Card Cheat – 3

This is a ‘dictated story’ written how I heard it spoken in my head with improper English. (1700 or 1800s)

Damn, these new boots are killing me!  I sure as hell don’t like lying in the dirt like this none, either.  Ain’t right. Something’s wrong here.  Kinda peaceful, though. Bet I killed him, right between the eyes. Mustva fallen over.  Damn, what the hell is this! I can’t move nothin. Hey, my foot just fell aside. I’ll just get up and brush off this dirt, saddle up and move on.  No way that bastard’s gonna call me a card cheat.p

Well oh well. Look at that. There’s blood running from my body from about, let me count em, one on the chest, up on my right shootin arm, through my palm, that’s three. Then there’s something down by my privates. Four. Aw, hell, he got my balls, the bastard!  Five. Just a second. I hear some boots approaching.  Me eyes are wide open, looking at the sucker. Just a second. Who’s thinkin’ now? I’m a seeing my body laid out on the ground, better smile so he’ll be friendly and all.  Ain’t like he really needs to shoot me again. All he has to do is stand there and watch me die.

Holy shit! What kind of mess did I get myself into now! He’s a-gonna raise that damn hot gun at me. It’s already got the hell fire of death smokin on it and now he’s a raisin it to my head, and me thinks this is what they all call dyin.

Seems like someone just went for coffee.  I’ll be up and running, just like the last time.  Women sure like a man who’s down and out. Fix ‘im up and all.  Ain’t no one done fixed me up for a long, long time.  Them family jewels of mine ain’t never gonna be used again. Not in any way I can say was worth it. Let the blood seep out.  Kinda like watching me seed….

Damn, damn, damn! Now’s the damn dame is telling me I do have a son! She sure picked the wrong time. Ain’t my business. I paid for the night. God knows, couldve been anyone of a hundred.  Oh shit, now she’s making the son of a bitch stand in front of me. Boy, she sure dolled herself down! What a looker she’d been. Didn’t want to go near me. Finished as fast as she wanted.  Hell, me being a virgin and all you’d think she’d given me more than the time of day she did. 

Well by golly, she’s as surprised to meet me as I am to sees this fruit of my loins.  Well damn it, family, set me up! I’m a having trouble moving.

The kid thinks I’m god arisen from the dead. 

“Go git,” she hollers at me son. Puts her hand over her mouth again. I reach out my hand to reach the boy, but she smacks it right hard. 

“I just wanna see what he looks like,” I whimper. I know me blood is goin and I don’t wanna waste any energy yellin it away.

“Bad news. He looks like you.  Shouldov looked like anybody else but you. See you got yourself dead now. Better than comin back this way.  Didn’t know it was yous. I’m sure ain’t gonna tell the boy his daddy got himself killed cheatin’ at cards.”

“Yeah, and don’t forget to tell him his momma’s a two bit whore too!”

She smacked my face then! Why, that stung! Worse than those damn five bullets.

“A woman’s gotta do what’s a woman’s gotta do to live,” she said.  “I was a decent woman until I answered that mail order bride ad out East.  He beat me so I shot him and walked far, far away. Circling towns til I knew no word of mouth would find me. Being a ladies’ man wasn’t so bad.”

I looked about the room then. Was a bit better than the last place I’d been. Mud houses in Kansas.  This place was back East to me.

“I own it, fair and square,” she declared. 

Damn, she wasn’t gonna say anything more. “Ain’t the talkative type, gal?”

Her eyes ran up and down me, “I ain’t talking. I’m thinkin. My son’s got this bellyaching about his daddy and just woke from some nightmare. I’m fixin to tell him the truth but seein you here, I better make him up one of those fine stories you made up to me. Silver tongue devil.”

“Hell, lady, I’s only with you one time! Yous atalkin as if we were married or something!”

“I don’t know ya. I don’t want him to know ya, nor do I want him to know how’s I got this here farm. Gambling with your marked cards. That’s why yous lying on the ground, kid. Punk. I took them cards of yours and you just moved on and on and on. Didn’t know yous was so good at playin’ cards, didnja?

Well heck, that explained a lot! There I was on a winning streak, keeping them special cards in my back pocket. Then the luck ran out, and I reached for them cards, and they didn’t do their trip in this here new town. That’s a why I’m lying out here in the moonlight, a waiten to get up.

“You’s ain’t gonna git up,” the woman is sayin – can’t remember her name. Probably had one, but heck, how’s a man gonna remember everything a woman says when he’s got business on his mind?

She’s standin over me. I’m a-layin on the ground. Hey, ain’t this a carpet I’m layin on! Why I’ll be damned, she sure made good!

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“Farming.  The kid wants to leave the farm and go to town. A big town, He ain’t got no sense. I’m a-gonna tell him youse died. Ain’t no sense in thinkin his momma was a whore and his daddy was a cheat.”

“Hell woman, that kid’s probably got himself a hundred daddies!  You gonna tell him each of his daddy’s stories an’ lies?”

She smashed her leg into my ribs. Boy, she don’t like the truth nothin, no how.

“Youse got yourself 55 cards in that damn deck. Don’t matter none how many men I had up my creek! Youse the one that made me a momma so I reformed.  Hell, I think I’m a gonna cut my hair off and take this damn son of mine and go West. Make me into a man since you all think women are so useless. Yep, that’s what I’m a gonna do. We’ll go travelling like the damn kid wants. Heck it’s the dream I gave him, cooing over him….”

“Wish to hell you’d coo over me seeing as this is my last day on earth.”

She looked down at me. “Aint’ your last day on earth – just the beginning of your first day innit.”

“Hey, Gil,” she called to our son. The boy came in, all bright and ready to please. Then he sees me lying on the carpet, a bleeding my life away. Damn! What the hell is she doin now! Kicking me again right before me son’s eyes!

“This here is your father, son. I knose we all a dreamin, so it’ll be just like last night’s nightmare.”

My son looks just like me as he stares into my eyes, then slowly lets our eyes travel down me body, lookin at all the holes innit.

The son looks at his momma.  He’d seen her kick me. He ain’t happy about that.  He’s agonna avenge me! Go for it, son, you knock that damn whore on her ass….What the hell, manohman…

“Don’t you go callin me ma a whore. She explained all that to me, but forgot she done that.”

She was cuttin her hair. What a hard woman! Ain’t an ounce of softness in her heart.

“Hey, Gil,” I says, youse gonna bury me right?  Some Christian prayers and all?”

Just a kid. Soon a man.  “Okay,” he says. “Least I won’t kick you again. But you and the likes of you done hurt my mother. Ain’t no way I’m a gonna give YOU what you want, takin her life, her dignity away.  She’s a gonna turn all that behind her, and we’s gonna go out West, like two grown men. In fact, she ain’t never gonna say your name again, as if she’d knowed it from a dream like I will.  We’re gonna find the town where’s you done played your last game and, and we’s gonna walk right over your dead spot. No, you ain’t gettin no grave, no tears, no prayers.  Youse dead.  And I’m hers, not yurs.”

I-s gonna talk about giving him birth from my family jewels, and rail against him for not being a good son, but heck, even I’s can feel the blood comin out of my nuts.

Here I am, lying still. Is it sunlight or midnight? I can’t recall. Damn, he’s a-raisin’ that there gun again.

“Cocky son of bitch,” he says.  God, if I hadn’t heard that enough in response to my Irish smile.  Damn, ain’t working on the son of a bitch. Here comes that damn last bullet. Wish I could catch it in my teeth, but it’s headin for me head!  Oh well, guess my ma and pa were right to throw me out of town when I first burned that guy’s barn down.  My only regret now?  Wish I had-a visit me a lot more women and left a lot more sons behind.  Seems leavin sons behind is all a man’s suppose to do. Oh, shit! It’s a comin through my thick skull.  Well my ol’ man said I had a thick skull.  Here’s hoping me son learns to cheat at cards better than I did!

Photo by Midhun Joy on

I have no idea where this story came from! Yes, I am dyslexic. I did find one of my male ancestors in the USA died at the age of 30 while most others died of old age.

Please try and read it as written. ‘Proper English’ developed slowly. My father, from southern rural Illinois said ‘ain’t’ while my first generation Irish mother corrected him and us all the time. Ain’t now seems to appear mostly in lyrics in songs.

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