Miami isn't the first time that Raylan's been in the dog house over firing his weapon. What really irks him is that instead of dealing with the situation they sent him back home like he was five years old waiting for Arlo to tan his hide raw for sneaking a look up Martha Martins' skirts.
He gave the man fair warning, he can't be held responsible for the results, what had he expected Raylan to do after giving out that kind of ultimatum.
It just bothers him is the thing. Raylan never wants to be any closer to Harlan County than a state and a half away.
Raylan is a force to be reckoned with fresh to the badge and full of the confidence that the shiny star provides. It's his first manhunt, his first assignment and the first time he's taken a life. A human life, that is, because he's been hunting more than twice a year since he was knee high to a grasshopper.
Trips that, now he's older, he understands better. What with them usually coinciding with some crime or another and Bo Cowder being under suspicion and old Arlo wearing his guilt heavy around his shift little eyes.
The point is that once upon a time there was a young buck of a US Marshal fresh on the badge and looking to prove himself on his first man hunt, running through he trees like he was Tommy Lee Jones and when the fugitive finally shows himself Raylan doesn't even hesitate in the slightest, he just breathes out and squeezes the trigger and just like that, the man's life is snuffed away.
The bigwigs don't seem too happy about it, and he hears more than once that they're not at the OK Corral. They put a note in his service file about his attitude and somewhere along the line the departmental shrink seems to believe that watching the light go out of that man’s eyes was punishment enough.
Raylan almost wishes they’d have made a bigger stink out of it. Doesn’t make for much of a punishment when it didn’t really bother him in the first place, and he’ll be hell and damned if he’s going to play the ‘guilty for not feeling guilty’ card with himself.
The bird is in his sights and Raylan breathes out and squeezes the trigger.
“Hooey! Lookit that!”
“Shut it, Boyd!” Raylan hisses.
“You shut it,” Boyd tells him right back with a grin so big it fills and stretches his whole face. He looks like he can take on the world or Raylan Givens in a foul mood.
“No, really, shut it, we’re – “ which is about when Mrs. Griggs comes out on the back porch to see what the noise is about and screeches the neighborhood down at the blood and feathers all over her yard.
Raylan figures they got away clean, with Boyd shooting off at the mouth and all. Then he gets home and Mr. Griggs is waiting on the front step with Arlo. He’s grounded for a month, no privileges. It isn’t the first time that Boyd’s big mouth has gotten him in trouble, and Raylan’s sure it’s not going to be the last.
He’s aiming for the squirrel, he sure as shit wouldn’t aim at the police with a pellet gun, no Sir, sorry Sir. The apology is smooth, well rehearsed and still doesn’t stop him from smirking behind Arlo’s back when Officer Rollins gets back into his car.
Boyd owes him that fifty bucks he got from his Pa. Teach him not to double dog dare Raylan Givens.
“See, that there, the broken branches?” Raylan looks intently into the bushes. He thinks he sees it but there are a lot of broken branches.
“Sure,” he lies and his Pa whaps him on the side of his head with his hat.
“No you don’t, you ain’t looking in the right spot.” Raylan looks again, this time he follows the line of his Pa’s arm until he does see it, a tangle of brambles and broken twigs near the bottom of a bush. He sees the bush shiver with movement inside.
“That’s where they’re at?” Raylan asks his voice is hushed now. He hadn’t realized they were so close by.
“That’s it,” his Pa says and he hands Raylan the shotgun. Raylan holds it like he was shown and his Pa shakes the bushes. The birds shoot out into the sky like a fast moving cloud and Raylan is so startled he pulls the trigger by accident, no aiming involved. But the buckshot flies true and that’s a miracle for sure, Raylan thinks.
His Pa is crowing about his son, seven years old and bagging his first game. Raylan steps up and sees the blood dripping down the birds neck where the buckshot tore it nearly clean off and it just makes him sad. Poor thing never even got a warning.
It’s only later, when his Pa is driving them back home that it really sinks in and his Pa must have seen it on his face because he pulls them over to the side of the road faster than Raylan can say he’s going to be sick and then Raylan is puking up the tuna sandwich and cookies he had for lunch into the bushes.
“It’s a powerful thing, boy, taking a life.” Raylan remembers the sick sweet smell of the blood and thinks there’s more than a little truth to those words.
And One Time He Doesn’t Have To
“You know, Arlo gave me the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given me,” Raylan says. He keeps his voice casual, they’re all friends here, and everyone needs to remember that.
“What’s that, Raylan, No Means No?” Boyd smirks at him from the other side of the bed. He’s made his way into Raylan’s motel room, loaded for bear and armed with a pair of Colt .45’s.
“No, but that’s a good one to remember,” Raylan meets Boyd’s eyes, stares at him until Boyd really stares back. That’s the thing with Boyd, always has been. He’s not paying attention until he’s really looking at you. It’s a might disconcerting at first, and has gotten Boyd into a heap of trouble now and again, but Raylan’s grown used to it over the years that they’ve known each other.
“See, he took me on my first hunting trip, I was seven. He told me ‘it’s a powerful thing, boy, taking a life’ and that’s really stuck with me. Sure, I’ve killed plenty, but it’s all been in the name of the law.”
“Miami wasn’t in the name of the law it was in the name of grandstanding ego.”
“You may be right you may be, but Boyd, where is this going to get you?” there’s no way he’s going to make it across the bed to disarm Boyd, and Boyd is sitting in a chair, feet propped up on the end of the bed casual like. If he has to, he’ll shoot, and this time, he isn’t going aim to injure.
“It gets me you, it gets me my family back, it gets me home,” which is the crux of it all, it would seem.
“Home means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Boyd gives him the same look he gave him that time Raylan had bullshitted his way out of a ticket out on the highway, license freshly laminated in his wallet.
“Don’t go getting philosophical with me now, Raylan, I have neither the time nor inclination for it.” He drops his feet to floor and stands up. He sways a bit, more than likely full of liquid courage.
“I’m the better shot,” Raylan reminds him and Boyd inclines his head in agreement. “And I’ve shot you before, so we both know it.”
“I’m hedging my bets I figure two guns gives me twice the chance.” Boyd’s lips curl up into a mockery of a grin.
“Put the guns down, Boyd, I don’t want to have killing you on my conscience, but I’ll take you down before you can me.” For a minute he thinks Boyd is going to shoot him anyway, but after a while, and a good old fashioned stare down, reason wins out. Raylan sits down beside Boyd when the man slumps onto the end of the bed with a sigh. There’s a nasty bruise on the side of his face, resembles the butt of a shotgun, and his hands tremble when Raylan takes the .45’s away.
“I suppose we could keep this just between the two of us,” Boyd says. He looks like he can take on the world or Raylan Givens in a foul mood but the false bravado doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Oh, I don’t think I’d go that far, but if you’re very lucky, I’ll say you only had one gun.”
“Might be one of the nicer things you’ve ever done for me,” Boyd agrees.