General Fiction posted April 11, 2024 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 12... 

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Some things you've just got to know.

A chapter in the book Right in the Eye

Right in tthe Eye, ch 11

by Wayne Fowler

In the last part Slim and Mary were married.


“You know, Mary,” I started out, sittin’ in the chill on the porch with our coffee steamin’, the cups keeping our hands warm.

Mary waited me out.

“I’ve been thinkin’ a lot about the man that pulled me out of the rocks, off the mountain. Ben Persons. Nearly a hunnerd years ago an’ it’s like it was last week. Actually, take away the coma years and Ben was only a few months back.

“He talked to me all the while he took me to help. When he wasn’t talkin’, he was prayin’. You know? Like, to God, like he was his friend. Oh, he asked God to favor me quite a bit, but mostly he thanked him for this an’ that: his horse, the weather holdin’ out, the food he ate, ‘bout everything. And he quoted Bible right to God. Yeah, he did. Right from his head, reminded God what all he’d said and what all he’d promised. Like God needed remindin’. But it was good, not all high and mighty, but like between friends. Here’s some I remember: “God, you said you’d guide my steps, guide me with your counsel, be a lamp to my feet, you are my strength, who should I be afraid of.” I might not have it all right, but he’d go on, and on.

“Mary, I need to know who Ben was talkin’ to. I feel like my bein’ alive today is ‘cause of his prayin’.”

“I would too, Slim, like to know who he was praying to. I don’t believe you’ve been spared and cared for all these years just to enjoy my taters.”

We both laughed, spillin’ our coffee, the both of us.


Only way I knew to find Ben Persons’ God was to find Ben Persons. Mary was game. We both knew that Ben would likely be 110 or 120 years old. Most likely gone on. But if his prayers, if that’s what done it for me, could give me years, maybe that same power would do the same for him. But maybe too, that bullet in my brain was affecting the aging thing. We didn’t care. We would go up to Creede where we knew Ben was at one time.

“Some pretty rough roads up there,” I said.

Mary just smiled at me. I smiled back. I think the lazy part of my face might have smiled along with the good side. It felt like it, and was getting more tingly all the time. Anyway, I knew she was probably right, that the roads, even if dirt, were much improved over the last 80-90 years. I let her do the packing since I really had no idea how to do it. I did insist on the 30-30, though. The world would never be rid of varmints.

“How ‘bout the assay office?” I asked, thinking maybe Ben might have registered my claim in his name. Who wouldn’t? It had promise. Just bury them two scoundrels and start filling your pouch while digging for the vein.

“Won’t be any of those,” Mary said. “Big business, big mining just about took over. They have mineral rights pretty much sewed up.”

For a minute there I have to admit I was glad I’d brought the rifle.

I won’t be sharing this with Mary; I love her too much. But when she checked us into a room at a hotel that coulda been over a hunnerd years old… Oh my quiverin’ loins. I really thought I could be took back to the days of LouAnne. If I let it, my mind would see LouAnne checking us into a hotel.

“Are you okay?” Mary asked.

Her concern for my health might not be the same if she only knew that I was thinking about seeing her great grandmother naked and in my arms. I took a few deep breaths and thought about Mary, seein’ her for herself.

“Uh, yeah. Memories, I guess.”

Mary’s concern for me held on. We were gonna start in right off with our investigating, but decided to clean up and have a nap. Only we didn’t do no sleeping. Lord, have mercy. After a hunnerd an’ twenty years for things to just start working like this. Nobody’d believe it. But that’s all right; ‘cause we ain’t tellin’.

“No Persons in the phone book,” Mary said after she got dressed. “We’ll go to the library in the morning.”

“How ‘bout the livery, or what serves as one? Everybody’s horse gets shod, or what serves for horses. Every automobile needs somethin’.”

Mary nodded. “Okay…”

That word is beginning to get into my list of words… O.K. I knew about the OK corral, but we just didn’t use the initials like they was a word.

“… We’ll go to the garages first, since the library doesn’t open until nine.”

Since we got up so early, we decided to take a stroll through the graveyard. I was a little disappointed. There were a lot of plain rocks that served as markers where there might have been folks I knew underneath ‘em.

“Lotta babies,” I said.

“Sad, isn’t it? Still far too many that don’t live to be adults, even in this modern age of medicine,” Mary replied.

“Look Here!” I was really excited. “John D. Watson, 1821-1899. He was the sheriff here in Creede. I didn’t know him, but I knew who he was. I tried my hand just up there on Bachelor Loop. Watson was sheriff. I c’n almost see young Ben as a deputy. But I might just be wantin’ to, know what I mean? Like it ain’t a real memory.”

“Well, maybe they have historical records at the sheriff’s office. We’ll add that to our investigation.”

I felt a pull to a modest stone with the name Howard Jones, 1828- 1902, but had no recollection at all. The same with one for Rev. Lester Parnell, 1856-1928, to the same result.

We were through with the graveyard. Then while we walked past one that our heads must’ve been turned from the first time by, there it was Benjamin Persons, ‘A Good Man’ 1861-1886. I was torn up, sobbin’ inside. 25 years old. And not long after he helped me. But somethin’ wasn’t right. The pull I had at other stones wasn’t there. That was too odd.
“Could we keep on with our investigatin’?” I asked Mary.

“Slim, we didn’t expect he’d still be alive, right?”

I finally said no, but she knew I didn’t mean it.

After looking at every stone and marker, we drove to the two garages. One was owned by a man named Jon Tolsen, but he was in a nursing home in Alamosa. Wouldn’t do no good to go there, though. He was in for some kind of dementedness. Didn’t know his own name.

“Yes, ma’am, yes sir. J.D. Watson was the sheriff from 1866 to 1889. Our photo gallery pictures only go back to 1899, though. There’s no record here if he retired, or was voted out. And there’re no records at all of deputies. Maybe at the library?”

Mary thanked the officer and we headed for the library. Funny word. Hard for me to say like Mary does. Most ever’body just makes one r in it: libary. The manager gave us a Creede history book that we could only look at inside the libary.  

“It looks like it’s vanity press, Slim. So it isn’t going to be official, somebody named Sylvia Adams. I’m sure she did her best, but no one had to tell her the truth.”

We sat down at a table to look it over. Trouble was, I was just a passin’ though prospector. Names didn’t mean hardly nothin’ to me. There were a few old pictures, but you couldn’t hardly make nothin’ out. The portraits were all strangers to me. We didn’t see the name Persons anywhere. And then we did. A whole chapter about him and three others going after a man named Salinger, Mason Salinger. That was where Ben died, in a cave-in that killed him and Salinger, both. It was a big deal for the town. Sylvia Adams said the church had a big revival starting with his memorial service.

There wasn’t any more about Ben, of course, since he was dead. The last page of the book gave the author’s address. Guess where we were headed next.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. Wayne Fowler All rights reserved.
Wayne Fowler has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.