A Literary and Domestic Incident in the Desert West

Aliens. Spacealiens. No such thing. How theyd fought it out, cosmic mysteries reduced to raw shouting in the uncaring morning. Her leaving in wrath and now returning, straight into the bedroom without him. Rustling and thumps.

She was in the doorway. She had stripped in there and dressed her body for the boudoir, soft ladyclothes baring flesh and something more, down at the forking of her legs. Hard nickelplate steel, the Smith & Wesson. Her hand was on it.

Whos crazy.

He watched drymouthed. The gunsight vanished up into the red dark inmost space of life. A child had come from that place, seed of a man before him, its birthing route retraced now by the instrument of death. The Smith & Wesson slid up and back in a mirthless parody of union. Warmth ebbed from his own flesh.

Whos crazy. You or me.

The gun now lost in the depths. No. Not lost. A swift turn of her wrist and there was the whole of it, winking back into the airy world and rising to fix on him. The shining shaft foreshortened into the lightless eye of an ancient uncaring deity, hollow gaze falling on his own fearstruck eyes.

Whos crazy.

It was her voice that spoke but it seemed to rise from the void of the gunbarrel. His stuporous amazement broke and he made a lunge, wrested away the wet and befouled sidearm from her grip. He lurched toward the bathroom. The Smith & Wesson plashed in the toilet water and lay there, cold and still like a homunculitic babe unwombed premature, lost to god and man alike.

She started for the bathroom herself. It would not do. He scrabbled in the water, pulled the silver gun up streaming. It dripped back across the floor to the door and out, and he flung it down into the garbagecan. There the law could find it.

[Novelist's Ex in Bizarre Handgun Threat Arrest: Cormac McCarthy's former wife pulled weapon from her vagina.]