‘No’, I answered as the captain asked if I wanted a cigarette. I don’t smoke, it’s bad for the lung.
‘No’, again, said I when asked if I would prefer the blindfold.
Seven riflemen stood just thirty-three feet away, six loaded guns one with a blank. I’d always thought that was a nice touch for firing squads; every shooter could live within the shadow of doubt that his shot was not the fatal one into the placid target. Killers were recruited for this duty; snipers, those with no certain distaste for the unemotional chore.
They were a precise lot who had marched me to the slow drumbeat to where I now stood at the post. Then on command precisely stepped into their own place eleven yards from me. The disciplined manner in which they moved meant not a man would miss his target.
With a tinge of respect in his eyes Cap‘n asked if I should like to be tied or could I be depended on to stand up? I will stand, as I always have facing life’s tests.
He was doing his duty as he saw it, as I had done mine; he saluted smartly and I snapped one back to him. “God take you” he said with a whisper before he marched himself to the end of the rank of resting rifles. Other than the color of our different uniforms, we both were simple sons of the same sagebrush.
Now I heard the final sounds; ‘Ready’ Cap’n cried as seven rifles chambered their rounds.
It could have easily been he on the post instead of me, our only differences were those politically.
‘Aim’ the next command rang clear, I’d not changed my mind with eternity so near and here, I stood for what I thought.
An eagle drifting alone in the clear blue skies finally diverted me from the shooters eyes until it flew lazily into the sun; the drums stopped.
Written by Lonesome George
Categories: Tales from Lonesome George
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