The sawbones had finished with her and waved the two lawmen in.
She was laid up in bed, a thick wrap of fresh gauze around her head, holding a mass of bandages against where the bullet had grazed her skull. Sawbones had said if it had been any closer, she’d be blind. Or dead.
The two men gave her a curt nod and started right in with their questions.
“Ma’am. Would you care to state your name for the record?” began the taller of the pair.
“I’m Big Mary.”
“That your given name?” asked the shorter one.
“No, it ain’t,” she snorted. “But, that’s what folks know me as.”
“What happened here earlier this evening? Looks like someone took a shot at you.”
“Oh, nothin’ much.” She gave a grin, even though it hurt her to do so. “Just one man comin’ home to find another man takin’ advantage of a privilege he thought was his alone.”
“And what might that privilege be?”
“Me.” She widened her grin as far as the pain would allow.
The lawmen gave each other awkward looks.
“And these men, what were their names?”
“John.” And then, before they could ask, “Yes, they’re both Johns.”
This story of a fictionalized account of what actually happened in February of 1862. According to the reporting paper, Big Mary was a woman of the worst sort of reputation. Me? I don’t know, I think she’s pretty much the epitome of everything Memphis.