The Good Ol' Boys

They were just simple country folk. They worked hard, played hard, and loved hard. They tried to do right in their dealings with each other and other folks. They were honest, true blue back-bone of the country Americans. They believed only three things were worth fighting and dying for; God, family, and Country. 

The four of them were united by a mysterious bond since childhood. Closer than children of the same mother they were. Fate had them all enlist and not only serve but be in the same platoon together. Fate also saw them home from war, no longer boys but men. All but one, Tom Sutter, had married. ( He had always claimed it would be wrong to break all them hearts by marrying and had stayed a bachelor. )They were all 'uncle' to each others kids. Of course, now the kids were all grown, or almost grown. They were what American's have long dubbed, 'Good ol' Boys'. 

Three men sat, in the same chairs, they had occupied as children , drinking koolaid at Tom Sutter's old kitchen table. One chair sat empty, though a glass was set before it, filled with Jim Beam instead of koolaid. The third fifth already half empty sat in the middle of the table where the pitcher use to sit, its empty brothers were in the kitchen sink. Dave Kearns, Bobby Yates, and Jerry Campbell, lifted yet another glass in silent salute to the empty chair, and as one they downed them. Dave silently filled them up again. 

They each waited for the others to speak, of the horrible fate that had befallen Tom. Each in his heart knew, knew that it had been a mighty wrong. Each wanted nothing more than to right this wrong. Yet they were hesitant to speak.

"Tom was last of his kin...Wonder what will happen to this place?" Dave spoke in the soft way he had, just to break the silence.

"Auction it off, I reckon," came Jerry's montone reply.

Bobby suddenly leaned forwards in his chair, "Why don't we just cut through this bull**** and get down to facts? Tom is DEAD. And he died wrong. What are we going to do about it?"

There was another lull before Dave's sermon like voice broke the silence. " True Tom is dead. And we can't change nor alter it. But, we ought to set it as right as we can...

Eye for an eye the Bible says."

Jerry slowly lowered his glass, and looked up with baleful eyes, "Life for a life?"

First Dave nodded, then Bobby. "You boys are talkin' murder..."

"No!" Bobby always the highest strung of the four spoke up,"Not murder. We are talking avenging the death of a man who has been more than a brother to us.

Tell me, Jerry? Who saved your ass in 'Nam? Huh? When you laid there in that piss awful mud felled by a sniper? Who broke rank and went in after you? Who the hell carried your sorry hide back? He didn't have to, but he knew it was wrong to leave you there. And that wasn't the only time he risked his ass to cover ours either." Bobby was half-standing now, almost spitting the words in Jerry's face. " Can you just turn your back on him now?"

Jerry's hand shook as he picked up the tumbler of whiskey and downed it. It seemed to refill almost by magic. "How," he croaked the words, " how will takin' another life, make this right?"

Bobby slapped the table with both palms, "HOW!?" The word exploded from him, he was standing now. Dave laid a gentle, but firm hand on his arm, "Bobby...Bobby, that isn't the way...We must be united, UNANIMOUS in this decission. Tom's blood has already been spilt, and Jerry's right, we shouldn't take spilling more lightly. Even though it be the right thing."

Bobby sat under Dave's guiding pressure. He refilled the three glasses. "What would Tom do?" He asked of no one. " He'd kill the sorry basturd , if it had been one of us."

More silence insued, as each man weighed the question. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, Tom would snap the neck of anyone who had brought one of them harm or grief. 

Jerry cleared his throat..."Was an accident. They all say that...a crime of passion I think. Not murder...not all black and white like you paint it... and he knew better. You don't lay with another man's wife..."

In his best sermon voice, Dave intoned, "Some say a man saves your life, then you owe him your life. I know more than once he saved yours, Jerry. Saved me and Bobby too a few times. Ain't none of us ever paid him back really... Now his life got took..Crime of passion or not. YOU OWE HIM..." From somewhere in the shadows Dave produced a service revolver, and placed it on the table,."Do the RIGHT thing, Jer... Bobby and me, we'll let you have some privacy to think on it. " He stood then, placing a hand on Jerry's shoulder and squeezing, "Eye for an eye. Pay back time. I'm sure you'll do the right thing. Correct the taking of Tom's life.." With that he and Bobby walked off, leaving Jerry alone, with his recollections and ghosts.

Jerry's hands weren't very steady...he had seen perhaps, the greatest friend anyone could have die before his very eyes. The woman too. Both shot cleanly through the heart. Yeah, he had been there. Dave and Bobby were right, though. It shouldn't have gone down that way. And he did OWE his life to Tom. He picked up the revolver, checked it's load. "Eye for an eye, pay back time," he whispered.

Outside Dave and Bobby heard the shot. With a sigh Dave said, "Ol' boy did the right thing..."

"Yep."

"Downright stupid of Tom to be beddin Jer's wife though..."

 

 

 

 

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