Straight On Till Morning

It’s December already. Christmas again approaches. Will I live to see it? for, at 113, I take nothing for granted. When much younger I tried to live life in day-tight compartments; then when older I cut this to hour-tight compartments; now, at 113, it’s minute-tight compartments. This makes bearable my being forced to live as an outlaw in the basement of a demolished house in somewhere Texas, since I’m being sought by the police in all fifty states.

If I lived alone it would be difficult enough, but I have to share my underground home with my three surviving men, Mikey Squeaky and Freddy. This is especially difficult, since our states of mind are not always of the best, so we frequently quarrel. It hasn’t yet come to fisticuffs but I fear this won’t always be so. What if I get into fisticuffs with any of my so, so much younger men, and I get the worst of it? I would be dethroned as our leader, which would be humiliating.

I wish today to continue from where I left off last time, when I began to speak of the events of last year, 2007, which led to me and my men becoming outlaws in America. You will recall that we had killed Jimmy and his men during the knife and gun fight at Jimmy’s house, which was in a small town in eastern Texas. Only after we had returned to our SUV and were driving away from the house and all the dead bodies did I fully realise the fix we were in.

If, dear reader, you have always lived the law-abiding respectable life, you still may not have grasped fully how dire our circumstances were. Consider that we were visitors to America, British citizens, and had just killed eight, maybe ten American citizens in the most gory manner, and had left behind the dead bodies of two of my men, whose bullet-shattered heads were beyond recognition. Think yourself in our place. Do you understand better now, mmmm?

That American officialdom would soon discover it was us was a given. Also, contemporary society with its reliance on credit cards and computers and all its state-of-the art surveillance technology, makes life for the modern outlaw especially difficult. Each time we, any of us, use a credit card or a computer, we advertise where we are and what we’re doing.

For starters, then, we effectively had no money, since our credit cards would give us away. Therefore we would have to rob banks, so we needed better weaponry than we had, which was merely knives and rather ancient pistols. We had had the presence of mind to take with us some of the shotguns which Jimmy and his men, being dead, would no longer want. But shotguns, being large and unwieldy, draw undue attention when carried into a bank. The most modern of handguns were what we needed.

We began driving southwards from Jimmy’s little town. After some miles we entered another little town on whose main street was a gun shop. We parked outside and walked in. We took out our pistols and pointed them at the clerk behind the counter and at the handful of other customers. I ordered them to lie face-down, hands behind head. Then we gathered up as many handguns as were feasible to take, plus ammunition and user manuals.

Sub-compacts, compacts, full-sized, specialized, .357 Magnums, .44 Magnums, .380 ACP’s, 9 mm’s, 10 mm’s, Barrettas, Springfields, Derringers, Smith & Wessons……..You name them, we took them, and by the boxload. I’ve always believed, you see, that if you do something, no matter what, do it well, whether tending to your garden, killing a man with a knife, or robbing a gun store or bank. Doing to the best of one’s ability whatever one does, was what my mater and pater inculcated into me. It has served me admirably all my life, and I see no reason to change.

Before we left with our acquisitions I emptied the cash from the till. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.

Being in that gun shop, even for so brief a time, I became aware of how special America is, where the God-given right for any man to own as many guns as he wants is enshrined in the constitution. Nowhere but in America can an ordinary man visit a gun shop and be free to buy the gun or guns of his choice from the huge variety on offer. Semi-automatic pistols, service revolvers, six-shooters, pump-action shotguns, carbines, are there, waiting for a man to take home, to care for as lovingly as he would a dog or cat.

After we left the gun shop I drove our SUV down the town’s main street till the end, then along an isolated side-road which led to some deserted ground with bushes. We hid there, and didn’t emerge until nearly midnight, whereupon I drove us all back into the town and pulled up near a used-car lot. We exchanged our SUV’s plates with those of one of the cars in the lot, for the police would surely be alerted once the return-time of our rented SUV was overdue. As for the car-lot men, I felt confident it would be days, perhaps weeks, before they noticed the exchanged licence plate and informed police.

We continued southwards into the fathomless Texas night and kept going, sharing a fellowship of the highway with the long-distance truckers, those solitary men who haul their big rigs along the highways of America night and day, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the northern tundra to the Gulf of Mexico, from Boston Massachusetts to San Francisco California, from Fairbanks Alaska to El Paso Texas.

We didn’t stop till morning.

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This entry was posted in Writing.

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