The Sixth Man – Episode 73

Billy Smith

What was the last thing I said to you before running from the hut?” Gentry said.

You screamed something,” Dung said. “For the longest time I thought it was the name of your dead friend, but his name was Everett Carpenter. I never found that out until years later.”

Whose name did I scream?” Gentry said.

I think it was Billy Smith,” Dung said.

Are you sure,” Gentry said.

You were there,” Dung said, “are you sure?”

Wilson paused and thought deeply. He turned to Dung. “Why did I entrust you with that name?”

You thought you were going to die,” Dung said. “You wanted to be remembered.”

Tell me what else you remember,” Wilson said.

You hesitated,” Dung said, “before even thinking about escaping. The earth was shaking. I had been in battles before, but never that bad. I was shaking like a child, but you stood as if nothing were going on. It was as if you were someplace else. It was like you were the hero in a movie. You looked out the opening of the hut and back at me. You smiled. I thought at that point you were going to kill me. Then you screamed. ’Billy Smith lives!’ What did you mean, I wondered all these years. I thought that was your name also. And now I wonder, Gentry, is it your name.”

This is like a maze with no way out,” Wilson said. “I don’t know where to go from here. Billy Smith, Bill Smith, William Smith, that is so common.”

If you need some time to think things over,” Dung said. “I have and apartment above my shop. You may stay there as long as you wish.”

Dung, that is most generous of you,” Wilson said, “but I’ve got a restlessness in my soul. I have to keep moving. I don’t know where, but I just have to keep moving.”

Where will you go from here?” Dung said.

I haven’t a clue,” Wilson said. “But for some reason I always told my family I was from the Los Angles.”

Los Angles is a big place,” Dung said. “Can you narrow it down?”

Wilson stopped walking. Dung took a couple of steps ahead, tuned, and asked, “What is wrong?”

Something happened in LA,” Wilson said. “Something terrible.”

What was it, Gentry?” Dung said.

I’m not sure, but we moved.” Wilson said.

Who is we, Gentry?” Dung said.

A woman,” Wilson said. “I think she is my mother.”

You must find her,” Dung said.

Where do I start,” Wilson said, “the Los Angeles phone book under Smith?”

That maybe a start,” Dung said. “You can go to Los Angles and start calling. As if they know a Billy Smith who is about your age. Tell them you are an old Army buddy. You will find somebody who knows somebody who knows or at least remembers a Billy Smith.”

Wilson stretched out his arm and shook hands with Dung. “Thanks.”

Are you going now?” Dung said.

I must,” Wilson said.

May I have my gun back?” Dung said.

No,” Wilson said. “Just staying alive until I arrived to unburden your guilt is not the only reason you live. Don’t put that on me. Do you have children and grandchildren?”

Yes,” Dung said. “Do they know this story?”

No,” Dung said.

Call them now and I will tell them of a good and decent man,” Wilson said. “I will not leave or give you back your gun until you do.”

Dung nodded politely.

Two hours later Wilson, Dung, two daughters and two sons of Dung’s sat in his living room apartment above the barbershop. Wilson told Dung’s daughters and sons about their father amidst tears and embraces.

Dung walked Wilson to his car and again asked, “The gun please.”

I lied,” Wilson said and slipped into his car. “Never trust your enemy.”


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