Come Hell or High Water

I haven’t written a short story in ages, but for some reason I’m feeling a bit creative today. I used to write a lot of them, before my good friend, Kellie Elmore, decided she wanted to be a photographer. She used to do a “Free Write Friday” on her blog, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. So here ya go! Hope you enjoy it!

Come Hell or High Water

man shadow 2

As I passed beneath the street lamp, out of the corner of my eye I saw my shadow quiver. Maybe the beer-tender had been right when she’d said, “You’ve had enough. Go home.” I grinned and thought, “Her bad”, as my shadow glanced my way then slid with me into the dark night where only a spattering of stars and a pale sliver of moon strained through thin clouds to light the black tar road.

She should’ve known it was the wrong thing to say. She knows me well enough to know if I’m told I can’t, or shouldn’t do something, or have something, then do, or have it, I will. Come hell or high water, as they say. Especially considering what had happened this morning. But then, she couldn’t know. No one knew. Yet. But they would. And when they knew, it would be too late for this backwater piece-of-crap town. Because by then, the proverbial water would be too deep, and literal hell would be at their doorstep.

First thing I had to do was get some guns. I didn’t own any, and being an over the hill, white conservative man, that fact had surprised more than one of my friends. I use the word friend loosely, because truth be known, I couldn’t put a hand on the shoulder of one man in this town—or any other town—who would claim me as a friend. Not that I’m a bad, or unlikeable guy, but… well… maybe I am, in a way. What I am, when you get right down to it, is a loner, and people can feel that. And feeling it is more than sensing it, if you get my drift. It makes their shadow quiver.

As for not having any guns, when they ask me I always answer the same way, “Don’t need any guns, and if I ever do, I know who has them.” I love the looks I get when I say that. You say something like that, you got to look at their eyes. You can read a person’s mind through their eyes. Especially when their afraid. Come to think of it, that’s probably why I don’t have any friends. I scare the hell out of people.

I guess you could say I’m the strong, silent type. One of those guys you can tell a joke to, if you can settle for a sideways grin in place of a laugh. A guy you can nudge, but you best be sure the nudge doesn’t have even a hint of a shove to it. One of those guys you can tell with one look—because that’s all he’ll tolerate—you don’t want to mess with him. A guy who can intimidate a bigger man with just a glance; something in the blue eyes—a mixture of cold steel and I-don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass—that say without saying, he won’t be taking no shit off nobody. A guy that knows he’s gonna die, but knows it ain’t gonna happen today, and you sure as hell ain’t gonna have anything to with it.

So… you want to be my friend?

Copyright © C MASHBURN 2017

Click here to read part two –> What I Meant to Say Was…


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Boy! You really painted a dark picture there! Excellent read and awesome character.

  2. I could see this played out on a screen! A little Hitchcock(ish) feel in between the lines. I love it as I do everything you write.
    Sure wish you and the Mrs could come back to Tennessee and stay a while longer. I wish we’d had more time to talk. Love to you both!

    • Thank you, dear Kellie! I’m sorry I had to do FWF without you. We will see you again. Will be settled into a house this spring, then we’ll see where our travels will take us. You can always come see us in Texas, to, ya know. As for the little story; how about an opening scene where the guy is walking down the dark street and a narrator–Sam Elliot?–is saying the things I wrote. You don’t see his face until the end of the scene, and when you do it’s … (pick an actor)

      • OMG I love Sam Elliot! And Tommy Lee Jones too! Those are my top two picks. I always say if they make a film of Withering, I want Tommy to be my protagonist. And Kathy Bates as his neighbor. 😃 I have family in Katy TX, but they’re moving to Indiana now. Was gonna try to come and see all of you.

      • Love you, Kellie!

  3. […] is part two–a sequel of sorts–to my post, Come Hell Or High Water. If you didn’t read part one, what follows won’t make much sense, so you might want to […]

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment! We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: