Bob Thomas: Duel In the Sun
I pulled myself into the small cave with my dog Rascal, and tried to be as quiet as possible. I had been wounded two or three times . . .nothing serious, just flesh wounds in the arms and shoulder. That darn Apache was a deadly shot, but not if we were both running for our lives!
As I lay there, trying to control my breathing and be as invisible as I could, Rascal was not! He was thumping his tail against the floor and panting like a locomotive! I was sure he could be heard for miles and would give away our hiding place . . . even though the smell in here was almost unbearable, I didn’t want to be shot again!
The cave smelled like an animal had been living here for years and, I’m pretty sure, was infested with fleas, ticks and other creepy crawly critters! But I had been running for hours, diving behind every bush and tree I could find to avoid the deadly accurate gun fire of the Apache’ scout.
For some reason he and I found ourselves left alone in the West Texas bad lands. We had met briefly this morning . . . warily trusting each other until we could feel each other out and establish the ground rules for our day together. Then he fired the first shots in an effort to get the jump on me, luckily only wounding me, and we were deadly enemies! Our only goal was to kill each other, or die trying!
As I regained my strength and slowed my pounding heart, I heard a sound outside the entrance to the cave! I cocked my trusty nickel plated, pearl handled Colt 45 and held it towards the entrance. I waited a moment, until I thought he was close enough, and shoved it out the entrance, pulled the trigger three times, and shouted BANG! BANG! BANG! YOU’RE DEAD!
I heard a blood curdling scream, not at all “Apache’ like”, more like an honest to God “dying kid” kinda’ scream! The scream became a high pitched, glass breaking, siren like wail! I looked out the door of the dog house and saw my friend Butch lying of the ground holding his face with both hands and blood running down his face into his ear! He was now screaming “YOU POKED MY EYE OUT”, as he got up and ran towards the back door to his Mother’s waiting arms.
She examined him closely and diagnosed his wounds as “Just a cut on the bridge of your nose”! After he had his face washed, band-aid applied and liberal amounts of Coke poured down him, he was O.K.
We lay on our backs on the front porch for a few minutes and stared at the trees. I said, “You wanna play “Iwo Jima”? Butch said, “Yea, but you have to be the Jap this time, and I’ll be John Wayne”! I said “O.K.” It was, after all, his tenth birthday!
I grabbed my gun and ran into the caves of Iwo Jima, screaming “YOU MISSED ME YANKEE DOG” as Butch got off a couple of quick shots from his stick. . .uh, Bazooka! I didn’t feel very lucky though. . . he had the highly trained K-9 dog on his side!