The Eyes of Texas

The following is an excerpt from my novel in progress, The Eyes of Texas. 13-year-old Dallas native Jolene Purdy skips school to watch the President and Mrs. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. What she witnesses not only changes her life but the entire world.

My daddy never had boys. I was his only child. He took me deer hunting one season and had me shoot one. He told me not to shoot it in the head because he saved the heads to mount them in the cabin up north. I guess he and his buddies had some kind of competition to see how many deer heads they could decorate their cabins with. I found it disgusting.

Daddy said the reason we went deer hunting was to control the population. If we didn’t the deer would take over the woods. There’d be dead deer lying all over the place and deer wandering into town looking for food like cats. I said, “Yeah, but we don’t kill cats and mount them on the wall.”

He said, “That’s because they don’t have pretty antlers.”

But I wanted to please Daddy so I tried to kill one and, of course, I shot it in the head. When we got up close, the bullet tore through his skull like a piece of bloody carpet ripped up, flap hanging and all. There was no way Daddy could ever mount that and show it off. I thought he’d yell.

But he didn’t say nothing. He just looked at it, tied its legs and said, “Jolene, you shore made us a lot of venison for tonight!”

On November 22, 1963, I was right to the side of President Kennedy when he was shot. He looked just like that deer.