After turning down a gravel road leading to a dirt drive that twisted along the side a gentle slope Wilson slowly ascended until he reached a butte. It was a fair green piece of land with a stiff wind swaying the grasses.
Wilson followed the lane for about half mile winding through a stand of Ponderosa Pines. He came to an opening where a two story log house stood. To the right a wooden barn that looked as if it housed horses. To the left stood another barn. A tractor and truck were visible from and open door.
Wilson got out of the car stepped onto the porch. He looked for a doorbell. There was none. He knocked hard. There was no answer. He stepped off the porch and looked around the house. “Hello! Hello! Hello! Anybody home!”
“What can I do for ya?” said a man coming from the horse barn. He wore Levis, a red flannel shirt, and western boots. He had a weather worn face and massive grey hair.
Wilson walked toward Burton.
They both studied each other.
“Do I know you?” Burton said.
“I hope you remember me,” Wilson said.
“The army guy,” Burton said. “That’s been years ago.”
“Wilson Gentry,” Wilson said.
“Yes,” Burton said and shook Wilson’s hand. “How could I forget. It was quite a case. What brings you there?”
“I’m in desperate need of your help, Mr. Parnell,” Wilson said.
“Call me Burton,” Burton said. “How can I help?”
“I don’t have any memory of Wilson Gentry,” Wilson said. “With the help of some old friends I’ve been able to trace Wilson Gentry’s existence to you.”
“No memory, huh,” Burton said pulling at his chin. “Let’s walk inside and I’ll put some coffee on and you brief me on what you know; bring me up to the present.”
Wilson spoke for about 30 minutes at the kitchen table with and Burton listened carefully.
“…and that’s about it,” Wilson concluded.
Burton poured the coffee and spiced his with quick tilt from a bottle of whiskey. He motioned to add some to Wilson’s and Wilson held his hand over the cup. Burton sat across the table from Wilson. “What do you want to know?”
“What was I on trial for?” Wilson said.
“Murder,” Burton said. “As out-of-date as it sounds you faced a firing squad.”
“What did I do?” Wilson said.
“You didn’t kill anyone,” Burton said. “Just because the Army thought you did doesn’t make it so. The had no evidence. Only the word of a Vietcong informant. Which is slightly less reliable than Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.”
Wilson stared into Burton’s eyes. “What did the informant say I did?” Wilson said.
Burton grabbed the bottle of whisky and poured a little more into his cup and forcefully tried to pour some into Wilson‘s.
“You‘ll need this,” Burton said.
Wilson grabbed the bottle and took a swig from it. “What did the informant say?”