The Last Dead Thing You'll Ever See
On the evening of July 20, 1969 Wallace and Pawtrey and a couple of six packs were riding around in Wallace's 1947 Ford truck, aimlessly zigzagging the old county roads, trying to think up a crime that might buy them some decent liquor.
One of the truck's headlights was dead.
"I have half a mind to jacklight a deer," said Wallace.
"We don't need meat," said Pawtrey. "We need whisky."
Wallace didn't say anything.
"Look at that," said Pawtrey, as they rounded a turn and jackpines fell away to reveal a clearing illuminated by moonlight.
"Look at what?"
"The moon," said Pawtrey. "They's astronauts on it."
"Don't mean nothing," said Wallace.
"What do you mean it don't mean nothing?" said Pawtrey.
"Those fellas are fools."
"Ain't nothing up there to take."
"We don't know that. You don't know. The damn thing could be solid gold."
"Fool's gold," said Wallace. He cracked open a rapidly warming beer, took a swallow.
They passed a lit up house. It was nothing to write home about, a shotgun shack with a screened in wooden porch and in need of a coat of paint, bad.
"We should rob these people," said Wallace.
"They don't look to have nothing," said Pawtrey. "Except maybe a gun."
"Fuck all," said Wallace. He pulled the truck to the side of the road and cast a baleful glance out his side window at the moon, as if hoping to catch a glimpse of the little invisible idiots walking around up there.
"Why are we stopping?" said Pawtrey.
"I told you," said Wallace. "I want to take something from these people. I want to walk into their lives and take whatever is they want to keep."
"So that's how it's going to be," said Pawtrey.
"If they have a dog, I aim to shoot it," declared Wallace.
"Your soul's blacker than a nigger parade," said Pawtrey.
"I am what the Creation made me," said Wallace.
They sat for a moment.
"You're serious," said Pawtrey.
"If they's a man and wife I intend to shoot the wife. Then say to the man, 'That's the last dead thing you'll ever see.'"
"Ugliness," said Pawtrey. "So much ugliness."
"It is what it is," said Wallace.
They both looked at the moon. There were men on it. That was surely a miracle, or something.