Jacob Spitzer, a wiry crop farmer of 49, is no stranger to hateful bitterness. His emotional temperament is of the volatile type which focuses on one incident, clinging to it, and mulling it over again and again. The memory will become something larger and more fictional than the original incident until action must be taken. This is why he now finds himself waiting on gravel and dirt.
Garrett Randall, a barrel-chested oil baron of 51, is no stranger to the envy of others. His emotional temperament is of the type which never forgives a slight to his person. Even a small, flippant remark cuts deep, but if the slight is an inflammatory accusation against his moral structure, then action must be taken. This is why he now finds himself stepping onto gravel and dirt.
It was 25 years ago when two friends sat down for an amiable game of cards. Both men were newly established within the farming community of the area, Spitzer with several acres of crop land and Randall with a nearly equal amount of land for cattle rearing. As the night and the game wore on, the betting increased alongside the liquor consumption. It soon became apparent to both players who was on a winning streak and who was on the losing end.
Randall should have gratefully accepted his winnings and called it a night, but the liquor enhanced the thrill of the game. Spitzer should have gracefully accepted his losings and called it a night, but the liquor impaired his better judgment. Even after betting and losing all of his coin, Spitzer suggested one final hand, offering up an acre of land which had proven useless in growing crops. Randall eagerly agreed and commenced shuffling and distributing the cards.
Garrett Randall walked away that night with intoxicated bravado and an extra acre of land for his cattle. Jacob Spitzer walked away that night with less land and an inkling of intoxicated suspicions. While their friendship wasn't completely damaged by this outcome, the two men slowly began to drift their separate ways, only meeting by occasional chance. The damage wasn't complete until Randall, while excavating an area for a man-made pond, struck oil and proceeded to collect wealth beyond dreams from this newly won acre. It was then the suspicions of underhanded dealing Spitzer had experienced after the card game developed into an intense grudge.
Jacob Spitzer nursed this grudge day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year until he finally cracked under the strain. With little warning, and even less ceremony, he accused Randall of being a nefarious cheat and challenged the oil baron to a duel. Randall, with his temperament, couldn't let this offensive accusation pass, readily agreeing to the challenge. The time and place were quickly arranged, leading both men to the gravel and dirt road where they now stand.
No words are exchanged in the heat of the late morning. Sweat clings to furrowed brows as tense hands wait. Wait for the agreed upon signal to draw and put an end to what each man considers to be an unforgivable situation. Just when animosity is about to break its silent restraint, it happens. The ringing of the noon bell from a nearby town echoes across the fields and two former friends fire all their contempt at one another.
Two long days pass before the remains of Jacob Spitzer and Garrett Randall are discovered among the gravel and dirt. Local knowledge of the men, accompanied by the pistols clutched in dead hands, sufficiently answer all questions. The residents of the nearby town stop to mourn, but soon go about their daily lives, occasionally shaking their heads and remarking how nothing good ever happens on Devils Gulch Rd.
Be Well, Readers, and Freak Out,