That is an easy question to answer.
There is something that surely angers me beyond mere emotion, in righteous offence.
I am not guilty, have not been guilty, of this above all.
But I have been betrayed, and I have met betrayal. It is the worst evil in this world. I do not count errors in judgement. For betrayal, there must be a certain trust, a rare commodity. And there must be intent to destroy that trust while it is held.
- The first betrayal was that which led to the war. I will leave that for now also, for the world is strange now and so much has been forgotten.
- I was a child, so young, so free, all the world before me in my beloved Georgia, all my family, food, health - everything. I could do nothing but live and help my family, my people, my world to live also.
- The second was my father, who betrayed my mama's memory, my uncles and aunts, the family we had all been, and I.
- I left as soon as I could, to my uncle, my cousins, school, and again an attempt at life.
- The third was Kate, who lied to Behan and everyone about the Benson stage robbery, and would have had me killed in Tombstone.
- I gave her $1000 to leave town, and I never saw her again. Wyatt helped me.
- The fourth was Ike Clanton. He did not betray me, but he tried to betray my friend Billy Leonard. He did his very worst.
- We all know the result of that little fiasco.
- The fifth was the men who shot Virgil and Morgan unaware.
- We did our best, Wyatt and I, and the others.
- The sixth was the man who tried to shake me down in Denver, to take advantage of my kindness to a poor boy.
- You do not hear much about him now, do you?
- The seventh was Billy Allen in Leadville, who tried to kill me for old grievance under seemingly innocent pretext.
- I tried to kill him, to defend myself, surely, but I was still filled with the old anger, ill as I was.
I met each of these with courage and rage. Sometimes I feel like St. Michael, with the scales in one hand to judge the unworthy, and a Lightning in the other, in place of a sword, to send them to Hell. It is true; I did not literally kill them all. But they died to me, and I sent them all to Hell nonetheless, and there is no doubt in my mind that they arrived there, eventually. I left Georgia and I left Wyatt. I do not think that was because I was betrayed or betraying, exactly. Perhaps I was punishing myself for the seeds of it within me. Perhaps I was prudently preventing myself from doing what I would later regret. There are contradictions, sometimes. A choice between two evils. Sometimes I have decided in a split second. Sometimes I have hesitated slightly, and the further thought required on such occasions always firms my resolve and steadies my hand. Sometimes I have removed myself rather than choose which harm to take unto my cause. Loyalty above all! But that love and duty sometimes demands one relinquish one's own honour. Or - I will swallow my arrogance and admit it - relinquish what one would hold to in one's own pure selfishness. And I sometimes cannot do it, cannot bear it. There are times when I have been human, after all. There are those who would pick other occasions as fingerposts to this fact, but they are wrong.Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 615.
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Nulli Virtute Secundus