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Bobby Fix-It Back in the Saddle: The Billy the Kid Chronicles Continue
Welcome Back to the Story That Will Not Die
It’s all your fault, you know. This series may have faded into literary oblivion if not for you and your insistence that I continue it.
And I am very grateful that you did insist because I continue to have a blast writing it.
What is it about anti-heroes and our love of them? As I’ve said many times, I am fascinated by the good vs bad that continually fight within us all, and Bobby/Billy certainly knows all about that personal battle.
So let’s see what our anti-hero is up to this week, shall we?
- Bobby Fix-It Delivers a Sermon: The Billy the Kid Chronicles Continue
Let's see what kind of trouble Bobby/Billy can get himself into this week.
My first novella featuring Billy the Kid
Nature Vs Nurture
Is a person born twisted, or do they become twisted because of the life they live and all of the influences bombarding them?
There was a kid back in the Heights when I was growing up. We called him Max Fly back then, as in “Max wouldn’t hurt a fly.” This was back when I was about ten, maybe eleven, working the streets, hustling the dime, looking to stay one step ahead of the cops. Anyway, Max was just another street rat, like me, but nicer, you know? He never said a bad word about anyone, wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful, always please, thank you, and the thing is, anyone else tried to act like that, he’d get the shit kicked out of him, but Max was so damned nice that people just left him alone.
Flash forward ten years and Max was sent up to Attica for life. One night Max came home, his girlfriend sleeping, and he drove an ice pick into her brain with a hammer. When the cops finally got there, Max was sitting on the bed, brushing his girlfriend’s hair, and singing “Jesus Loves Me.”
Nature or nurture?
That kind of shit keeps me awake many nights, and it don’t take a degree to understand why, me with what, eight kills? Nine? Were they justified? Were they necessary? Law-abiding citizens, sipping umbrella drinks out by the pool, will shake their heads and say there is no place for that kind of barbarism in today’s society, but those same citizens have never seen the aftermath of a pregnant sixteen year old gang-raped to death, or stare into the vacant eyes of a father after he shot his entire family because his wife forgot to pay the utility bill. Those kinds of things have a way of changing your thinking a bit.
So am I a stone-cold killer or just a guy who has seen too much shit and believes that mad dogs need to be euthanized with a nine-millimeter slug to the brain pan?
Lovely thoughts as the date approaches when Genna will give birth to our daughter. Two weeks and counting, as they say, all signs are good, all tests positive, our unnamed daughter is on schedule and looking healthy.
Our unnamed daughter….that’s the topic of discussion over breakfast. Genna wants it resolved as soon as the last of the yolk is gone from my plate.
“What do I know about naming kids, Genna? You know I’ll be fine with any name you come up with.”
“Billy, it makes no difference what you know or don’t know. This is our daughter. It took two to make her and it’s going to take two to name her. Now how about Maria?”
I was shaking my head while sopping up the last of the yolk. Time was running out.
“Maria sounds Italian. This is an Irish kid.”
“Billy, I hate to shock the shit out of you, but have you noticed I’m black? If she pops out of the oven looking like a dark chocolate candy bar, your insistence on an Irish name is moot, isn’t it?”
She had a point, but then so did I: this was way outside my comfort level.
“Genna, when you’re right, you’re right. Maria sounds perfect to me.” I immediately got up, took my plate to the sink, rinsed it off and kissed my chocolate candy bar on the forehead.
“Now that it’s all settled, I need to get to work. Matt said we had hay to haul today.”
I damn near made it out the door but the phone had other ideas.
That’s the problem with technology. It makes it easier for bad news to reach you.
Time to Fix a Problem
The call was from my fellow worker at the Circle T Ranch, Mike Duncan. He asked if I could leave for work a few minutes early and meet him at the Lazy Boots Café for coffee before work. I told him sure. There was something about the tone of his voice I didn’t like.
Mike’s a big kid, slim waist, broad shoulders, surfer blond hair, the type to drive young women nuts. Hell, I’ve seen quite a few older women looking his way when we were in town on errands, but they were all wasting their time because Mike was bat-shit crazy over his wife, Ella, as pretty a twenty-five year old as you are likely to find, cheerleader pretty, homecoming queen pretty, the kind of pretty you just want to wrap up with a bow and share with all the uglies of the world.
I found him in the back, corner booth. I nodded at Verna as I walked in. By the time I slid in the booth she was there with a cup of coffee, black, strong, just the way I like it. The yuppies can have their flavored mocha shit. I want my coffee capable of holding a spoon vertical and staining it black in the process.
“What’s up, Mike? What did you want to talk about?”
He was having a hard time looking me in the eye. That’s never a good sign.
“I’ve got problems, Bobby. I don’t know what to do and I thought, well, you know, maybe Bobby Fix-It would have a suggestion or two.”
“Let’s hear it.”
Evidently Mike got himself in a little trouble when he was eighteen, the kind of trouble that will squeeze a guy’s balls blue and have him crying for his mommy. To hear him tell it, he and a buddy were out joy-riding one hot summer night, drunk of course, and one thing led to another and his friend pulled into a convenience store for some smokes. The boys went into the store and Mike’s friend pulls out a gun and robs the place of a couple hundred dollars, then proceeds to pistol-whip the clerk.
“We fled the scene, Bobby, but some witness got my friend’s license plate number. My buddy was arrested, got sent up on an assault and robbery charge, but he never gave me up so I’ve skated on it all these years.”
I could see where this was heading and it wasn’t pretty.
“My friend’s name was….is….Max Piceen….anyway, he recently got out of prison. He called me the other night. He wants money he says he’s owed for those years in prison, says if I don’t pay him, he’s going to the cops and turn me in. Shit, Bobby, I don’t have that kind of money. And I told him that but he didn’t want to hear it, said if I didn’t come through not only am I going to prison but he’s going to take care of my wife after I’m sent away.”
By that point he had tears in his eyes.
“I don’t know what to do, Bobby. My wife, Ella, she doesn’t even know about this, and I honestly think Max would hurt her if I was arrested. He was always a crazy sonofabitch. Should I confront him about it? Should I turn myself in?"
A Rock and a Hard Place
So there it was. Guilt by association? Roll the dice and hope he doesn’t get craps? Put his trust in the legal system?
“I’m not a lawyer, Mike, but my guess is the statute of limitations falls into play here. I think enough time has passed by and you could skate on this with the law but….and this is a big but….if your friend is as crazy as you say, he’s not interested in turning you in. He wants his pound of flesh, either from you or Ella. Paying him money is just postponing the inevitable. He wants to kick someone’s ass and that’s the whole point of this.
“I don’t want you confronting him. That’s what he wants. Let me talk to him first and see if I can’t come to some arrangement with him. Did he give you a phone number?” Mike nodded. “Okay, give it to me and let me do my thing. If that doesn’t work we’ll move on to Plan B, but usually my thing is pretty persuasive.”
He gave me the phone number. I told him he could pay for my coffee and we went to work.
Genna was not going to be happy about this, not with two weeks before the birth, but what was I supposed to do, let a friend down? That’s just not my way.
Nature vs nurture….I knew my story. It was time to learn Max Piceen’s story and deal with it.
And I’ll See You Next Week
Oh my goodness, Bobby is about to dive into the deep end again. I’d say there’s a good chance that this guy, Max, is about to find out you don’t mess with the friend of Bobby Fix-It.
See you next week!
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)