Sagebrush Crazy

by Garry Gunnerson

The sheriff and deputy reigned in just out of rifle range of the cabin.

“What makes a man do what this sod-buster done?” the deputy asked.

“Life’s hard out here,” the sheriff said. “Two years drought, cattle all rustled. Wife and kids dying over the winter, not buried till spring. Gets to a man. Twists his mind.”

“You oughta know, being as you was a sod-buster yourself when you first came west.”

The sheriff just grunted by way of reply. A figure showed itself in the doorway as a signal the two lawmen could approach. The sheriff left the deputy in the yard with the horses and walked straight into the one room shack.

Ignoring the shotgun on the table where the sod-buster was sitting, the sheriff pointed his finger and said, “Don’t lie to me, you know what you done.”

The sod-buster looked away, unable to face the accusation.

“She was only six years old.”

A tear trickled down the side of the sod-buster’s face.

“This only ends one way. You know that.”

The sod-buster upended the shotgun. The sheriff pulled his pistol. It was over in an instant. The blast from the shotgun blew the sod-buster’s head clean off his shoulders.

Out of the corner of his eye the sheriff saw something land on top of the cast-iron stove; heard the sizzle as the meat began to fry, recognized the sickly-sweet aroma. He scooped up the tin plate and two-tined fork from the table and ran to the stove; the sod-buster’s fully intact brain turning a rich, creamy white, as he scrambled it with the fork.

It would need salt. There had to be some salt inthe cabin—somewhere.

Garry Gunnerson lives in the city of Windsor, Ontario, Canada just south of Detroit, with Valerie, his wife of many years. Following a successful career in sales and marketing, Garry now devotes his time to Tai Chi, travel and writing short fiction.