Maggie, Hero of Love Rules by Rita Hestand

Who are you?

My name is Maggie, the Rebels call me the “Black widow.” I’m a northern spy and a runaway slave. I’m a little over eighteen now, been livin’ here in this shack in Arkansas for thee long years by myself. All I got to do is report what I see to the Federals and I can stay here.

What is your problem in the story?

I’m a runaway slave who is trying to keep a roof over my head and the only way to do it is to spy for the Federals. I don’t like doin’ it, but what choice do I have. All of this created more enemies for me after the war was over. The prison guards wanted to kill me. I was supposed to hang for bein’ a spy, but they found out I was pregnant and couldn’t hang a innocent. This made the guards even madder, thinking it unjust.

Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?

Well…sort of. You see I ain’t never had a man before and I sorta went crazy when I first seen Jesse. I wanted him so bad. I never knew I could want a man like that. I let him have me any way he wanted, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was so young and foolish, but I just couldn’t help myself.

How do you see yourself.

I’m a mullato, half black and half white, daughter of a plantation owner and slave. I never meant to hurt anyone, I was just trying to get by. I want what every woman wants, home, family, a man to love her. Who’d have thought I’d fall for a white man…but I did. He was gorgeous and something inside me heated up the minute I looked at him.

How do your enemies see you?

Naturally the Rebs think I’m poison, that I meant to kill all those soldiers. Truth is I didn’t think much on it till I met Jesse, then everything changed.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Oh she got me down good. “Cept I didn’t know I was that sexy, but I won’t complain. Jessie and I made love like we invented the word. Lovin’ Jesse made me come alive as a woman.

Do you have a hero?

Sort of….Jesse is the nicest man I’ve ever known. The only white man I ever knowed that don’t see color. He sees you for what you are!

Do you have any special weaknesses?

Oh yeah, but I didn’t know about them till Jesse came along. I had a weakness for him. He was so handsome lying there, I couldn’t keep my hands off the man. I wanted him like no other man I ever knew. Deep down, I knew what I was doin’ when I brought him to my cabin. But, have you ever met someone and just knew you had to be with them. I fell in love….with Jesse from the moment I laid eyes on him.

What are you afraid of?

I thought I might lost Jesse when I went to report to the Federals after we made love all night long and he finally went to sleep. But I had to do it, you understand. They would have come after me for not reporting in.

What makes you angry?

That those guards blame me for all those men dyin’ at Pea Ridge. I wasn’t the only spy. I didn’t pull the trigger, I wasn’t even there. All I did was tell them where they were, that’s all!

What makes you sad?

That those men died…and I guess if I was truthful that it was my fault. I have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life. It ain’t easy. I was wrong to do it, I see that now.

What do you regret?

Going to the Federals after Jesse made passionate love to me. It was hard to do, but I was scared, and I knew they’d come lookin’ fer me.

What is your biggest disappointment? Jesse turnin me in like he did, He knew I’d go to prison. Bein’ black made it worse too. I couldn’t believe he could make love to me like he did and then turn me in. I figured he didn’t love me at all.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

Oh yes, where my daddy whipped me. My daddy was the plantation owner and I tried to escape a lot. We lived in Louisana and I finally made it out of there with the help of the man who should have been my father all along. Only he died helping me escape. He was a good man.

Who is your true love?

Jesse Coleman, I knew it when he let me and Abby live there in his cabin and respected all my foolish Love Rules I set up. But mind you I had to set them up. When we first met we was foolish kids, but being grown, we had to act like adults. Sex was great, but I wanted the stability of a home and a man that loved me not just for my body. I had to know how Jesse felt about ME and our baby.

Was there a major turning point in your life? Oh yes, the day I looked down into that Reb’s face and fell in love with a complete stranger…a white man. I didn’t believe in love.

What is your most closely guarded secret?

Just how much and how deep my love is for Jesse Coleman. After the war I came looking for the cabin he told me about. I used the excuse I guess of wanting his protection, when what I really wanted was his love, and for us to be a family. But I had to know if he really loved me, or just wanted me like some whore. I needed to know if what we shared was deeper than that for him. Abby was his daughter, would he love her? I had to give him a chance to prove it to me, because I loved him so. Needed him so. So I set those Love Rules up. Jesse hated them, but he was a good man and I did trust him despite what he’d done to me. I needed to know if we could make it together or not. If he could live with the Love Rules, then I knew we could. Trouble was, I wasn’t at all sure I could endure my own rules.

Click here for an interview with: Victor Frank, villain of Better Off Without Her by Rita Hestand

Victor Frank, the villian in “Better Off Without Her” by Rita Hestand

What is your story?
You don’t want to know. It’s too ugly and gory to do no tellin’.

Who are you?
My name is Victor Frank, I’m the villian from Better Off Without Her by Rita Hestand.

Where do you live?
My home, if you want to call it a home is in northern Pandhandle Texas. But I don’t live there, I move around a lot. I’m lookin’ for someone.

What is your problem in the story?
I’m trying to find the man who spent most of his time laughing at me as a kid. The man who sat around dreamin’ up things to do to me, to hurt me. I’m gonna kill my Uncle J.I.

Do you embrace conflict?
Never thought about conflict, don’t know what it is, what it means. I never went to school, so I don’t know what all words mean.

How do you see yourself?
I’m a shell of a man, I don’t know how to talk to people, how to act around them. Someone mentioned a war, I didn’t know what that was. Never will forget that rockin’ chair I seen at that woman’s house I stopped at. She shouldn’t ought to have punished that boy.

How do your friends see you?
Ain’t got any friends, never did.

How do your enemies see you?
Don’t reckon I got any of those either…alive

How does the author see you?
Ah…depressed, she knows me pretty well. She feels sorry for me and it depresses her to get in my head. But when she do, she knows me, she is the only one that knows me this well.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
Yep she got me down good.

What do you think of yourself?
Aint never thought about it. There is one thing…I don’t like to see kids punished. It makes me crazy.

Do you have a goal?
Oh yeah, I’m gonna get my Uncle and do to him what he did to me. And I’m gonna laugh like he did too.

Do you have any special strengths?
What does that mean? I guess I’m strong, as I can choke a woman to death with one hand. I just lift her high up into the air, and squeeze real hard.

Do you have any special weaknesses?
Yeah, that preacher done confused me good. Didn’t understand a word of what he said. Made no sense to me. Talks about forgivin’ then he don’t.

Do you have any skills?
I can cut a finger off quicker than lightning.

Do you have money troubles?
Naw, I always stole what I needed off the dead.

What do you want?
To see my Uncle rot in hell like my Pa.

What do you believe?
That preacher asked me that, and I don’t know what you or he is talkin’ about. Believe in what? I only believe in helpin’ kids, that’s all.

What makes you happy?
Cuttin’ a finger off, or helpin’ a kid.

What are you afraid of?
Ain’t never thought on that too much. Used to be scared of my Pa and Uncle, but ain’t no more.

What makes you angry?
Women mostly, don’t understand them. Didn’t understand that lady that took her clothes off, don’t understand why women punishes their kids.

What makes you sad?
Thinkin’ on my life.

What, if anything, haunts you?
When I kill the kid’s mother’s they always cry. I don’t understand why. I did ‘em a favor. I killed their mean Mas. They is better off without her.

Do you like remembering your childhood?
I try not to think on it, it makes me crazy.

Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
It did to my Pa, my Ma died.

Did you get along with your parents?
My father and uncle hated me, blamed me for my Ma dyin the day I was born. I couldn’t hep it.