All He Has

He had a famous name to live up to. According to the family tree, Jose Chavez y Chavez, the outlaw who rode with Billy the Kid, was his great-great-grandfather. Some had doubted the authenticity of the claim, but it was regarded as truth within the family. No one knew when the story started or how it began, it just was an accepted fact of his family’s existence, something to be proud of, someone to live up to. What would he have done, thought Jamie. How would he have remedied this situation? Jamie had just turned 16, and at his age, young men begin to ponder who and where they come from. He thought about his distant relative. What kind of gunfights was he in? How many men did he shoot down? Jamie pondered these things as he awaited the test results. He just may have gotten his girlfriend pregnant, and the pregnancy test result could be the showdown he was not ready for. His girlfriend entered the room.

“It says three minutes, to wait three minutes,” she said.

“OK,” he replied. He looked at the clock.

“It’s been five minutes since you went in.”

“I know. I can’t look at it. I’m scared. You go look at it. If it’s pink, you’re going to be a daddy.”

“OK, let me just think for a little. I need to just think for a moment.”

“I’m feeling sick, like I have to throw up. I’ll use the other bathroom. I don’t want to peek at the result. When I come back, you can tell me what it says.”


He sat on the bed, looked at his comic-book collection. How he loved to get lost in those worlds. Everything seemingly so clear and unhindered. Always a right way and a wrong way. The real world was so much different. Too much smoke and fog. Nothing to firmly grasp. No beginning, no end. There just is. Once again he thought about his great-great-granddaddy. What would he have done? He remembered a story his dad had told him about Jose Chavez y Chavez. One night, Billy the Kid and Jose were holed up in a shack with no perceivable way out. Both men were prepared to die. Jose had told Billy, right before they ran out of the shack, that only under the shrieks of gunfire does a man truly know his character. At that moment all he has is his integrity.  

All he has is his integrity, thought Jamie to himself. He got up from his bed, looked out the window, and stared at the pale moon. He swore he could make out a crooked smile, or a smirk of disdain, or was the moon merely a mirror?

His girlfriend walked back in.

“You checked it yet?”


They looked at each other, with the blanket of the silent moon covering them.


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