Silver Hole

Ike sprawled headlong into a silver hole. Bitter taste of bad alcohol poked fun at his muted senses. His forehead crunched against forge fresh horseshoe.

“Walk to the light,” insisted a distant soft voice.

Secure in his whiskey lined prison, the pain melted away. He reached for his revolver and fired at the invisible enemy.

“I ain’t a’coming, you varmin,” he slurred.

As the walls grew arms which held him down, an angel flew towards him saying, “This is your life,” and held out an open hand. “I can save you.”

Ike stared at the object proffered on the palm; a used bullet.

“That ain’t no use to me. I want another drink and a fancy woman; I’d rather go to hell than heaven,” he replied, struggling against his bonds.

The angel’s hand pressed the squashed base metal slug to the front of his skull and then withdrew it. “Today you are blessed.”

Ike now saw his gnarled reflection in a new shiny bullet; the leaden end as polished as a mirror.

The angel picked up a bucket, throwing the contents towards him. Ike closed his eyes, preparing for a deluge of molten lead to engulf his face, yet instead finding ice cold reality, streaked with warm blood, stinging his senses.

“Lucky bastard,” said the angel, slapping him across the cheek.

Ike opened his eyes to see the warts on Doc Wilson’s face. The man pulled away and lit his clay pipe. Calloused hands let go of his arms and two burly ranch hands mumbled to the Doc before leaving the room.

“Don’t pull that gun cotton out of your face wound for a couple of days, boy. Never seen a critter come back from a shot between the eyes before. Ah guess you’ll be needing another drink. Don’t lean over or you’ll spill the liquor out the top of your head,” he laughed and with a blood stained hand, Doc Wilson placed a bottle onto his lap.

Ike stared at the whiskey before watching the Doctor toss a flattened metal object into the spittoon. It looked familiar. He struggled to focus his drunken vision and spotted the angel’s bullet; his bullet. It landed with a clang; the same noise he heard landing at the bottom of the silver hole.

“No siree, Doc. Get me the preacher. I’m going to church for the first time in my life…”

— John McGinn

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