The Last Excerpt Before Publication (It’s Been a Long Road)

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“You know, Devin Mahoney, the Americans call us a strange people with strange voices in a strange land we know nothing about. And yes, our voices are strange to those who were born here. Perhaps there is little, or nothing, we can do about that. We can try to sound like them so they will not fear us so. But over time, their ways will become our ways. In time, we will get to know this land and our children will know it better still. And their children will be the captains of industry and among the leaders who make the laws. But it has to start somewhere, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s going to start with me. My children will be born here and be rightful citizens of this great country known as the United States of America.”

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A Time to Search My Soul

I’m sittin’ here thinkin’.

I’m sittin’ here wonderin’

I’m just sittin’ here hurtin’.

It’s time.

The time has long since passed.

It’s time I searched my soul.

Why has it taken so long?

How did I fuck up so bad?

How the fuck did I get here?

Time is short.

Time is always short.

I see the man with the scythe.

I see him coming my way.

I wanna go out standing up.

I don’t wanna go out like this.

I need one more day to get it right.

One more hour.

One more minute.

Please.

Okay, Motherfucker.

Let’s go.

But just know.

As sure as I’m a miserable sinner.

As sure as I blew it this time.

I’ll get it right the next time.

I pray to God I do.

 

2nd to the Last Excerpt

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Still holding my gun, on unsteady legs, I walked to the back of the barn and emptied my gut, splashing my boots in the process. I heaved everything I had in me and then some. When I was done, I wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my coat. On that fiery-hot day, in the middle of nowhere, in a godforsaken patch of desert, I learned that it is not easy to kill a man. It’s not easy at all, even if the man needed killing.

One More Excerpt

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The cold February air passes through Devin’s coat and chills him to the very bone. He sits huddled with two other men on a flat car carrying machinery. They’re crouched behind a large slab of metal in an attempt to block the wintry wind, but it does little good. Well, at least it’s not snowing. The whipping wind and the clacking of the steel wheels upon the steel tracks preclude conversation.

Devin hugs himself tightly as the countryside slides by. The bare, leafless trees stand as silent sentinels in fields of snow, patiently awaiting spring. Here and there, a lonely cow or horse stares at the train as it passes. But none of that makes the slightest impression on Devin. He’s thinking back to the boardinghouse and the last time he spoke with Mary Callahan.

Excerpts

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The reflected firelight flickered across awestruck faces and mirrored in the eyes of those who listened as stories were told of yesterday’s indignities and tomorrow’s aspirations. The look in those yearning eyes spoke of hopes and dreams. The laughter heard around the fire conveyed a sense that somehow it would all work out. For a few short hours, on Saturday nights, in the deep woods of a place none of them had ever heard of before, the constant fear that lived within their hearts was banished from their lives.

In time, they would prevail. Their sons and daughters would one day stand straight and tall as proud Americans, as proud as their fathers had been to be Irish.

*****

We rode in under a cloudless, blue-vaulted sky that seemed to go on forever. I glanced toward the arroyo. Sunlight glistened off a dozen rifle barrels. The sight of those guns gave me hope. Maybe I’d live long enough to see Luke Short in prison. I’d sure hate to die in this scrub patch while Luke was down in Las Cruces, drinking and whoring it up.