XIV

GUNFIGHT AT TWO TRAILS INN

 

Jimmy let his guns fall shy as others came rushing in,

but not cos he was frightened down or wasn’t weighing in.

Bill turned to him with the cold of dread

as the penny poetically dropped.

And Jimmy, with a smile of old on his head,

said, ‘’bout time that windbag popped.’

 

Denise’s body, twisted and broken,

decorated Jimmy’s floor.

And Pastor Bill, without a word spoken,

dragged his shoes out from the core

of all that was left of a woman in pain:

such heartache had she known.

And looking around at the men of Two Trails,

Bill could feel the evil sown.

 

‘Get back from her,’ he snarled with his faith,

‘lest y’all want a ticket to Hell.’

But Peabody grinned and raised his gun,

ready to shoot the Pastor as well.

 

‘Don’t you dare do it!’ Jimmy roared, raising his guns once more.

‘You’ve killed enough people and you killed that whore.

You don’t get to keep killing ‘round here no more.’

 

Now Peabody was backed up by nine or ten,

who pressed their way in to the despair of men.

Some of the others from inside the inn

had gathered their guns up with a view to begin

what was without doubt a fight long in comin’.

Pastor Bill felt clear that he ought to get runnin’,

but he was standing right in the Devil’s mouth…

 

so he dropped to the floor as the patience wore out.

 

Barrels bellowed and shot sheared out,

and bullets and powder were all about.

The thunder and fire of Satan’s lungs

would have burned through even Jacob’s rungs

as the angels stopped halfway in their heavenly ascent.

Watching Man’s self-destruction was time well spent.

 

When it was all over and the silence descended,

Bill got to his feet, shook the world from his clothes.

Lit by the sun ‘pon which all they depended,

the scene all around him was Hell in repose.

 

He got right ‘round to Jimmy, who lay in his blood,

his life-force a-pumpin’ and poolin’ clear out.

The Inn-Keeper groaned and said what he could

to leave truth in Bill’s mind…

 

beyond shadows of doubt:

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