Write about a time you were manipulated.
I suppose the time has come then to talk about Kate. Oh, we have been coupled, a deathless relationship in the popular press. Yet I find myself not even cold, but completely indifferent. She manipulated me, oh yes, in serial, with so very many wiles.
Why me? I have always wondered and never known. Just because she could? Or because I could play cards?
I suppose in the end, what I do feel is a slight shame. I should have known better. She saved my life in Fort Griffin. That is what it comes down to in the end. I owed her loyalty and care - whatever she wanted. Out of honour. For she was also a woman, if she was surely not a lady. And one must treat women well, with courtesy and deference. John sighs.
In Dodge she wanted to pretend we were married. And I allowed the lie. I was in love then - not love, but that heady rush that consumes one. We had just come from adventure high and yes, romantic, I suppose. She was clearly the heroine, and we were pleased with ourselves and with one another. For that brief time. I tried to be good - to treat her as a lady, and I tried to make one of her, tried to be a wholesome dentist once again despite my incapacity, to give her dignity. But she was a whore. Not to put too fine a point on it. And while that was of little concern in itself... How can I explain. It was not that she sold her body for money. It was that she did not need to - there was more than enough money for anything we wanted. She was with me. And while my disease renders me perhaps less sometimes, in that way, I was surely there. And I was trying so hard for once to be respectable whilst she was sabotaging it. We fought in hot rage so often. I cannot fight physically, though admittedly I was verbally brutal. Look at me. John stands and gestures at his 5'10" frighteningly thin 120lb frame. Yet she fought me, and I had to threaten defence with guns and knives.
I drifted back to the old life, of course. And then there was Wyatt. Eventually she departed. And returned, for I owed her for my life, was beholden, I thought for all time. And departed. And returned. And again. Finally Wyatt brought me with him to Prescott, in his wagon. Everything brand new. All hope for a new life. A stage line, silver, mining. But I stayed there over the winter with Virgil's friends. And of course she came back. I was 'flush and fresh and clean' as he old song goes. I made up a roll of $40,000 in Prescott, in those far off days when money was worth so much more. And yes, I was here in her debt yet. And again I took her back. And on to Tombstone.
Wyatt was surprised that she was with me. Perhaps that awful moment was the first card of the Faro turn that I miscalled. But what could I do? She had saved my life, and with that I was cursed. That bitter resentment, moving into periodic utter hatred destroyed any pleasant memories I may have had. I kept her, and still she slept with all and sundry for money. People who would sooner have killed me than said 'Good Morning.'
And then, she freed me. With the utmost brutality she could muster. She tried to to have me killed and not just killed, but that with dishonour and irredeemably blackened name. If she hated Wyatt, she hated Billy too - Billy Leonard. And when the stage was robbed and she was drunk and off sleeping with, well, anyone at all, she signed a statement that I had done it. That I, I
had robbed the stage which Wyatt was charged to protect, with my friend Bob Paul riding shotgun. That I, I
had killed poor fine comradely Bud Philpot, with his grieving wife and children. Murderer and stage robber were to be the titles I would leave to the Future, where I would be no more, hung and my body and very gravestone disgraced with calumny. She tried to do that to me. Who had kept her all that time, endured her hatefulness out of honour and oath for so long. And it was not so simple, for it would destroy my friend also - as was indeed the idea. She would hurt Wyatt through me.
And I was ashamed, such as I have never been. And on those courthouse steps I asked him, with a break in my voice, so much less than that in my heart and mind, if I should leave, for his sake. And he, with such forbearance, wanted me yet at his side. And told me instead to get rid of Kate. With that I realised: Oh, the debt was repaid. She had saved my life, but in trying to take it the tablet was smooth once again. I owed her nothing, was no longer beholden. She had freed me from her without meaning it. Wyatt helped me. We gave her a thousand dollars to leave town. And we never saw her again. It was over, and I was free.Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 883
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