By Charles Ramos, Jr.

Believe it or not, the story you are about to read is 100% true. No names have been changed because the innocent need no protection, and the statute of limitations ran out decades ago anyway. The guilty know who they are, and that’s good enough for me.

43 years have come and gone since that crazy night in rural Arkansas but I still recall very clearly how it all began with one simple statement. Even after all these years it still lies as fresh in my memory as if it had just happened yesterday.

“You did what!?”I heard my mother ask, Bill , my stepfather when he told her what he had done. Bill repeated himself confirming it.

“I paid two guys to come and kill you all tonight.” and he said it as matter-of-factly as if he were saying he’d made a pot of coffee or was in the mood for a grilled cheese sandwich.

” And just how much did you pay them?” My mom wanted to know even though she clearly didn’t believe a word of it. That was because Bill was given to drinking far too heavily and lying far too often.

“I paid them two cases of beer.” Bill replied smugly. That hardly lent much credence to his claim in my mother’s eyes or those of my little brother Richard who was 12 and I was a world-weary 14 going on 40.

My mother did not want to believe Bill and she told him as much but the sad truth was that with Bill even such an absurd statement was well within the realm of possibility.

For that very reason while they continued to argue over that and numerous other things I made up my mind that he was probably telling the truth for once because of the smarmy way he was bragging about it.. Still he could have been lying, even so I decided not to take any chances and made plans to lay an ambush for the assassins should they show up as advertised. 

I waited until they had taken their argument outdoors and took the opportunity I had been waiting for. I went into their bedroom and quickly searched until I found what I was looking for. Equalizers.
Bill had a 20 gauge Remington pump shotgun, my mother had a 22 caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol with a German Luger holster, and then there was my own gun, a Marlin bolt action 22 rifle I got for my birthday 2 years before.

There was also an ample supply shotgun shells and .22 caliber bullets. I took them all lock, stock, and barrel and I hurried back to the bedroom I shared with my little brother. His eyes bugged wide-open when he saw that I had taken all of the guns and ammunition
“What are you going to do with those?” He asked in a hushed voice.

“If those guys show up like Bill said they are then we’re going to give them a surprise party.” I replied.

He thought it was a good idea but being as young and naive as he was he was still scared. Bill had been thoughtful enough to tell our Mom what time the hit men would be arriving that evening. They would be there at 7:00 pm.

So at 6:30 Richard and I snuck the guns out to our mother’s Mazda pickup truck and sat in the cab while I loaded the shotgun, pistol, and my rifle.

“What are we going to do if they come while we’re still in the truck?” Richard asked as I stuffed the rest of the shells into my pockets.

“If they do then I will kill the dome light and sneak out into the woods. You duck down on the floorboard where they won’t see you when they walk by.” I told him, “but don’t worry they won’t.” I assured him. Talk about your famous last words. No sooner had I spoken them a car pulled into our driveway.

“They’re here!” Richard cried out as I reached up and turned off the dome light overhead.

Our killers had come early but that was not really a problem. “I know.” I said, “Now get down on the floorboard and don’t let them see you. Stay here and I’ll be back for you in a few minutes.”

As he got down on the floorboard I open the driver side door praying that I had correctly set the dome light switch so that it would not light up when the door opened. Thank God it did not come on as I slipped out of the truck and closed the door. I crept alongside the front tire around to the front of the truck and watched the car coming up our driveway through the windows of the cab. The topper on the bed assured that it was impossible for them to see me.

Our trailer, it should be pointed out, sat on 14 acres of forest land outside of Dardanelle Arkansas. Behind us was the Ouachita National Forest and in front of us just across the highway was Dardanelle Lake not a stone’s throw away.

That night it was extremely dark and I was dressed all in black from head to toe. I had belted on the Luger holster but I was carrying the two rifles and it was rather awkward. I planned to hide one of the long guns when I slipped into the woods only a few feet away from the driveway that cut a path through the border of the forest.

There I would be able move around unseen by our new friends. My hiding place was a bit tenuous but I decided that if they did happen to discover me then the element of surprise would be on my side and only a fool would argue with a 20 gauge pump shotgun. I hoped.

I moved slowly around the side of the truck as an old white car which turned out to be a Rambler from the 1960s pulled up behind the Mazda and stopped about 20 feet away and off to one side. I could see the driver clearly as I did my best to meld with the shadows alongside the truck hoping that the driver would not walk around my side of the truck but go the other way around past the side Richard was hiding in so they would be unable to see either one of us in the gloaming of nightfall.

I could not see the man in the passenger seat but I did when they had first pulled up in the driveway. What I had not seen was that there were two more people in the backseat, but they did not get out when the two men up front did. I could feel the truck rocking and shaking while Richard tried to make himself one with the floor mat. I remember wishing that he would hurry up and achieve that oneness before he gave our presence away to the killers.

Just as I had hoped he would the driver walked around the front of his car then he and his partner walked past Richard and myself blissfully unaware they were being followed by the tiny brass bead atop the end of a gleaming shotgun barrel. Had they spotted either one of us the whole thing would have ended right then and there in a cloud of bird shot and gun smoke. But alas, no such luck.

The lights in the trailer were all ablaze and spilling bright golden light out into the dooryard but the comforting rays of light could not compete with the pitch black Arkansas night, and the shadows of the tall pines that surrounded us.

I knew that I had to avoid that light at all costs as I moved away from the truck and out across open ground to the woods facing the front of our trailer. I made it unseen to the small but cavernous clearing beside our now abandoned dog kennels. They were the remnants of Bill’s harebrained scheme to raise Beagles to sell for hunting dogs when the state was contemplating banning larger dogs from running deer. Like most everything else he did it did not amount to anything at all when the bill failed to pass in the state legislature.

It was there that I made myself a sniper’s nest where I could easily keep a weather eye on our guests. Both of whom I could clearly see through the numerous bay windows spaced along the front of the trailer. The windows were open and I could hear them talking every now and then. I was afraid for my mother’s safety but I had decided that if one of them was foolish enough to pull out a gun a head shot from a .22 long rifle hollow point would definitely changed his mind. The battle plan from that point on was to take control of the situation through surprise and superior firepower to get my mom out of the trailer and away to safety.

Then while our would-be terminators were still inside with their employer I intended to blow up the twin propane tanks that sat close to the front door. Both of which contains approximately 200 gallons of compressed propane gas between them. The resulting explosion would no doubt be spectacular and would devastate anything near them.

Including the trailer, and whatever manner of trash that was in it.

Before long Bill, Mom, and Bill’s two hired hit men whom I had by then learned were named Daryl and his other brother Darryl, or Donald, or whatever his name was left the trailer and came outside into the dooryard.

The floodlight beside the front of the door was on now and I could see that Daryl had a silver handgun tucked into his belt, partially but not completely hidden beneath the denim jacket he wore. That meant I kept the sights of my rifle trained upon him the entire time they were out there.

I did not know it at the time but my mom had already warned Daryl and Darryl that I was out there in the woods somewhere with a rifle pointed at them and that I’m an expert shot. She told them that if they pulled that gun I would blow them all straight to Hell. All of which was true, but how she knew I was out there and armed is beyond me to this day.
I guess it’s an inescapable truth that your mother always knows what you are up to even if you don’t think she does. A mother just knows so I guess it’s a mom thing. (Note to self self find out how Mom knew all that stuff).

I couldn’t hear the conversation but it had taken on a more civil tone than it had started off with when they were inside. No longer were they arguing and I relaxed a little but I did not let my guard down for even a second. Daryl was still armed and they were still there because they had been paid to come and kill us. And $14 worth of beer is $14 worth of beer after all and a job is a job. After about 30 minutes of jawboning they went back inside so I went and got Richard out of the truck.

That was when we discovered that the Rambler was still occupied by two young ladies in their twenties. They saw us and called us over so we went to see what was up. I was still armed so I was not really worried about them being a danger to us. Their names were Betty and Little Bit. Betty was a big big girl on the far side of 250 lb while Little bit was a tiny dark haired girl. Both of them were very nice though and we started talking to them. We discovered they had just come along for the ride and had no idea what they were doing there at our house.

I stashed the shotgun and my .22 rifle against a nearby tree well out of sight but I still had the Ruger on my belt. In the dark against my black clothing they could not see the holster. Ironically right there in the backseat sat the two cases of beer that had purchased lives of my mom, my younger brother, and me.
It was bad enough that we weren’t worth much more than $9.33 apiece to our would-be killers, but to make matters even worse it was Miller in the can and it was lukewarm. YUCK! Talk about adding insult to injury.

I figured what the hell though and bummed a beer from them and little bit gave Richard one as well. We sat there in the driveway drinking our assassins beer and shooting the breeze with their women while they were inside doing whatever it is that cheap assassins do when they’re not actually assassinating.

After a couple of beers I felt the sudden urge to answer the call of nature so I sidled over along the side of the Rambler out of side of the girls and was about to take a leak behind the car when I happened to notice the gas cap was right there.

Being ever the clever practical prankster that I am, not to mention being slightly tipsy already from two beers I was in a rare mood and I thought, what the hell? I carefully removed the gas cap whipped it out and pissed in their gas tank, and laughing to myself the whole time.

When I was finished I whispered to Richard that whenever he had to pee he should pee in the gas tank which was still open Richard did just that too. Who says that little brothers aren’t good for anything? Oh yeah that was me wasn’t it? So anyway.

We passed at least two hours there shooting the shit, drinking their beer, and pissing it into the Rambler’s gas tank as it made its way through our bodies. I know I visited the gas tank three times myself and Richard pissed in it at least two times. We drank a pretty fair amount of their beer but since we gave it all back I would say it was a fair trade. Eventually our would-not-be killers came outside again and I vanished into the night. Meanwhile Richard who was now half drunk stayed there by the Rambler talking to the girls. I don’t know how it happened really, I guess it was my drunken 12 year old brother’s bright idea but he brought Daryl over to where I was lurking behind a tree keeping an eye on the Daryl twins.

Daryl introduced me to himself, “Hi, I’m Daryl,” he said holding out his hand for me to shake but since I was armed to the teeth with a long gun in each hand I could not shake it. Jokingly I replied, “Hi, I’m the National guard armory and laughed about it because I was carrying enough arms and ammo to start a brief but intense war with myself or any assassins who happened to drop by.

Daryl, however, failed to see the humor and nearly blew a head gasket. “Oh yeah?! he snapped back at me, “well I’m a Green Beret. I’m going to go get my gun and then we’ll see how bad you really are! I’ll kill you!” he yelled as he ran back to the trailer. Apparently to borrow his gun back from his brother Donald or Daffy or whatever it was.

“Okay fine. You just do that.” I said to his back as he ran away. “And while you do that I’ll just move to a nicer ambush spot. But first I got myself another warm beer and took a pee in his gas tank again. I set up my ambush behind a fishing cabin that sat at the end of our driveway because it was out in the open but the moon cast black pools of deep shadows beneath the trees behind me and back lit the highway at the entrance to our driveway.

I figured that Mister Green Beret who forgot his gun would be along in due time if you really wanted to kill me and to my delight he did not disappoint me nor did he make me wait very long. I had yet to finish my beer when here he comes running up the driveway. I took the safety off of the shotgun and brought it to bear on the spot where he would emerge on the other side of the cabin.

The silver glow of the full moon light gleamed off of the brass bead at the end of the barrel and it did not waver a single millimeter as Daryl appeared in it in the sight picture. The little bead easily tracked his head which was beautifully framed in the moonlight. He was running straight into the jaws of death and didn’t even know it.

I had my finger on the trigger and I was about to send him back to God when here comes my idiot little brother running down the driveway right behind him helping him look for me of all things. I loved my little brother but I swear he can be such a dumb ass sometimes. I could not take chance of shooting him by accident so I pulled back and retreated into the shadows while Mr. Beret searched high and low for me but he never did find me. Unbeknownst to him that failure saved his life.

Finally he abandoned the search he went back inside and I went back to drinking his beer with Richard, Betty, and Little Bit and pissing it back in his gas tank. The girls never did catch us peeing in the tank and Richard and I were laughing ourselves sick every time we filled her up.

But now this is where the story gets weird. Or should I say weirder? I will say things went from weird to worse then got a lot weirder. God only knows how, so I can only guess how it came about, but somehow we all suddenly became good friends that night. The next thing we know Richard and I are going out to Daryl and his other brother Darryl’s house to spend the night.

To make it even stranger still we went with them! I was fairly drunk by then but I didn’t think I was quite that drunk. Even so there we were in the assassins Rambler headed off to God only knows where in the middle of the night.

We rode up front with Darrell who was quite drunk while Darly who was even drunker sat in the back seat wedged tightly in between Betty and Little Bit. We were tooling along through the darkened Arkansas countryside for a very long time and during all this time Richard and I both watched gas gauge very closely. I had noticed while talking to the girls that they had arrived with a quarter of a tank, but by the time we left our house it had gone up to half of a tank.

That of course meant that half of the gas in the tank was nothing but recycled beer, and the other half was unleaded. We drove on for what seemed like forever and neither Richard nor myself had the slightest idea where we were once we left Paris and London far behind. That wasn’t half as bad as the fact that both of us knew that any minute now the Rambler was sure to get a mouth full of piss and die from it way the hell out in the middle of Bumfuck Egypt.

I watched the gas gauge, prayed a lot and waited for the inevitable. By this time Daryl had passed out cold and had slumped over on Betty’s shoulder. He was snoring loudly as we came to a turn off from the highway and the Rambler began slowing down to make the turn onto a dirt road. It was then that Betty tried to wake him up but without a great deal of luck.

“Hey! Wake up Darryl we’ll be home in a minutes,” she said as she shook him hard enough to rattle his wisdom teeth loose. But Daryl was out like the proverbial light.

“Hey!” she shouted after a few more unsuccessful attempts to rouse him, “you better wake up because if my old man sees you sitting next to me you know he will get jealous and he’ll kill you. Still Daryl did not stir, not even the slightest despite Betty’s warnings of imminent danger death waiting just around the bend. Meanwhile, I was trying to wrap my beer-soaked brain around the mental image of Betty’s old man. I was thinking she has got to be kidding.

It was at this point that Betty reared back with a big meaty fist and sock Daryl with a reverse uppercut right in the cojones. You know that had to hurt because it hurt me just to watch it. All that time I had suspected that Daryl was faking being asleep but I was wrong. He never even stopped snoring.

“Damn, woman all you did was knock him out for real I told her.

But a minute later Daryl did wake up and traded places with little bit he never even mentioned his sore cojones either. All I can say is, DAMN! We drove down a straight pitch-dark back country dirt road for what must have been 20 miles into the thick forest land and all the while my thoughts alternated between the gas gauge and wondering when the rambler was going to die and leave us stranded at midnight in the garden of Good and Lost, and debating myself over whether I should have Donald stop so I could pee in it again. I decided not to push my luck that far.

At long last we reached the home of the to Darrell’s home sweet home scared which I later learned was in the area of little Texarkana due to its close proximity to Big Texarkana. We pulled up in the driveway in front of a rundown old trailer(of course) that sat close to the road. near buy set a second trailer that was off to one side. Everybody piled out of the car then Betty and little bit went off towards the other trailer to the sidewall us boys along with the rest of the beer went into the closer trailer.

Their trailer looked old and run down from the outside but inside it was actually fairly nice and cozy . So after a quick trip to the bathroom I grabbed myself another beer and settled into an armchair beside the living room door which was to my left. To say that it was really weird to be sitting there in the lair of our assassins would be or not or after otherwise is the understatement of the century but it was cool and soon we were all shooting the breeze like old war buddies at the local VFW Hall.

Richard was sitting in an old green couch beside my chair and Darrell was on the other end of the couch while Daryl stood beside him leaning back against the wall.

So there we were just drinking beer and having some yuck’s when all of a sudden the front door exploded outward slamming into the outside wall of the trailer behind me so hard that it damn near scared the crap right out of me I don’t mind telling you. Little did I know yet but that was nothing compared to what was coming next.

If you were to go back in time to a Blockbuster Video rental store and go to the horror section you would find a movie whose name I cannot recall but I can see it the cover even with my eyes closed or wide open.

There on the cover of this horror movie stands a man in a dirty pair of bib overalls. He’s standing in an open doorway and he has a dirty scraggly long black beard and hair and he looks like the professional wrestler once known as hillbilly Jim. He is a mountain of a man and in one giant fist he holds a massive inch butcher knife.

The man on the movie box does not look at all friendly to say the least. When the door flew open I spun around to see who it was and there in Daryl’s doorway stood the man who must have served as the model for that picture. Either that or it was his bigger evil twin brother.

Either way I could not have cared less which was which because this giant had the biggest damn butcher knife I had ever seen before in my life. And brother let me tell you that man was severely pissed off at somebody for something, I only hoped that it wasn’t me.

“Daryl you son of a bitch,” he roared I’m going to kill you!” Whew! dodged that bullet I thought, it’s not me thank God. He damn sure convinced me though so I started looking for an alternative exit from that damned trailer because a tiny little voice in my drunken brain was telling me that this homicidal maniac was probably not going to be in the mood to leave any living witnesses lying around.

That little voice was also urging me to either find an exit or make my own exit if I could not find one. the pissed-off homicidal giant seemed to be in quite an ill humor because somehow or other he had found out that Daryl had been in the back seat of the rambler with his wife Betty. Which of course ended all of my mental musing about the physiognomy of Betty’s husband right then and there.

“You sorry mother fucker!” He roared. ” How many times have I told you before about screwing around with my wife? Now you are going to die!” he informed poor Daryl who, Green Beret or no Green Beret looked for all the world like he was even closer to shitting his pants than I was. Which hardly seemed possible just then. Quickly I looked around the trailer and wouldn’t you just know that the damn thing did not have a back door like our trailer did? Nor did it have any windows in sight except for the one right behind me. Of course.

I then decided that I had two options open to me. I could either go into the bathroom and jump out the tiny window or I could just make a hole in the wall and run for it. Or or I could start acting like I was deaf, dumb, and blind and say I saw no evil heard no evil and was incapable of speaking evil, in the hopes that the giant would not decide to kill me anyway. Personally I was leaning heavily towards option two but I could not just run off and leave my hapless little brother there all by himself to be slaughtered.

I decided that since the big man was probably going to kill Daryl first that while he was busy doing that I would grab Richard and see about setting a new land speed record for running 20 miles down a dark deserted Arkansas back road.

I figured why the hell not? Iif he can catch me in the woods in the dark then good luck, and more power to him because my own plans called for being at least three miles away by the time he was finished carving Daryl up much less his other brother Darryl.

The not so Jolly Green Giant was so jealous of his beloved Betty and the man could see nothing but red at that moment. I thought for certain it was curtains for brother Daryl but the big man never moved past the door post, (Thank you Jesus). He just wanted to vent his spleen at Daryl who for his part was doing his very best to placate him. I guess once the big man saw that his domain was not being challenged and felt that he had sufficiently scared half the life out of all of us he began to calm down. He gave Daryl a warning about screwing around with his woman again and then with a menacing growl that was more befitting a Grizzly bear than a man, he turned on his heel and left us to try and get our hearts beating again on our own.

I personally had to make another trip to the bathroom to check my underwear for foreign substances and the line formed up behind me. Richard and I both proceeded to get stinking drunk which really wasn’t very far from where we are at already. Darryl and Darryl made us right at home with pillows and blankets when we finally decided to pass out on the living room floor. Later the same day, right after we all had breakfast they took us back home again.

And again all I could think about was how close that gas gauge was to reaching a quarter of a tank again. Since piss is mostly made up of water it doesn’t mix too well with gasoline. I was sure that we were going to end up walking home but believe it or not we actually made it home again home again jiggity jig. The Darryls only stayed for a few minutes to chat with Bill who, as it later turned out was their supervisor on a Yell County work crew then they split never to be seen by us again.

We did see Betty and Little Bit who were friends of my older brother Jerry’s, from time to time, however; It turned out that the Darrell’s offered to take Richard and I home with them to allow Bill and our mother to kiss and make-up. Yeah right like that would ever happen. Personally I would have just as soon they had went somewhere and checked into a motel or sent us to one rather than sending us to the farther side of Bumfuck, Arkansas with two rejects from the movie Deliverance. But when you’re a 14 year old kid what can you do? Sigh.
Frankly, I am very happy that I did not have to kill Daryl that night because I don’t think a 14 year old boy should have to kill his own assassins until he is at least 18. Maybe 21 which is now the legal drinking age. I later got the opportunity to body slam Bill a couple of times. I later had an opportunity to body slam Bill a couple of times so I guess we’re even now but I often remember the night of the hillbilly hit men and that rambler and cannot help but laugh my ass off at the sheer absurdity of it all.

If I have learned anything at all from that whole insane experience I would say it is this.

When it comes to hit men you get what you pay for.

Telling your intended victims ahead of time that you hired someone to kill them and when they are coming is just plain stupid.

Stay the Hell away from married fat chicks named Betty.

And if you really want a good reliable used car that gets great gas mileage, go out and find yourself and old Rambler and a keg of beer. Apparently they can run on piss. Who knew?

The End .Paragraph

If you enjoyed this true story as much as I did recounting it for you and would like to contribute a small donation please click on the link below. Any amount at all will certainly help me while I am struggling to recover from kidney cancer and get back on my own two feet. I pay everything forward 100%. God bless you and yours and thank you for visiting my website in any event. Charles Ramos Jr.

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