Bobby Fix-It Embraces Fatherhood: The Billy the Kid Chronicles Continue
Despite All Odds
Yes, despite all odds, our Irish street rat has managed to stay alive AND father a child. One can only imagine what life for that child is going to be like in their home.
Oh, wait, you don’t have to imagine. I’ll be very happy to tell you.
a Proud Papa
I admit it, I’m a bit biased, but I gotta tell ya, my daughter Jade is easily the most beautiful child in the world. Take that to the bank, my friends, and deposit it for all time. She’s been home a week now, and I never get tired of looking at her, smiling up at me, reaching her arms out, hell, even her drooling is adorable, you know what I mean? Well, if you’re a parent then yes, you have a clue.
I took the week off from work to help Genna around the house, her resting up from giving birth, but I suspect it’s time for me to return to the ranch and start making a living again. The first clue that it’s time came from Genna last night.
“You need to go back to work, Billy. You’re driving me crazy around here.”
Genna and the word “subtle” will never be used in the same sentence. And she wasn’t done.
“Don’t change who you are, Billy. You help people. You care about friends. Don’t ever stop being that way. I know it’s dangerous, and I know there’s a risk, but you’re a good man and I love you for it. So all I’m asking is you be careful and come home every night to Jade and me, and the key phrase there is ‘come home’ which requires you to leave.”
I damn near tear up thinking about her words. Me? A good man? And she says it knowing I’ve killed and will kill again.
I’ve heard those words before from Paula, a hooker I knew intimately back in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York. I pictured her standing with Mindi, her protégé, on Fourth Ave, her auburn hair flowing to her shoulders, the devilish smile on a thirty-nine year old face that defies aging, slightly crooked nose, broken once by a pimp when she was thirty, the shapely legs attached to world-class ass, a great package of womanhood and my friend. At one time she’d been a banker, living the dream with a real estate developer husband and a big home in the Big Easy. Then the dream busted as the husband cheated on her, stole from her and disappeared from her in an attempt to beat a tax fraud charge, leaving her without a pot to piss in as the Feds confiscated everything, leaving her shaking her tail just to pay the rent for a third-floor walkup.
Anyway, one night when we were sharing a bed, she told me I was a good man, one of the few in the Heights she trusted and that was saying quite a bit.
“You’re just an Irish mutt, Billy the Kid, but you’re as trustworthy as the day is long and I’m glad to call you a friend.”
The last time I saw Paula, Genna and me were hightailing it out of town, me having just killed Ivan, the Russian crime boss. I had Genna stop the car so I could say goodbye to Paula and Mindi. At that time I told Paula if she ever needed me, if she was ever in shit too deep to handle, to put an ad in the Personals section of the Post. Have the ad read “Billy the Kid rides again,” I told her, and I’d be there for her.
That was the last time I was in New York.
Back to Work
The next day was a Monday so I kissed Genna, kissed Jade and fired up the Ford pickup. It was time to go back to work and give Genna some peace.
The tourists were thinning out as the summer rush was over and fall descended on the area surrounding Jackson, Wyoming. The Snake River, shallow and pure, sparkled in the early morning sunlight as I drove the road to work. A herd of elk mingled with deer off on my right, grazing in a pastoral setting, peaceful and yet always on guard for the predators hiding in the shadows of the nearby forest. A bald eagle screeched from above, gliding on the air currents then suddenly diving to the valley, snatching a rabbit and once again soaring. Three antelope broke cover and hopped across the road ahead, there one second, gone the next. This was now my home and I loved it as much as I once loved the concrete jungle of New York.
I stopped at a convenience store and picked up a pre-made sandwich and fruit for lunch, filled up my thermos with good, hot, blacker-than-tar coffee and picked up a newspaper to read during my break. The bill came to eight-fifty, a ten took care of it, and fifteen minutes later I was saying hi to Matt Stairs, my boss and friend at the Circle T Ranch.
“Bobby Fix-It, how goes it, man? How are Genna and that beautiful daughter of yours?”
I’d done a fix-it job for Matt awhile back, snatched his younger sister, Maria, away from a religious cult where she was held against her will and gang-raped. Needless to say he was pretty grateful, and ever since Jade was born, Matt was bending over backwards to help us and spoil Genna and the baby. So was his sister, who was running out of the house towards me, a big grin on her face. She was in therapy now, and judging from the smile I was looking at, therapy was doing her some good.
“Bobby,” she yelled, and gave me a big old hug. “When are you going to let me babysit that beautiful daughter of yours? You have a babysitter for life, you know, and you and Genna need a night out soon, don’t you think?”
I answered all their questions about Genna and Jade, promised Maria she could see the baby sometime that week and then hopped on the four-wheeler to begin inspecting the fence line to make sure there were no weak spots with winter coming. Winter comes early and quickly to the Rocky Mountains, and preparing in late September was just the smart thing to do. Many a rancher had been caught with his pants down as an October blizzard left him feeling helpless and small. Matt was too smart to let that happen.
Are you likely to purchase future novellas in this series?
Lunch Break and a Flash from the Past
I stopped at noon for lunch. The temperature was still mild, a deceiving bitch for sure, so I grabbed my sack lunch, thermos and newspaper and found a spot by the creek where I could enjoy some solitude. The sky was transitioning from cobalt blue to battleship gray as clouds rolled in from the west, and as I ate my sandwich a breeze kicked up, a harbinger of things to come.
I opened the Post and read about the ills of the Yankees as the post-season would elude them for the second straight year. In football, the Giants were promising and the Jets were not. The local section told me crime was reportedly down in the Heights , but I knew from experience that percentages were deceptive and statistics could be made to tell you anything you wanted to hear. The cops wouldn’t go near the Heights at night, so if a mugging happened and nobody reported it, did it happen? If there was a rape and no cop wrote an incident report, would it show up in those statistics? It’s the falling tree in a deaf forest sort of riddle.
Finally I turned to the Classifieds, as I did every single day, checked the Personals and the third one from the top sent a shiver down my spine. “Billy the Kid rides again” stared back at me from the page.
Paula was in trouble!
My past had returned.
And That, Sadly, Is Where I’ll Have to End This Series
But Billy the Kid will ride again, for sure, in his novellas. This particular story, with Paula in trouble back in New York, is the basis for my next novella, “Home is a Dangerous Place.” If you have enjoyed the Billy the Kid short stories I invite you to continue to follow Billy in my novellas.
Will Billy return to HubPages? I never say never. From time to time he might reappear, just to give you a taste of his life in the novellas.
I want to thank you all for following along all of these weeks. Billy and Genna thank you as well. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hopefully, for me, you found enough enjoyment in this series that you’ll buy the novellas as they are published, but even if you don’t, I greatly appreciate you following along these past few months.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)