“God,” I muttered prayerfully while mentally preparing to kiss my butt goodbye during the nightly mortar and rocket attacks, “if you’ll get me home, I’ll spend the rest of my life as a man of peace.”
He brought me home intact, and true to my word, I hung up my guns and tried to live my life peaceably with all men.
But some men won’t let you live in peace. No, they’ve got to put the spurs to you and mess with your calm. It disturbed me to break my word to Almighty God, but I figured even He knew that some people just needed killing. Heath Carlton was such a man, and he needed killing in the worst kind of way.
I ain’t a violent man. Even when I went to war for this country, I tried my level best not to hurt the innocent. My daddy would say that we have an obligation to protect those pure of heart. I tried.
After a decade warring, I retired. Came home. Bought a house out in the middle of nowhere and quietly lived a simple life. As it is won’t to do, trouble came looking for me.
And still, I did my best to avoid it. My best wasn’t enough to contain it.
The Carlton family, a bunch of clannish rednecks from deep in the holler, had more money than sense and had a temper to match their lack of intelligence. Pa Carlton, proud patriarch of the violent, inbred bunch of Nazi-wannabes, loved to fight. At 75, he would knuckle up with anyone. He boasted that he could knock out anyone within ten seconds. All the locals feared him, and none doubted his boast.
He fathered three sons Pa Junior, Tater, and Timmy. His pride and joy in life though was his daughter, Pamela. The boys were hard to handle in a group, but Pamela was a whole-other story.
From grade one, Pamela had fought her way through school. She had the permanently busted lips and missing teeth to prove it. The scary part though, she had a brain, and she wasn’t afraid to use it.
Pamela graduated at the top of her class, went to college and graduated with a degree in Criminology. She singlehandedly put the Carlton family at the top of the heap.
Under her guidance, the Carlton’s ran roughshod over the town of Fredericksburg until I showed up. In the midst of me trying to keep my promise to the man upstairs, another war found its way to my doorsteps.
Forgive me Father for I will sin.