Wednesday, December 4, 2013

 

"Don't You Go Get Yourself Killed,"

Pages 260-262

 
 
     Upon hearing the crash of musketry, Elisha Jones had hastily left his cellar, where he and his family had told Bible stories and played improvised games. Through his second story bedroom window he had a clear sight of the redcoat retreat. The wounded were beginning to pass before him. Determined to bring down one or two, he eased his musket’s long barrel out the window.
     His first mark approached. A ball had torn into the soldier’s left thigh. The redcoat was hopping, using his musket as a crutch. He stopped. Grimacing, he doubled over, surrounded his wound with his hands.
     Holding his breath, Jones touched his musket’s trigger.
     A heavy blow jarred the weapon from his grasp. It clattered on the floorboards.
     “Don't you go get yourself killed, y'old fool!” his wife hissed.
     She stood indomitably before him.
     Her conduct astonished him. He stared at her a full ten seconds. Blood thumped at the base of his throat.
     He thought to retrieve the musket; he stooped to grasp it; stepping over it, she jarred his head with her right leg. Anger radiated. After he had straightened, had thoroughly looked at her, his anger subsided. “All right,” he said gruffly.
     He walked toward the bedroom door.
     “Where are you going?” she questioned.
     “T'the shed! I want t'watch 'em!” he said resentfully.
     “You'll do nothing more?”
     “No!”
     Standing by the side of the shed, he watched two soldiers, close together, hobble past. They hadn’t gotten nearly enough! How he wanted his musket!
     Another stopped in front of the house. Leaning on his musket barrel, the regular raised his bloody shoe.
     “Get along with you, lobsterback!” Jones shouted.
     The soldier located him. He steadied himself.
     Jones returned the soldier's hateful stare. “They should'a shot you dead!”
     Raising his musket waist high, the soldier fired. Jones saw the brilliant flash, heard simultaneously a heavy thump. A coarse substance showered his hair and coat.
     The soldier turned. Using the musket to support his weight, he left.
     Staring at the hole in his shed, three feet to the right of and three inches above his head, Jones scowled.