By Devil and By Damn

We went up the hill the six of us (this was during the war when we was all young and stupid) and I remember Dave said he was going down the other side no matter what.

“You go down that side,” I said, “and you won’t come back up. Not the way you came down.”

“By damn,” said Dave, “I’m going down that side.” And he went ass-over-teakettle down the long slide kicking rocks and grit and scrubbrush out of his way all the way down to the bottom by god if he didn’t and we stood at the top and watched him. When he got to the bottom he lay there kicking a little he was like a dog sleeping and Tyson yelled down at him was he okay? And Dave sent up a little bit of a moan that went so far as to say, by damn, he was alive.

Well we weren’t going to go after him not after watching that long slide and so I yelled at him to get his ass back up top doubletime or he’d be eating blood with his mess tonight see if he didn’t.

“By damn,” said Dave, weaklike (and you could tell there was something wrong with his mouth the way it echoed off the hillside) and tried to stand and couldn’t and so there was nothing for it but to go down after him. I sent Lemay back for some rope and warned him to keep his fool mouth shut and swore at Dave for being every kind of a fool I could think of but of course we went down after him anyway and near to broke our heads doing it but there it was. You couldn’t leave a man at the bottom of a hill no matter how much of an idiot he was.