"Dallas, Texas. November, 1963. One rifle. One man. But who?"
I don't care if you believe it to be bullshit or the truth. Fact is, I don't care if you live or die. I don't know you, and I know you don't know me. Nobody knows me. And even if we had met, I wouldn't give a shit. In fact, you would most likely be much better off never having met or heard tell of me at all. Still, I don't care one way or another.
What I do know and what I do care about is; there's a lot of you out there that would like to know the truth. At least my part of the truth.
Even I don't know everything, and I'm taking most of it to my grave. Except for this. And you can read it or burn it or even wipe your ass with it, for all it concerns me at this point. Like I said, I don't give a shit, and I mean that in the most utter sense of the word.
Because, if you're seeing this at all, I'm already dead. I'm rarely wrong when I guess, and I guess that they found me two weeks gone to the flies and rats, festering like a fat bag of puss on a stained mattress. I guess they only found me because of the stench. Am I right? We'll see. That is, YOU'll see. Ha ha.
At any rate, you can't get to me now. You know who you are.
I'm past caring at this point, and, if any of you bastards outlived me, I hope somebody reads this and really believes, if only so you get yours, however late in the day. They always said it was all too big to keep secret. You always said that it's the big lies that survive. Well, maybe you're right. Again, we'll see.
Could be, it's the big truth that survives. And this is the big truth. At least, as much of it as I witnessed. I think, if you read a bit further, you'll find that I witnessed most of what counts.
It was November fifteenth, nineteen sixty three. I remember the exact date so clearly. After you hear the rest, you'll understand why.
By then, I was ten years out of Korea, give or take, and I was working ostensibly as a landscaper in Phoenix, Arizona. Hell, I was xeroscaping decades before the faggot hippies in Southern California decided it was 'hip'. But the landscaping bit was just a cover. I kept a few undocumented aliens busy moving cacti and shoveling colored pebbles, but my real work was of a more sanguine nature.
For instance, I took a little trip down to Cuba one night with a couple of hundred of my closest pals, and damned near ended up staying for the rest of my short life. Before that, I was stirring up the towel-heads in Iran, and before that it was bananas in Central America. Frozen Chosin wasn't the last place I pulled a trigger on a living man, let me tell you. In fact, it wasn't the first, either.
It seems I've been pulling triggers on man or beast from the moment I was old enough to raise a rifle. I killed my first buck at eight years. Then I cleaned, dressed and damned near ate the thing by myself. My father was there, of course, to get me started, but he could never have taken a bullet so far. Few men on earth have done with a bullet what I have done.
But I'm not here to tell you my whole damned story. For the most of it, I'll just say that I done a lot of what's right, and I done a lot more of what's wrong. Some of it keeps me awake at night. Some of it helps me sleep better. Lots of it rests in my mind in a sort of red, murky pool, because most of it swims in blood. My blood. Their blood. Maybe even your blood, in some disconnected fashion.
After all, I pulled a trigger on one man in Texas and damned near burned down the whole world. We fought more than one war over it. Many of you have known brothers and sons and husbands and fathers lain low by a single bullet let loose by this finger that writes these words.
So maybe you want to know why. Well, I can't tell you that, not really. I can guess at that, but then so can you.
What I CAN tell you is the how of it all. And maybe the how will be enough.
If I'm the only one that pulls a stunt like this, I guess it will have to be enough. Like me, you ain't got no choice in the matter. No choice whatsoever. You take it, or you leave it. You buy it, or you turn your nose.
And, like I said, I don't give a shit one way or another. So this is how it happened . . .
On November fifteen, nineteen sixty three, I was sitting behind the wheel of my Ford sedan watching the sun come up over the blood red hills east of Phoenix and waiting impatiently for a man. Between my legs lay a lukewarm cup of coffee and a military issue A-1 .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, fully loaded, hammer back. On the car seat beside me lay a folded newspaper, open to the classifieds. I had not circled the add, but it stood out just the same. It was the only one in the landscaping section in all bold, all capital letters. And it was the only one without a company name or telephone number. All it contained was a date, and a time.
I knew I had the right day. So I checked the time.
Five minutes early. I watched a dust cloud race down the dirt road toward me.