Some of My Selves Treat Me Badly
Clyde Barrow spattered his face on the air in defiance of even natural laws. It
stayed there. A lot of folks around here still see it like that. For a moment, the bewildered
stalk of his body couldn’t understand why it could not follow, then sagged like a sack of
mashed potatoes and forgot itself.
Hard Times, Texas. That place grew inside Clyde till it burst. But Clyde said, “I
ain’t gonna risk my life in Oklahoma!” He seemed to know a certain kind of thing was
foolish. Some people are clever and stupid at all once and they get things done in their
life that no one else would do. Clyde didn’t know why he did what he did, but he knew
he was damned well gonna do it and get the hell out. He wrote Bonnie Parker a poem that
realized death wouldn’t be much of a sorrow when it finally crashed the party.
One day, after the banks began to all look the same, Bonnie’s Momma got into
Bonnie’s head like a fever. “Weren’t nothin’ for it” but to descend on that woman like a
whole other kind of bank and withdraw what was needed.
That’s when Platte City, Iowa welcomed the whole gang with an armored car, three
machine guns, a baker’s dozen shotguns and several helpings of unrationed lead, plentiful
now since the war’s end. Buck ate till he burst, while the rest of the gang ran off the
weight of the town’s gratitude. Not long after that, they kidnapped Thelma Dayton and
Eugene Grizard and Eugene an undertaker besides.
Then Frank Hame got caught sneaking up on the gang and Bonnie got a kick out of
“getting her picture took” kissing that Keystone Cop who just dragged along like a kicked
dog. On the way home, they shared a pear.
By the time C.W. Moss finally got his name in the papers, his pa had decided he
wasn’t really a bad kid, just a sensitive boy led astray by bad company. “The best of bad
company,” he added later on.
But some folks, like Clyde’s pa, knew about how luck don’t last forever. “Some
days nothin’ much good seems to come of even the most memorable events. Some days
a fella oughta have better sense than to want anyone to notice. Some days is better left
alone.” Clyde’s pa talked like that, picking at a scab that never seemed to heal. “Ain’t
none of my doin’.”
“Not so’s you’d notice,” Clyde would have answered, picking at a few scabs of his
own till they finally blossomed behind a shotgun blast, his face all kind of twisted and
smiling squinty like he’d just figured out how the sun come down on his eyes if he
looked at it wrong and heard a funny story about a dead man he might’ve known
sometime before he done that.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.