Evan Brandon Bruno is a novelist, screenwriter, and freelancer who lives with his beautiful wife and three dogs in the balconied homes of North Texas. He earned his Masters of English Literature as well as dual Bachelors degrees in Advertising and Journalism from Texas Tech University before pursuing doctoral work at The University of North Texas. His fiction has appeared in The Idiot, The Fourth River literary journal, and his book Rust & Salt was a finalist in the Risen Fiction Book Contest in 2011.
The following is a transcript attained through the United States Freedom of Information Act of the interrogation of one, Amarillo Rust, by a governmental agent whose name and agency have been redacted from all records concerning this case. It is our hope that further investigation into the Tahoka, Texas incident through all means legal and otherwise will adequately explain the strange events of late 2011 therein. The government is definitely hiding something:
Rust: You picked me up, I assume you know.
Rust: We really gonna do this?
Agent: Name and rank, soldier.
Rust: Fine… Amarillo Rust. Sergeant Major, United States Army retired… K?
Agent: And what’s your current profession, Sergeant?
Rust: Used to work at a cotton mill.
Agent: Used to.
Rust: Used to.
Agent: That would be in Tahoka, Texas. That right?
Rust: It would.
Agent: And what brought you to Tahoka, Sergeant? Says here you were born in somewhere called Wylie?
Rust: I’m 52 years old, bub. I reckon people move around a bit before they fall into the mud.
Agent: Fair enough. Problem is it seems like wherever you go, you leave a trail of dead people behind you. Now, why is that?
Rust: I’m sorry, you tellin’ me there’s somewhere I could go where people don’t die while you’re there? Can you get me a ticket?
Agent: No, it’s a little more specific than that, Mr. Rust.
Rust: Oh, it’s ‘mister’ now.
Agent: You lived only minutes from a farmhouse where an elderly farmer was found dead by a gunshot wound to the head. That’s Tahoka. You were positively ID’d at a coffee shop in Roswell, New Mexico where another old man shot and killed himself with a pistol in front of several stunned patrons. Says right here you were involved in a bizarre traffic accident resulting in the deaths of two as yet unidentified men, landing you in a Lubbock ICU for smoke inhalation after you were found unconscious outside of a burning building.
Rust: Well, now that you say–
Agent: Your farmhouse was found burned, but fire investigators still found several spent bullet casings as well as bullet holes in both walls and furniture scattered around the wreckage. Different firearm makes too, but no bodies, and no guns found at the scene. Then here it says that your grand–
Rust: Okay, that’ll be enough. Stop it right there, kid. How do you know about–?
Agent: Be surprised what we know, Mr. Rust.
Rust: If you’re trying to blame me for what happened in Tahoka last year, you’re out of your mind. I wasn’t anywhere near that town, and thank the Lord I wasn’t. I don’t know what happened, but if you ask me, what I saw on the news? Those people walking around dazed like that? The fires? I’d say whatever happened looked a whole lot more like something your government boys could pull off. Not the work of some small town cotton gin worker. What am I doing here anyway, detective?
Agent: I agree. No small town cotton gin worker could do it, but you and I both know, you aren’t just some small town cotton gin worker, are you Mr. Rust?
[Note: Tape suggests evidence of a commotion. Ruffled papers. Audible shock from the presiding agent. No sound or evidence found of the locked interrogation room door either opening or closing.]
Unknown Voice: You are entirely correct, Agent D*****. The man sitting before you is no mere gin worker, no. In fact, he is much, much more than that. His charge is far greater than you could imagine, and his attendance is desperately needed elsewhere. I apologize for his abrupt departure, Agent D*****, but Mr. Rust has souls to save.
Agent: Wh-Who are you?
Unknown Voice: Just a messenger, Agent D*****. Just an obedient messenger.