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Implied Reader

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“Still with your nose in that book?”

“It’s rainin outside, what else is there to do? Anyway, I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the play you pointed out, so I found another one with more action. All I got to do is keep rememberin about thee and thou and suchlike. I understand most of it, and what I don’t, I skip.”

“Let’s see … Yeah, I guess this one would be more to your taste. Warriors and witches, good combination.”

“You read it? … Figured you would’ve. Don’t tell me how it ends, willya? This fella is still thinkin about takin out the king. But if I was him I wouldn’t swallow any stuff about forests movin and men not born of women. There’s got to be some trick somewhere.”

“Speaking of swallowing. It was your turn to cook supper tonight.”

“My ..? Yeah, guess it was. My mistake. I’ll cook tomorrow night for sure. By then I’ll have finished the play… Oh, shit. The horses. And Blanca. Forgot about them too.”

“They’ve been seen to. Go on reading, I’ll fry some eggs and bacon. Has he made his mind up about killing the king yet?”

“His wife’s made it up for him. This fella’s not only a double-crosser, he’d be a total washout in our line of work. Yeah, yeah, former line of work. He wastes half an hour sayin how it’d be better be done quickly. He wouldn’t have lasted two days in Dodge or Tombstone.”

“Billy the Kid. Doc Holliday. Half of the Earp brothers. They all knew what they were doing, but they didn’t last all that long either.”

“You’re right there … Beans go well with eggs and bacon. You’ll make someone a good wife some day.”

“Put the book down. You get any food on it, you’re a dead man. It’s the only thing I took with me … Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to let you borrow it.”

“I’m bein careful. Good eggs, thanks … His wife went crazy, she was walkin in her sleep and seein things. Damned spot, she said, she didn’t talk like a lady. And now he’s alone … I have almost forgot the taste of fears. That’s very good. That’s almost like us, in a way. Talked about this once in the village, with Hilario.”

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death."

“I just read that. You know it by heart? … Anyway, he’s wrong. Sometimes men make mistakes, learn, and change. Sometimes. And if they do, their life’s not … a tale told by an idiot, signifyin nothin.”

“It’s past nine o’ clock. I want to get some sleep between now and tomorrow.”

“Go right ahead, I’m goin to keep on readin. His enemies are supposed to be smart, but d’you think Calvera would’ve been fooled if we’d cut off some tree branches and pretended that the woods were movin?”

“It’s something called poetic licence. You’re almost at the end now. Praise be.”

I have no words, my voice is in my sword. Sounds good. But … as someone in the Bible said, live by the sword, die by the sword … Live by the gun, die by the gun. As we know. … His main enemy’s showed up, we’re gettin to that business about no one of woman born … Hot damn. The trick was there all along. The witches must’ve known from the start … He lost. What a fool. But I feel kind of sorry for him."

“Yeah. He started out right. Then he got used to killing and more killing. Like Calvera … and like us. That’s why he lost. And why Calvera lost. And why we lost.”

“That’s what you said when we were ridin out of the village: we always lose. But you were wrong. Like he was, with his dusty death and his tale told by an idiot. Sometimes we lose. And sometimes we live to find somethin else. There were two of us ridin out. And we sort of knew that we’d drift along together.”

“Did we?”

“Very funny. Move over… Hey. I thought you wanted to get some sleep.”

“I changed my mind. That bother you?”

“No. Not in the least. Wait, man, let me put the book down.”