[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hristopher and I were cowboys. It was more than play. We believed we were cattle rustlers. Most days, we left the house dressed like child-sized versions of the Malboro Man.

The Magnificent Two. That’s what we called ourselves. Initially, Christopher wanted to use the names Lone Ranger and Tonto. But I didn’t like that idea one bit. I’d rather eat dirt and bark at the moon than be anyone’s Tonto.

Television westerns were what we lived for. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Big Valley were the blueprints for our playtime.

We were expert marksman with our dummy Winchester rifles and peacemakers. I must’ve killed more bandits and bloodthirsty savages than John Wayne and all the Cartwrights combined.

Those cap guns of ours never missed.

The two of us even wore our cowboy hats to kindergarten. But the teacher wouldn’t allow us to wear them in class. Teacher also made us check our iron at the front door. Still, it made no difference.

Christopher always carried a single-shooter on his ankle.

Once, Christopher was out of school for two whole weeks. I asked my mother why he was absent. She sat me down and explained Christopher had bad kidneys. His parents had taken him to Colorado to let the doctors try to fix him.

She said he wouldn’t be back for a while.

We packaged up two brand new cap guns, a ten-gallon hat, and a few packs of candy cigarettes. We mailed them off to Colorado.

I understand they buried Christopher with those cap guns.

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