by Evan Petersen
I suppose it’s my fault, though. She always told me that I would have to choose between her and the drinking. I never did make a choice. Easier to just keep drinking and let her figure all that out for me.
The day after she left me, the sheriff showed up at my door.
“What can I do for you, sir?” I asked.
“Bobby, you’re gonna have to come with me.”
“I ain’t done nothing wrong,” I said, but he put me in handcuffs and sat me down in the back of his car.
He drove in silence. I tried to ask him what all this was about, but he just stared at the desert highway.
He pulled the car off the road about halfway between our house and town. I had a faint memory of this place, like a faded photograph. He got out and opened the rear door. I put my boots on the ground and he pulled me up and out.
“Are you gonna tell me what the hell is going on?” I asked again.
“When’s the last time you saw your wife, Bobby?”
“She left me last night, Sheriff.”
“And you didn’t see her again?”
“Well,” the sheriff said, “that’s where we’re going to have problems, son.” He motioned to a heap of something about twenty yards away from the highway.
As we got closer, I saw that it wasn’t a shapeless black pile. It was my wife.
I dropped to my knees, crying. I slammed my fists in the dirt. The sheriff stood over me.
“Shot right in the back of the head.” He grabbed the cuffs behind my back and yanked me to my feet.
“You know where your gun is, Bobby?”
“Of course you don’t. Why? Because I found it right here this morning.”
“Wait. Sheriff. This is all wrong. I done nothing wrong.”
He pulled a revolver out of his holster and leveled it at my head. I could see the engraving along the side of the barrel. Mine.
His trigger finger tensed.
“You killed my daughter, you son of a bitch.”