Ride into the Sunset

            It always did seem to be about a woman, Billy Langman thought as he slid his arms through the sleeves of a tan, suede jacket, his Daddy’s jacket. Well, sometimes it was about more than one. He felt a clarity at that moment that he had desired for months; he felt the weight of the jacket slide over his arms, felt the heft of it redistribute over his shoulders and back.

            He stood before a mirror, inspecting the jacket, making sure it fit the way it was supposed to, and noting the worn spots, the slight tear at the end of one sleeve, the way it hung down to just past his knees, covering the two bulges that were strapped to his hips. 

            It was a situation that called for a hero, of that Billy was certain, and he decided to be that hero in the only way he knew how, like the only heroes he’d ever known:  Wyatt Erp, John Wayne, and his own father. 

            So he’d thrown on a pair of blue wranglers and slid on his Daddy’s snake-skin boots. A thick leather belt with a holster on each hip, Daddy’s dusty tan cowboy hat and his long jacket, and Billy knew that he was almost ready to do his thing and ride off into that cinematic sunset. But he lacked two not so small, oh-so-important details. 

            Billy walked through his apartment (Not his home. That little mud-puddle apartment wasn’t his home. He’d lost that once things had been finalized four months ago.), into his bedroom, and over to his dresser. 

            His mother had wanted him to keep them out, displayed, to be shown off to so many people who just wouldn’t understand, couldn’t fully appreciate everything that they represented. 

            But Billy knew better. He knew that Daddy’s six-shooters were more private than his most secret thoughts. They were personal, to be locked away and cherished only by those who could fully comprehend that they were missing pieces of his soul, that they were every ideal that could never be realized, the tool of the hero in a world without any.

            He opened a drawer and pulled out a wooden box. A brass clasp held it shut. He opened the clasp and then the box, slowly, ceremoniously. He reached into the box with both hands and pulled out two 1873 Colt Peacemakers. They were beautiful, and originals, not some piece-of-crap replicas. They should have been in a museum, but Billy would never part with them. He didn’t know how his father had come across them, but he sure as shit knew that he wasn’t about to give them up. 

            He slid the two guns into the holsters he was already wearing and let the jacket fall back down to cover them.

            He closed the box and slid it back into his dresser drawer. He pulled out another box, this one full of ammunition, special, custom made for his guns. Billy loaded each gun and put some extra shells into the small pouch on the left side of his holster belt. He put the second box back and slid the dresser drawer shut. 

            He was ready. It was time to do battle.