There wasn?t a second to think on defense, but, in the sacred millenia awarded to life?s evicted tenants, as Clyde?s body was warning him he was to become, he found time to think about Lilly. It was a good thing, a good face, a good final thing. A very good and simple final thing. The hammer behind the fastidious cylinder fell a bit, lowered like a pointing finger towards the pin in the cylinder. Clyde?s body had already forfeited but his had continued to draw on the pistol in his hip like the way a corpse convulses with firing-off nerve and electrified muscle. But the hammer behind Gamble?s revolver was motioning, cruising like a mace through molasses. Lilly was there, between the hammer and cylinder and pin, between Clyde?s body and the muzzle of Gamble?s revolver. She didn?t look happy, like she often didn?t. She was a pretty girl on the bubble of perfection, shyly standing aside the pristine nucleus of contemporary and refined beauty, but she was better than that anyway. She didn?t have the lines in her face that Gamble and Clyde wore, didn?t have them because she didn?t stand between the muzzle and the beyond. Gamble would say she?d never have the lines. Said that wearing the lines was badge or something overtly mystic and pretentious like that. Gamble was like that: flatly round. Clyde didn?t think she?d ever wear the lines either, but it was because she was strong. Romanticism promotes the bullet and blood and the shadow and corpse, and romanticism then surveys the fleet of faces left scrambling when the romantic ones go to waste for the finales or what-mays. She could only be romantic if Clyde and Gamble never returned, but Clyde thought she was romantic all the time. When the men returned she could no longer be romantic because the finale was postponed, but Clyde didn?t think so. Her finales were infinite.
The big, old revolver spoke and spat a round at Clyde?s collar. Mincing the fabric first, then the flesh, the snappy lead drove into his clavicle and made powder of it, rumbled, changed course, but only minutely, inside his body, and finally punched out a circle of flesh and a knot of leather as it exited his back. And it continued on and ended up yards away in the grasses far beyond the chainlink that caged Craig?s yard, and it dragged Clyde right down to the ground as if it had been on wire and had knotted up his bones, and when it went zooming into the far-beyond grasses it had power like the fisherman over the hooked trout.