Daily Prompt · writing

Daily Prompt; Desert

Daily Prompt; Desert

Warren stepped off the train and pushed his hat back on his head. Damn, it was hot here. When he’d gotten the telegram from Billy he jumped at the chance to fall back in with the old gang, but in the old days they’d pretty much stuck with Missouri and the surrounding states. It could get warm and humid there, Lord knows he’d complained about the weather enough but it was nothing like here in Yuma. He had never felt a heat like this except those times he had stoked his mama’s woodstove, as a boy.

He made his way under the awning and took a seat on the wooden bench in the shade and waited. Billy had said he would send someone to meet him.

The day wore on and the crowd on the platform dispersed. Warren had his Henry rifle in a leather case leaning on the wall next to him, the case was soft and shiny; from countless cleanings and oilings. A matched pair of six guns, with ‘mother o’ pearl’ handles was strapped to his hips, and saddlebags perched next to him on the bench. Warren sat still, studied the horizon and endured the heat. He sat for hours, just waiting. He dozed on an off but it was too hot to get any real sleep.

It was early evening when a young cowboy stepped onto the platform from around the side of the depot. Warren had heard him coming but stayed still and watched him. He wore chaps and a canvas duster, with a wide brimmed hat pulled low over his eyes. His hair was long and unkempt, tied at the back of his neck, he needed a shave. When he turned towards him, Warren spotted a black patch over his left eye. He spat a wad of tobacco towards the tracks.

“You Warren?” the young cowboy asked without coming any closer.

“Might be,” Warren replied, “Who’re you?”

“Name’s Angus. Billy sent me to meet somebody named Warren, take him back to camp. Would that be you?”

Warren stood up, satisfied that Angus was who he claimed to be. “Yep, that would be me. Did you bring a extra horse?”

Angus smiled, “I got you a horse, sir and I’m sorry I’m late.” He said but offered no explanation.

Warren picked up his rifle, and threw his saddlebags over his shoulder. “How far we goin’, Angus?”

“It’s ‘bout a five hour ride, we’re going south inta Mexico. I figger we got a couple hours of light left tonight. We can camp in the Tinajas. It’ll be a little cooler there. We can finish the ride in the mornin’. Billy’s anxious to see you again.”

Warren simply nodded and started walking in the direction from which Angus had come. The young cowboy fell in step and walked along with him.

“Billy’s told me about some of the things you two got up to in Missouri. He told us about that time when you was boxed in, just southeast of Independence. Did that shit really happen?”

Warren paused, “Billy told you about that, did he?”

Angus stopped and looked back at him, “Yes, sir. He did. He says no one’s better with a long gun than you.”

“Billy said that?” They started walking again. Neither one speaking.

Rounding the corner of the building Warren spotted a pair of horses. A Palomino, that was obviously Angus’ mount and a Bay that he assumed was for him. He grinned. He could tell that these were Billy’s horses. Billy’d always had an eye for a good horse. It was gonna be good to ride with Billy again. It was gonna be good.


CSMA Prompts and Practice · writing

08 February 2014

08 February 2014

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The prompts are:
1. Please postpone my martyrdom
2. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time
3. This is not what we set out to do.

Begin Writing
I could see, I mean actually see, the bullet leave the muzzle of his handgun and begin traveling towards me, breaking through the puff of smoke that had preceded it from the barrel.  This is not what’s supposed to happen.  This is not how I am meant to die.  The gypsy woman had been clear; I was to perish in an accident at sea.  That’s the reason I had moved to Arizona.  I didn’t want to die this way.  This is not what I set out to do.  I set out to do good.  How the hell did I get here?

It had seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  Sign on to offer humanitarian aid by filling water containers in the desert.  Filling water containers strategically placed to aid travelers was humane, right?  I don’t care about politics.  I don’t care about borders.  I just want to help people.

Death by dehydration is nasty.  I’ve seen it before, in Iraq.  It’s not pretty.  Let others worry about your papers, your passports, your visas.  I just want to do what I can to help keep you alive.

It was a day like any other day in the Sonora Desert .  I was working with Ricky.  He and I were filling a twenty-five gallon tank, situated on a rocky mesa about thirty miles northeast of Nogales when it happened.  Ricky was laughing and telling me a story about his daughter’s birthday party the previous weekend.  He went quiet mid sentence and then the back of his head turned to a cloud of pink mist.  He sank slowly to the ground.  Then I heard the crack.  No mistaking that sound, I had heard it before.  A high powered sniper rifle, at least a mile away.

I dropped and as I did, the plastic tank we had been filling burst.  By the time the sound of that shot reached me I was scrambling towards the brush.  I dropped into a shallow wash.

There were the others.  They were waiting for me.  I put my hands up in a show of surrender.  Vigilantes combed this desert looking for travelers.  They must have been frustrated today.  Ricky and I were just water bearers but they targeted us anyway.

“Adios, motherfucker,” the guy with the black hat said as he leveled his piece and squeezed the trigger.  I saw the smoke.  I saw the bullet.

The second to last thing to go through my head was, “Damn, that gypsy woman had lied.”
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.