On May 23, 1934, on-the-road, romantic fugitives Bonnie Parker, 23, and Clyde Barrow, 25, stopped their car on the roadside to help a friend and received a fatal barrage of lead from the lawmen hiding behind the foliage. It's possible Clyde never knew what hit him. One report is the first shot entered his head. But Bonnie knew at least for a moment that her life had ended. Witnesses have said they heard her screaming. Someone said it sounded like a wounded animal. Why not? The laws tracked them down like bear.
Poe Forward has included Bonnie Parker as one of the Historical Dead Girls from day one. Bonnie Parker is a tragic figure. She was smart in school and nice to people and to some degree she believed in romance. Her poetry shows this. I've been researching Bonnie and Clyde since childhood. In my opinion, Bonnie fell in love and got swept up in her devotion. There is no evidence that Bonnie Parker ever killed anyone herself. She was a tiny woman. My mother was a tiny woman and she had problems with the vacuum. The BAR weapon Bonnie was supposed to have used was simply too heavy for her to carry, much less fire without breaking her shoulder and knocking her down. While the police records reflect the evidence collection techniques of the period and the press always dramatized the worst, even the gang's members testified that Bonnie never fired a shot. "But she was a hell of a loader," one of them remarked. I bet she was. She was fighting for her man, for herself, and for romance.
(Our current essay on our website is filled with the best facts and details possible, but takes a darker look on the Barrow Gang. I hope this brief reflection compensates for that inequity.)
by Bonnie Parker
We each of us have a good "alibi"
For being down here in the "joint"
But few of them really are justified
If you get right down to the point.
You've heard of a woman's glory
Being spent on a "downright cur"
Still you can't always judge the story
As true, being told by her.
As long as I've stayed on this "island"
And heard "confidence tales" from each "gal"
Only one seemed interesting and truthful-
The story of "Suicide Sal".
Now "Sal" was a gal of rare beauty,
Though her features were coarse and tough;
She never once faltered from duty
To play on the "up and up".
"Sal" told me this tale on the evening
Before she was turned out "free"
And I'll do my best to relate it
Just as she told it to me:
I was born on a ranch in Wyoming;
Not treated like Helen of Troy,
I was taught that "rods were rulers"
And "ranked" as a greasy cowboy.
Then I left my old home for the city
To play in its mad dizzy whirl,
Not knowing how little of pity
It holds for a country girl.
There I fell for "the line" of a "henchman"
A "professional killer" from "Chi"
I couldn't help loving him madly,
For him even I would die.
One year we were desperately happy
Our "ill gotten gains" we spent free,
I was taught the ways of the "underworld"
Jack was just like a "god" to me.
I got on the "F.B.A." payroll
To get the "inside lay" of the "job"
The bank was "turning big money"!
It looked like a "cinch for the mob".
Eighty grand without even a "rumble"-
Jack was last with the "loot" in the door,
When the "teller" dead-aimed a revolver
From where they forced him to lie on the floor.
I knew I had only a moment-
He would surely get Jack as he ran,
So I "staged" a "big fade out" beside him
And knocked the forty-five out of his hand.
They "rapped me down big" at the station,
And informed me that I'd get the blame
For the "dramatic stunt" pulled on the "teller"
Looked to them, too much like a "game".
The "police" called it a "frame-up"
Said it was an "inside job"
But I steadily denied any knowledge
Or dealings with "underworld mobs".
The "gang" hired a couple of lawyers,
The best "fixers" in any mans town,
But it takes more than lawyers and money
When Uncle Sam starts "shaking you down".
I was charged as a "scion of gangland"
And tried for my wages of sin,
The "dirty dozen" found me guilty-
From five to fifty years in the pen.
I took the "rap" like good people,
And never one "squawk" did I make
Jack "dropped himself" on the promise
That we make a "sensational break".
Well, to shorten a sad lengthy story,
Five years have gone over my head
Without even so much as a letter-
At first I thought he was dead.
But not long ago I discovered;
From a gal in the joint named Lyle,
That Jack and his "moll" had "got over"
And were living in true "gangster style".
If he had returned to me sometime,
Though he hadn't a cent to give
I'd forget all the hell that he's caused me,
And love him as long as I lived.
But there's no chance of his ever coming,
For he and his moll have no fears
But that I will die in this prison,
Or "flatten" this fifty years.
Tommorow I'll be on the "outside"
And I'll "drop myself" on it today,
I'll "bump 'em if they give me the "hotsquat"
On this island out here in the bay...
The iron doors swung wide next morning
For a gruesome woman of waste,
Who at last had a chance to "fix it"
Murder showed in her cynical face.
Not long ago I read in the paper
That a gal on the East Side got "hot"
And when the smoke finally retreated,
Two of gangdom were found "on the spot".
It related the colorful story
Of a "jilted gangster gal"
Two days later, a "sub-gun" ended
The story of "Suicide Sal".