So Tipton was kind a famous for a spell. Everybody wanted to get a look at him. Women carried him food over to the jail. Men went to talk to him about the meanin’ of life and death, him being so intimate with both. It made him a expert, I suppose. He held the hand of the Reaper and come back to tell about it. He seemed happy and content. And he begun to talk a lot. He said he was lookin’ forward to the next hangin’, wantin’ to get it over with.
“Boys!” I remember him sayin’, “I done what I had to do, ya’ll know I did.” He had the look of a wise man. “And Heaven seen the debt was paid.” He took a deep breath and looked at us with a deepness in his eyes. “What’s right is right. They ain’t none of us can fight it, you know we cain’t.”
It was hard to argue with the boy. He was lucky.
So the clock moved on and it come time for the hangin’. The townspeople marched along beside Tipton as he made his way to the scaffold. They was singin’ hymns and laughin’ and cheerin’. Tipton smiled so sweet you hardly noticed those missin’ teeth a his. He seemed happier than he been his whole life.
Tipton Lange stepped up to the noose and the Sheriff slipped it ‘round his neck.
“We should count it down!” Someone yelled this from the crowd. It may a been Pete Conroy again. Tipton nodded his head, givin’ his approval.
“Five!” screamed the crowd, clappin’ their hands, whistlin’ and shoutin’.
“Four-Three-Two!” they bellowed, a strong wind beginnin’ to rise up and lift their hair from their foreheads. Clouds filled the sky, blottin’ out the sun. A feelin’ of revelation was in the air.
“One!” screamed the crowd, with wild and joyful abandon. Women begun to faint and men stared wild eyed, upward, at Tipton Lange, sweat pourin’ down their faces, as the Sheriff pulled the lever that released the trapdoor.
Tipton fell without a trace a fear on his face and stopped, a course, halfway to the ground. His body twitched a few times, then it begun to spin slowly in a circle. The crowd was shocked quiet. You could hear the wind blowin’ through the town.
He looked like a old broken watch hangin’ from a chain.
The people drifted on home, whisperin’ quietly, walkin’ softly. I helped the Sheriff take the boy down. There was only us two beside the Preacher.
Anyways. ‘Twas my job. Somebody had to lift him into the ground.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010