The Man With No Face

Submitted into Contest #204 in response to: Write a story about someone seeking revenge for a past wrong.... view prompt


Western Black African American

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Warning: Contains graphic scene and language

“See the thing with a n— like me is that n—-s are confused as to if I am really a n—- n—-uh or a just a plain ol’ albino n—--. And I ain’t gon beat ‘rund the bush no mo’. If your boy haddn dun this 90 years go … f—-in slang my brain with that chayain and fry ma face over the grill like a charred hickory ol’ babacue sauce man… f— no. I ain’t square dancin here nay neithuh I am tap dancin’. I came for his rusty a— and I want that m—----ers head on a nice ol dish… nuh scratch that on a silver platter of one of them Elizabethan silver sterlin marks.”

Ernie stared at him for fifteen seconds as he vented in front of the counter where a glass separated them at the saloon. Clearly the gentleman had much on his plate. And yes, he is right. You couldn’t tell if he is black or had skin-color disorientation behind the partial covering of a bandanna facemask under a Stetson hat. 

Thing is things have changed. It is no longer 1887 of wild, wild West. People have settled down and the town is starting to heal. As a sheriff, Ernie can’t possibly let it all loose like a free-for-all buffet down at the Vinny’s. People have families. Jobs. Past no longer holds them in guilt manacles. 

“All cuz uh wat? Cuz y’all found yassef a n—-. A n—-- on a leash. That won’t listen to nunna yar bullshat even though half o yo’ life you had his uncle tortured, maimed, brutalized, mayhemed and what not like a f—-in a man in an iron maiden ni—a. N—--! All cuz of his what? Skin coloh?  And then when someone like me had the nerv… AUDACITY to interject. INTERVENE. Is that good’ enuff for you? Is that EDUCATED ‘nuff for you you illiterate n—--s…. When he had the… or as we say down south cojones to stick his neck up…. You scorched his face. You scoundrels scarred him for life. 

“Now this n—-- can’t get no jooub. No p—---y. No f—----in bank ‘ccount. Nothin’. Nada.”

“You have some balls to come here and speak like this in front of my children.” The man with the bronze face wearing a bushy mustache finally couldn’t hold it together. His voice boomed and the whole room turned around. It is clear who held the authority here. 

Old Billy Wily, or also known as the Faceless Man, The Man With No Face or The Fastest Draw in Texas kept rambling on. Yes it is true: he is probably the only black person in town. And it is also true, by the time Sheriff Ernie Rodriguez can even think of reaching for his holster, the man could easily split his skull in an eye blink.

It takes less than a second for a Rosette-Nosed Pygmy Chameleon to flick its tongue at a prey at 8,500 feet. In that same instance, Old Billy Wily can shatter the glass partition with the bullet spinning at enough angular momentum for a hollow point damage to Ernie whose misfire will cue the chandelier and the drip pan that will befell on a wretched witch who would get what she deserved for being the insufferable shrew that she has been for the last two years to Lil’ David Tim…. -  as well as turn around to render incapacitate the furthest two guardsman as well as Mean Nick sitting at the corner behind Nacogdoches Gazette and burst through the barn door, leap on his Quarter Horse and ride to the dust-bowl trail to an incoming locomotive within a 5 second precision of synchrony.

“You are hurting my child.” Ernie was old enough to possess the wisdom to know when to yield and diffuse the situation. “The past has been past. ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don't forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ ” He paused. “I believe you are a man of scripture?”

“That I am.” Billy conceded. “That..I a..m.” He spoke slowly. As if pondering a deep, Gordian riddle. 

“Look,” Ernie intuited he had an opening… “I can’t bring the person for you. Besides it will take days to dig up the old records. I reckon, why don’t I take you to Father Smith over there… and you may unburden your soul, my son.”

“F—- that. I ain’t doin’ nunna that. I want that m—---ers head… and I want him now. And his name… his NAME is Lil Johnny Jims… or as his friends called him “Bonez”. Thass right. His name Johnny “Bonez” Jims. How F—--- difficult is it to dig that up?”

“Look man I am trying to help you here.”

“Goddamn right you are partner. And guess howut? Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.”

“What the hell is that ‘posed to mean?”

“I ma show you what that’s ‘psed to mean…n—a!”

Having said that Old Billy Wily zoomed past the doors and started walking as his dark colt slowly cantered on behind him with the elegance of a dressage. People were walking by as no one hardly bothered to pay attention. Although people knew there was a newcomer in town, most were busy with their day-to-day lives to express any concern. Some politely nodded and doffed their hats; Old Billy Wily kept waltzing on. 

He soon came by a solitary yew that guarded a white steeple which stood against the backdrop of distant mountains like a castle. Billy tied Breezy by a wooden bollard and idled inside the church. He walked past the pews and found himself in the confessional. 

He sat motionless for few seconds. And finally began. Began his saga. How his uncle Jim died an unfair death, how he was tortured and brutalized and left stranded in an ocean of Time only to hold on a barge of splinters and wooden fragments of a broken psyche all tempered, galvanized and honed like a harpoon for an one-pointed mission - a mission in life- to avenge the injustice. The injustice that plagued this country and yet far too often people assume one must take the high road of compassion and forgiveness shrugging it off.

“You are hurting my son.” The Father echoed what the sheriff figured out. “It is best to forgive.”

“Hah! Forgiveness. Forgiveness Father?” Old Billy spat and scoffed. His mouth salivated with spite and contempt. “And what good has that ever wrohought ‘xaccly, Father?”

“Jesus suffered way worse. As did Joseph. And Noah. And Moses. I can go on and on. Scripture is replete with benevolence triumphing over evil.”

“Oh cut it Father. Cut it.” 

“And what exactly will you do to him once you find this… certain Jimmy?”

“I am gun slit his head right out and then make them Maoris play boyol with’m. Is that good enough response for you Father? Is that GOOD ENOUGH RESPONSE FOR YOU FATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Old Billy Wily exploded. He shot up straight from his seat and beat his chest like a gorilla. His eyes were about to pop off and his neck veins about to tear. Suddenly his whole body contorted like a voodoo doll. He clutched his heart and the man with more than thirty years of experience of gun-slinging intuitively reached for his 7.63mm Mannlicher. Yet, the fastest draw to ever live could hardly make a thimble contact with the ice-cold steely component in his belt. 

He fell on the floor on his back with the head cracking half open as he landed. Blood immediately coagulated as the Father got up, touched his rosary and made a sign of cross in the air. 

“Anger is a sin, my son.”

Little did Old Billy Wily know that within three-feet distance of his was the very man who tortured him for years. 

June 26, 2023 02:25

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