Franz Wright
Jenn Morea
Ted Pelton
Susan M. Schultz
Amanda Nadelberg
Standard Schaefer
Matthew Cooperman
Ed Taylor
Coralie Reed
Gretchen Mattox
Mark Rudman
Ales Debeljak
Simon Perchik
Bendall on Wagner
Schroeder on Mullen
Thompson on Gibson
Minor on Tran
Rippey on Hannah

TED PELTON : this is what was going on


We were coming up the old trail road, Dad and Earl and I, when we seen that there was some sort of standoff up at the cabin.

One of the men, a real dude, Mr. Benjamin Dimson, gotten up in all sorts of fine clothes from the city – shiny new leather chaps over good wool trousers, a leather shoulder patch for the butt of his gun to fit into – had a gun and was pointing it at something I couldn't see at first because of the trees.

We were also bucking up and down in that old hay wagon, and the road badly needs smoothing over.

Then we seen it, as we came closer, more slowly, because we didn't want to get shot by mistake.

This is what was going on.

There was a whole herd of Indians, including one real young buck who was an albino.

The feller in all the finery, Mr. Dimson, wanted to shoot this one, I guess because he was such an oddity.

We called out to them.

We were about fifty yards away from the house at this point, and the whole herd of them scattered.

Mr. Dimson kept his rifle trained on the albino, but he now saw us and couldn't get a clear shot.

The albino weren’t no dummy either.  He came behind the hay wagon and grabbed for a pitchfork.  He had the handle in his hands; Earl was holding on to the curved part of the tine end; they were pulling back and forth like this.

But then Mr. Dimson had come down off the porch of the house and down closer to us, to within about twenty yards, and he had the rifle aimed right at the head of the young buck.

The buck just sort of froze there.

You think you'd run when someone's pointing a gun at you like that, but it's hard to move.  You just kind of freeze.

He'd also loosened his grip on the pitchfork, so Earl at this point pulled it away from him.

This brought the buck back out of his trance, I guess, because he ran around the other side of the wagon.

He was in a quandary.  He couldn't run far out into the open, because then Mr. Dimson would have a clear shot at him.  But he didn't want to stay close either.  So he kind of bounced around, this way and that, hiding behind people.

There was some of his own kind, who'd cleared off a little bit, then hung back, waiting to see what might happen, but also scared at the same time and ready to run.

The other men from the cabin had come down, too, wanting to get a close look.

Now, as the buck came near, this way and that, they'd all back away, not wanting to get in the line of fire.  Mr. Dimson was growing frustrated, not being able to get a clear shot off.

It was at that point I grabbed the bigger pitchfork.

I was able to get behind the buck – he was more concerned about the gun – and knock him down.

He was flat on his stomach and I was above him with the pitchfork.  I'd wounded him a little on the back, but just on the surface of his flesh.

But I couldn't bring myself to finish him off, him lying helpless there and me standing over his back.

My stomach kind of curdled.  This all happened in a second.

Then he started to get back up, but before he could I knocked him back down again.

Mr. Dimson had now grabbed the smaller pitchfork and come over to finish him off.  I backed away and he lunged at him, catching him through the top of the shoulder.

The boy was now bleeding and in pain.

Mr. Dimson tried to hit him a good blow to finish him off, but with the smaller pitchfork couldn't do anything but wound him more.

The buck was now kind of crawling away.  It was a miserable sight to see.

I recovered myself; I still had the bigger fork in my hands; I knew what I had to do.  I reared back and put it into him hard, right at the base of the neck.

He was dead in a second.

"Good job," said Mr. Dimson.  He said it was my kill but he'd like to buy it from me.

"I'm from Texas and in Texas we believe in giving a man what he's worth."

He took out his wallet – I never expected anything like this – and he gave me forty dollars, counted it out for me right where we stood.  Twenty dollars drawn on the First Central Bank of Jefferson County, Kansas, and another twenty drawn on the Bank of Austin, Texas.

Then he brought me up to the cabin and he asked me to tell what happened back to him; he'd been there himself the whole time but he said he wanted my "authentic version."

When I was finished he said it was wonderful and clapped me on the back and said he just wanted one more thing from me, that I sign my name to a paper he put out on the table for me.

"What's your name?"

"Timothy Smithers, sir," I told him.

"We can do better than that,” he said.  "Sign this with the name Buck Carson."

I can write all right, but it was weird signing something with someone else's name, trying to make it look like your own.  The curves in the letters felt all unnatural.  But for forty dollars, I weren't about to complain.

He thanked me and shook my hand.

I couldn't believe it.  Earl asked me how I was going to spend the money.  I had no idea.

But one thing I do know is that these are great times we're living in when a man can make forty dollars on the spot like that, so much like in a dream.  Mr. Benjamin Dimson is a great man in my book, and I will tell everybody I see that very fact.



(c) 2005 Slope. Slope is ISSN # 1536-0164.