The pistol had never crossed him mind in that time until now. Even as he held it there, he still had no solid plan.
It was in his genes to have anything he used be in top condition, so he took it back to the bed and after finding some old rags and some oil, he started the process of cleaning every inch till he could see his dirty face in it’s surface. Then after repeating the process on the inside with a cleaning rod, he was ready.
During the chore, he slowly developed a plan. He had no intention of doing anyone harm, much less shooting anyone, so he didn’t load the gun. His plan was to take a bath, wash and comb his unkempt hair, then dress in what clean cloths he could find, to be properly attired for what he was about to do.
Then he’d walk back to town, go into the local grocery store and using the gun as intimidation, rob the place of all the bags of food he could carry back. Then when he’d deposited the food back at their farmhouse, he would turn himself in to the local sheriffs office.
Even as hungry as he was, he figured sooner or later, they would be forced to feed him, so he wouldn’t touch any of the food. That way his family could eat well, at least this once.
So after bathing, shaving and combing his hair, he stuck the pistol in his pants under his shirt and then stood looking at himself in the full-length mirror on the wall for a moment. “Wow!” If he hadn’t almost forgot how, he would’ve chuckled at what he saw standing there. “I haven’t looked this good in months. At least I’ll look good in the mug shot they take.”
“Well,” He thought. “I guess this is it.”
Then he headed for the bedroom door and after glancing back at himself one last time in the wall mirror, he stepped into the living room, then out through the front door. He found himself standing there on the front porch with conflicting thoughts bouncing around his brain like ricocheting bullets in an old cowboy movie he’d seen once.
Should he really do this? Maybe he should put the damn pistol away and try and think of some other way to help the family but he’d been struggling with this for days now and there was no other way he could think of that would at least temporally feed his family, so…
He straightened his shoulders and stepped off the steps onto the dirt once more. As soon as his foot touched the dust laying there like sifted flower, the little cloud immediately swirled up his pant leg, once again tinting it the god awful gray he was so sick of. That and the sweat already running down his back reminded him that by the time he arrived back in town, his attempt to look nice would be for naught.
“Oh well.” He grimaced. “Nothing to be done about it.”
So off he started down the dirt road in the deep silence the dust caused with each step.
He didn’t get very far when he heard someone up ahead yelling out something he couldn’t quite yet make out.
Squinting his eyes against the ever present dust in the air and rising heat, he could just start to make out someone running full blast toward him on the dirt road just arrived from the main road.
He couldn’t make out whom yet, but whoever it was, he was still screaming out something he still couldn’t make out.
At that point he stopped walking to try and make some sense out of what he was seeing and hearing. That’s when the first words slowly became clearer. It hit him then who it was. It was his older brother Lester and what he was shouting hit him like a ton of bricks and froze him in his now dirty tracks.
After another moment it was clear. He was shouting. “I got a job! I got a job! I got a job!” He was shouting those same words over and over and over like a stuck record.
Guy’s well-hidden but real desire to break out crying in joy came dangerously close to the surface then but by god “Men don’t cry God damnit!” His mind screamed him back into some semblance of control.
By then Lester ran up and grabbed Guy in a humongous bear hug, then grabbed his hands and swung them both in great circles of joy, all the while continuing to scream out “I got a job Guy! I got a Goddamn job!
After extracting himself from Lester’s over exuberant embrace and listening to all the details of Lester’s job, Guy quietly turned back toward the house, walked into the bedroom and then into the closet. After he wrapped the now clean shining pistol in a rag, on his tiptoes, he once again laid it back into its place there.
Next he walked into the bathroom, turned and locked the door and then sat on the toilet and couldn’t help himself. He silently wept until there was nothing left there.
Then he washed his face and went back into the house where Lester was still turning in joyous circles like some crazy dancer from some other exotic country.
As he sat himself down on one of the kitchen chairs, all he could do was gently smile at fates amazing grace.
To be continued: