Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Walter Noble Burns on Billy the Kid:

"But hidden away somewhere among these pleasant human qualities was a hiatus in his character - a sub-zero vacuum - devoid of all human emotions. He was upon occasion the personification of mercilessness, remorseless deadliness. He placed no value on human life, least of all upon his own. He killed a man as a nonchalantly as he smoked a cigarette. Murder did not appeal to Billy the Kid as tragedy; it was merely a physical process of pressing the trigger.

If it seemed to him necessary to kill a man, he killed him and got the matter over with as neatly as possible. In his murders, he observed no rules of etiquette and was bound by no punctilios of honor. As long as he killed a man he wanted to kill, it made no difference to him how he killed him. He fought fair and shot it out face to face if the occasion demanded, but under other circumstances he did not scruple at assassination. He put a bullet through a man's heart as coolly as he perforated a tin can set upon a fence post.

He had no remorse.

No memories haunted him.

His courage was beyond question. It was a static courage that remained the same under all circumstances, at noon or at three o'clock in the morning. There are yellow spots in the stories of many of the West's most famous desperadoes. We are told that in certain desperate crises with odds against them, they weakened and were no braver than they might have been when, for instance, the other man got the drop on them and they looked suddenly into the blackness of forty-four caliber death.

But no tale has ever come down that Billy the Kid ever showed 'the yellow streak'. Every hour in his life was 'zero hour', and he was never afraid to die."

This comes circa 1925, and may very well be rife with sensationalism and romanticism. But even so. Sounds like quite a conflicted, complex...and deadly character.

The kind I love to write about.

And, if you know me, you know there's gotta be a monster in the story somewhere. Let's pretend for a minute that Billy isn't the monster. Given the description above...what kind of monster would be big and bad enough for Billy the Kid to throw down with?

MMMM. Possibilities...