If this is looking familiar to you -- it should. I'm moving many of my one-shots to this account.

Author's Note: So I pretty much submitted this movie as a category (well, I was at least one of them), so I figure I'm obligated to write a story here! Anyhow. So Pumpkin is hands down my favorite character. Partly because I love Tim Roth, partly because ... he's pretty awesome. So ... on with the story!

Disclaimer: Yeah ... definitely don't own it. But I love Quentin Tarantino, if that counts for anything. Obviously, too, the title is the same as the Dusty Springfield song used in the movie.


Son of a Preacher Man

Some pretty fucked-up things run through a fellow's head when there's a gun pointed in his face.

I mean, you'd think I'd be used to it; I've had a lot of fucking guns shoved against my temple or pressed up against my forehead. I've even held it there myself once or twice. But most the time, when a barrel's in your face, you had some inclination of it coming. You saw the holster, the badge, the tough look, something tipped you off. Something says, this bastard shouldn't be fucked around with. But this guy ... with his volleyball T-shirt and quiet eyes, when he pulls a .45 out of his fuckin' gym shorts, you just don't have the thinking time to see it coming.

I was staring down that shiny black metal, but I was seeing a thousand things at once. It's happened too many times for me life to flash before me eyes, or whatever shit they tell you about in the movies. I'm pretty sure that splendid memory shit didn't happen the first time, either. I wasn't thinkin' about the first time some asshole waved a gun in my face. To be honest, I wasn't really thinking much of anything. It was just like ... like sunlight. Like when you squit into the sun and everything's real white and it hurts, after about a second.

Something different happens, every time some jackass points a gun at you. But somewhere in your head, it's the same thing. Somewhere in your head, you're saying to yourself, "I have to get out of this. Any way I can, I have to get out 'a this." Reasons change. One time, I fucking swear, holding up a gas station in TJ, this beaner whips out a .44 -- a fucking ... you know like in Taxi Driver? When Bobby De Niro's buyin' the guns, and he takes the .44? Like that, this Mexi motherfucker's wavin' in my face, and the only thing I can think is, "I gotta get out 'a this, so I can get a glass a water again." 'Cause I was in Mexico, you know -- fuckin' TJ -- and ya can't drink the water in TJ. Make ya sick.

But when this fellow, this tough hero-type dressed like he was late for the beach, when that guy had that gun cocked and aimed, all I can think is how bright the sun gets in July, and how I got to make it out 'a this so I can see Liverpool in July again. And that thought bothered me, 'cause I fuckin' hate Liverpool. Haven't been there since the day I left when I was sixteen. Somewhere in the back 'a my head I can hear Yolanda screaming at this guy, but I wasn't really thinking about it. I kept telling her to chill out, be cool like he says, but I don't hear myself sayin' it. All I know in me head is my old man, standing at the front 'a his little church with that same clergy collar tight on his neck, glaring down at me as I swat all the fucking flies buzzing in the heat. He glared at me every Sunday for one thing or another; snorting cocaine in the bathroom or fucking the deacon's daughter in the yard. And something about that guy reminded me of him.

I got his wallet, like he wanted. There's not a lot you can do when a bastard's got a gun in your face. I like his wallet. I wished he hadn't had the gun so I could keep it. But I guess the money inside's a whole lot better than whatever he's got printed on the five dollar bit of leather. I got a head for numbers; I'm used to counting at a glance. He's the kind of guy that doesn't carry cards, so despite his expert act and cool grip and eyes like my father's, I know he's in the same boat as me. We ain't honest enough for anything more than cash. He's got fifteen hundred dollars. He's got to do hits to carry that kind of dough.

"You read the Bible, Ringo?"

I didn't tell him my name's Michael. It's just as well; he was looking me over like Dad used to, and I may as well've been a fifteen-year-old punk ass kid.

"Not regularly, no."

I couldn't tell you what he said after that. It was long and cold and he meant every word, and it may as well have been a sermon in Liverpool. My stomach was nervous and I wanted to throw up. I wanted to throw up because men like my father ain't supposed to shove a .44 in my face, and they ain't supposed to tell me ...

"You are the weak, and I am the tyranny of evil men ..."

It was like that time ... the time I forget and don't think about because it doesn't matter anymore ... But the time, just the same, when Dad bailed me out of jail crying. I don't know how it was like it, but it was. Maybe nothing about it was the same; it was raining that night and I was starving, and now it was a sunny morning after breakfast. And Dad didn't have no fucking .44. But I got that same feeling.

"But I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd."

Dear God, let me make it to July.