They killed Jesse behind the shed. It was on one of the mornings where the sun doesn’t seem like it’s going to rise, and it just sits there on the haze. It titters and totters, it dips and drops, and just when you think it’s not going to make it and there will be night for another day and oh, look how cold it is already getting, there it is – the sun, a yellow-disc hanging in the sky.
I heard there are places like that, where the sun doesn’t rise and it’s darkness all the time. Jesse told me about them. Some place called Norway. Really cold, he’d laugh with a big, crooked grin. It was before they put his rag in his mouth. It was my rag, once, but I guess it’s Jesse’s now.
A lot of things became Jesse’s behind the shed. A piece of rope became his. A hammer became his. Even they, with their hair all in a mess and their uniform in tatters and those wild, hungry eyes, were Jesse’s. I don’t know if they realized it, but it’s true. All of it was Jesse’s for it was all he had left.
His knees slinked like a trampoline when they hit him that first time. He opened his mouth and I could’ve sworn there was a cat somewhere because Jesse could’ve never made that sound. The rag fell out from his teeth and they just put it back in. There was some dirt on it now. Jesse didn’t mind. Neither did they.
He didn’t open his mouth again. They battered his ankles. They bruised his ribs. They whacked his neck. They spit in his face. They laughed. They patted his head. Told Jesse he was being a good boy. Then they slammed his fingers, curled each one up into the end of their gun, and broke them one by one by one by one by one.
He died sometime after. The men shuffled their feet in the dirt, looked at each other, and shrugged. They came back from behind the shed and then went somewhere else.