~ ~ 1950 ~ ~
“Get off my property, Buck. I got too many chores to waste time with the likes of you,” Motega Sweetwater dismissively told the scowling man that just entered his barn from the rear.
Though the sun hadn’t risen in the sky over Blue-eyed Hollow, Virginia yet, trouble had already found its way to the Sweetwater farm...again. When would it stop? More specifically when would that trouble stop having Buck Benjamin’s name attached to it?
“I’ll go away after I finally make you go away,” Buck replied, pulling a shotgun from behind his back. Though his eyes looked bloodshot from too much drinking and too little sleep, his hands were surprisingly steady on the gun. The silver flask sticking halfway out of his right pocket looked just a secure.
“What good is that gonna do? Whether I’m dead or alive, Annabelle still won’t have nothing to do with you. Can’t you get it through your thick head that she loves me, not you?” Motega said calmly, not bothered in the least by the man’s shotgun.
This wasn’t the first time Buck had pulled a gun on him. It happened twice before. Once when Motega first started courting Annabelle – the pretty little redhead that they both fancied at the same time ten years ago. The second gun confrontation occurred on the day Motega married Annabelle.
Buck hadn’t pulled the trigger then. Motega seriously doubted if he was going to pull it now. The man was a coward at heart.
“She used to love me before you came sniffing after her.” Buck kicked some of the hay on the barn floor in anger. “Why couldn’t you just marry one of your own kind?” he said, referring to Motega’s Native-American heritage.
“Why can’t you be happy with your own wife? Why keep trying to get mine?” Motega replied with two questions of his own. He sighed and shook his head.
Motega was tired of the constant conflict between them. After ten long years, marriage and children on both of their parts, he thought Buck would have been tired, too. But the blond-haired man clearly wasn’t. The pain of Annabelle’s rejection and jealousy against him were still fresh in Buck’s eyes. It was as if he just lost her yesterday.
“B…because Sallie Mae can never measure up to Annabelle, that’s why. She don’t have that same fi…fire,” Buck slurred out.
He must really be drunk to admit that, especially to me, Motega thought. He could only hope that Sallie Mae had never been told that. The woman was beat down enough by Buck’s fists on a regular basis, along with their son, Buford.
“Fire,” Buck reiterated with a chuckle as a wild look took up residence in his eyes. “To this day nobody has been able to prove who started that fire on your land. Since you gonna die today anyway, I’ll tell you who done it.” He pointed proudly to himself. “It was me, that’s who. I took out most of your crop and shot your best horse, too.” He outright laughed this time. “Nobody could prove that either thanks to my son, who is quite the convincing liar when I need him to be.” He lowered his shotgun briefly to take a swig from his silver flask.
Motega’s hands balled into fists at his sides. He suspected Buck’s hand in those calamities all along. Yet because Buford had vouched for his father’s whereabouts each time, it was Motega’s word against Buck’s. Unfortunately, people around here had been too quick and too willing to believe a white man’s word over an Indian’s. Thus no one had bothered to investigate the matter deeper.
“See, I know that like Sallie Mae, Annabelle dreams of one day living in luxury. I figured if I pushed that day even farther in the future, she’d get tired of living hand to mouth with you and come back to a real man. A man that could take good care of her right now,” Buck said in a braggadocios tone.
“You didn’t work for the riches you got. They were passed down from your grandfather. Yet for all of your riches, Annabelle still chose me. And for all of your sabotage, she continues to choose me every day. In fact, hard times have only drawn us closer.” Motega fought to hold his anger. He had to remain calm, lest he provoke his enemy to really get violent this time.
“I know you got your hooks in her real good. But she’ll come around eventually after you’re dead and gone. Matter fact, I need you dead and gone right now!” Buck said in a deadly serious tone. He threw his flask down and lifted the shotgun again.
Realizing too late that he’d underestimated his enemy’s level of desperation and the fake courage that was unique to excessive alcohol consumption, Motega lunged toward his own weapon to rightfully defend himself. It was propped behind the barn door. He put it there upon entering the barn since it sometimes got in the way when he tended to his animals. Now he just hoped he got to it in time.
“Uh-uh. You ain’t going nowhere but to hell,” Buck said maliciously. Then he cocked the shotgun and fired, shooting Motega square in the back.
© 2014 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier