The Unforgiving Country: Old Engines

She was five and wanted to play the piano. Her mother said no, her father said that they didn’t have the money. That’s when she took up shooting. Down on that range, that’s where she had her first kiss with Billy Bob Zezzon. Later she would have her first fuck in the storage room of that range, Billy looking up at every noise to make sure his boss hadn’t come back. Later still, when the aliens came, she’d watch Billy take a Ray-shot to the gut in that storage room. The ray covered the noise—though she’d heard that sound of flesh dislodging since—but she was close enough to him to feel the splatter.

It was about then she started hating the sheriffs. Her family had already hated the aliens, but she supposed it brought that feeling out a little clearer, too. That’s why she liked Hank. He used to be a sheriff. Used to be. Now he sank into a couch and watched John Wayne play the hero. She liked that. It gave her a bitter thrill.

Now, looking at that hole in his head, she regretted it.

Jen holstered her gun.

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