When they came for him, he knew what he had to do…run!
Quaker farm-boy James Deeter escapes west ahead of Union Army recruiters, “aiming to look manly aboard my Appaloosa horse, long hair flying free from under a wide-brimmed, rawhide sombrero, a couple of six-shooters on my hips and a plains rifle dangling from a brass-tacked saddle.”
Instead, Deeter lands smack in the middle of the bloody guerilla war along the Kansas-Missouri border, an even greater affront to human decency than the Civil War itself, and a shock to Deeter’s pacifist upbringing.
To save his life, Deeter rides with rebel leaders William Quantrill, “Bloody Bill” Anderson, and the teen-aged James and Younger brothers.
To save his soul, he tries not to hurt anybody…
Which works for about a minute.
Can Deeter reconcile his peace-loving faith with his participation in some of the most violent episodes in American history?
Can he even survive?
His horse doesn’t think so.
“This is ridiculous!” Bloody Bill repeated and he drew his pistol to reinforce the point. He aimed at Zeke.
“No!” I screamed.
“We ain’t takin’ anybody don’t have all their parts,” Bloody Bill stated.
“Now wait a minute,” George Shepherd, the one-eyed guerilla leader replied, taking offense, pulling his pistol.
“Aw, Shepherd, I didn’t mean you,” Bloody Bill said, the closest to an apology anybody ever heard Bloody Bill utter.
“Stop it, all of you!” Quantrill ordered. “Help the boy on his horse.”
A couple of guerillas saddled Zeke’s horse and pushed him on. He sat there, one foot in the stirrup, ready to ride.
“But if you fall off,” Quantrill said to Zeke, “we ain’t stopping to put you back on. You understand that?”
“Let’s ride to Lawrence,” Zeke replied and everyone went “shhh” again.
“Okay, let’s ride!” Quantrill ordered.
So we rode out, Quantrill in the lead, me right behind with that guerilla flag like it was a parade. Behind were the other guerilla leaders and their men. Bolten and Frank James flanked Zeke and when he started to slide off his saddle, they pushed him back on without Quantrill seeing it.
The Hansen dogs caught up with us after awhile and to my chagrin, they carried Zeke’s leg in their teeth.
“What’s that your dogs have got?” Quantrill inquired.
“Looks like a bone,” Jesse James said.
“Looks like a leg!” Bloody Bill shouted out. “Hey, Zeke! Ain’t that your leg?”
Zeke looked puzzled at the leg. Frank James and Bolten looked puzzled at me.
“You give Zeke’s leg to your dogs, Smith?” Frank asked, a little shocked.
“No! I buried it!” I shot back. “And said a little prayer and marked the grave.”
“Must of dug it up,” Bloody Bill said and started chuckling. In fact, everybody started laughing right then at my expense. I looked at Zeke, knowing he was hurt by his leg showing up like that because I hadn’t buried it deep enough. But Zeke was laughing too! Despite the fact he was pale as a sheet and looked ready to die, he thought the whole thing mighty funny. In fact, he laughed so hard, he fell right off his horse.
DAVE EISENSTARK BIO:
Dave Eisenstark has been writing professionally and working in the film industry in various capacities for more years than he actually remembers. Nine of his feature film scripts have been produced, including the award-winning comedy Monkey Love (starring Jeremy Renner) and the horror classic Creepozoids.
Like film producer George Lucas, Dave graduated with a degree from USC Cinema; unlike Mr. Lucas, everything else.
Dave’s first novel, The Video Killer, is probably vile, tasteless trash, but possibly amusing, and currently available from Spanking Pulp Press.
Dave was born in Kansas, grew up in Kansas, and received his BA in English Literature from the University of Kansas. His interest in the Missouri/Kansas border war stems from that early exposure.
Dave now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, a production sound mixer on major motion pictures. His daughter resides in Beijing.
Yes, he has pets, who asked not to be mentioned.
For all things “Dave,” go here:
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