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Cormac McCarthy's Ex-Wife Had an Unusual Weekend: A Point-by-Point Analysis

January 9, 2014  |  11:45am
Cormac McCarthy's Ex-Wife Had an Unusual Weekend: A Point-by-Point Analysis

This story, first published in The Smoking Gun, has been making the rounds this morning, and I’ll be damned if we let it pass without comment. The reason for the story’s, um…notoriety?...will soon be really, really obvious. And the only way to handle this story is to go piece by piece, line by line, letting the full reality sink in piecemeal.

Let’s start with the headline, shall we? The Smoking Gun’s words are in bold, my commentary after.

Novelist’s Ex In Bizarre Handgun Threat Arrest

Hmmm, okay. I know and enjoy Cormac McCarthy’s work, so I guess this intrigues me. He seems like the kind of guy who had some pretty odd relationships with some pretty odd people. After all, didn’t he live in a barn for a large chunk of his life? This will definitely be worth a read. But what could they mean by “bizarre”? Maybe the sub-headline will clear things up.

Cormac McCarthy’s former wife pulled weapon from her vagina

(30 seconds pass)

Well then. That is unusual!

I know what you’re thinking, Paste readers. You have a lot of questions right now. So do I. Who did she pull the weapon on? Was it a domestic dispute? Was the gun fired? Was she in danger?

Oh, and one more thing. A minor curiosity, really:

Why was the weapon in her vagina? WHY WHY WHY WHY?!

We need answers, so let’s go straight to the article!

JANUARY 8—A domestic dispute over space aliens escalated Saturday morning when a lingerie-clad New Mexico woman allegedly pointed a silver handgun at her boyfriend, a weapon she retrieved from her vagina, where it had been placed while the accused was performing a sex act, police allege.

(400 second pause)

(Long walk outdoors, hands on my head, shaking my head and muttering)



Just breathe.

Let’s all just breathe.

That is some significant information. First, congratulations to us on being right about the domestic dispute. We didn’t guess that it stemmed from the topic of space aliens, but then, how could we have known? I’m not sure if they keep stats on the issues that start most domestic dispute, but if they do, I’m guessing “space aliens” is relatively low on the list.

But let’s not focus on the aliens. Let’s process the significant facts. First, Cormac McCarthy’s wife was wearing lingerie. She was in New Mexico. She pointed a handgun at her boyfriend. All pretty crazy, right? All pretty hot so far. (Don’t judge me.)

Oh, but also: The handgun was in her vagina.


Look, journalism as we know it has had a good run. It’s provided a useful service for the world. It’s exposed corruption and brought down tyrants and helped the poor and disenfranchised. But we need to end it now, because this is the greatest lede that will ever be written. It will never get any better than the paragraph I just read. Just end it. End journalism now.

To make matters more strange, the arrested woman is the most recent ex-wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, author of “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men.”

Yes, because that’s what this story needed—something odd. Something to give it a bit of color and pique our interest.

At this point, the Cormac relationship feels like an incidental detail at best. It’s sort of weird, I guess, but it’s a little like saying, “oh, remember how the Titanic sunk? Turns out, FDR’s cousin was on board.” Interesting, I guess, but secondary to the main point. Which is that a HUGE BOAT SUNK KILLING HUNDREDS and A WOMAN THREATENED A MAN WITH A GUN SHE HAD BEEN KEEPING IN HER VAGINA.

As detailed in a probable cause statement, Jennifer McCarthy, a 48-year-old artist, argued about space aliens with her 53-year-old beau,

As you do on a Friday night in New Mexico.

I can’t even process this right now. Right when I’ve caught up, they throw new details in my face that are too difficult to incorporate. Space aliens? What? Why? Where am I? Does anyone mind if I curl up in the fetal position and just shake for a while?

whose name was redacted from the document released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

Lucky for him, because otherwise all his future interactions would go like this:

Guy: Hey, my name’s Ted Cartwright.
Other Guy: Nice to meet you. Why does that name sound familiar?
Guy: Probably no reason. Common name.
Other Guy: No, it’s definitely something.
Guy: Anyway, what do you for work around—
Other Guy: Wait, it’s coming back to me.
Guy: I better get going…got some appointments. (begins slowly backing away)
Other Guy: Yeah, yeah, Ted Cartwright. That name…
Guy: (begins walking quickly)
Other Guy: I GOT IT! You’re the guy whose girlfriend pulled a vagina gun on him!
Guy: (starts to spring)
Everyone: (Chanting) Vagina Gun! Vagina Gun!
Guy: NOOOO!!!!

When questioned by deputies, McCarthy reportedly acknowledged that she “did have a gun at the time” the couple was yelling at each other.

“Yes, that is correct about me having a gun. Now if there are no more questions, I’m a busy woman, and I’m needed at a church bake sale this morning…”

McCarthy’s boyfriend told investigators that following the argument McCarthy departed her Aventura Road residence. Upon returning to the home, he told deputies, McCarthy went into her bedroom and later emerged “wearing lingerie and a silver handgun in her vagina.” She then proceeded to “have inner course with the gun,” according to the court filing.

(3,000-second pause)

(Takes a long drive through empty farmland, staring at the horizon and trying not to hyperventilate)

Hey, I’m back. Just one question: Why does the misspelling “inner course” make the whole thing sound even MORE disturbing?! Will someone please explain that to me??

While using the gat as a sex toy, McCarthy reportedly asked her boyfriend, “Who is crazy, you or me?”

I realize I’m not a part of this dispute, and perhaps I’m speaking out of turn here, but on the balance of evidence, I’m going to say “you.”

The crazy person, in this case, is “you.”

You’re the crazy one.

Really. Really. Crazy.

The probable cause statement, drafted by Deputy Chris Zook, does not indicate whether McCarthy’s boyfriend dared to answer that query.

“Uhhh, great question, hon. There are a lot of x-factors here, the most relevant being that you’re currently using a pistol as a sex toy. So, I guess…I guess it’s a toss-up. We’re all at fault here. And may I say, I think you were right about the aliens. I’ve been thinking about it, and you made a lot of good points. I concede on every point.”

After removing the gun from her vagina, McCarthy pointed it at her boyfriend’s head, investigators charge.

I just realized something: This is just like the climactic scene from Cormac McCarthy’s unpublished first novel, Vagina Gun.

Fearing that he could get shot, the man grabbed the weapon from McCarthy and put it in the toilet.

Solid move. That’s just Gun Safety 101. The best way to defuse a violent incident involving a firearm is to place it in a toilet. That’s actually how the U.S. won the first Gulf War.

McCarthy’s boyfriend subsequently “took it out of the toilet and put it in the trash can outside.” Deputy Zook reported that he recovered “a silver Smith and Wesson in the outside trash can.”

“After initially placing the firearm in the toilet, the boyfriend realized that it would look strange when guests began to arrive for his Saturday morning book club and asked to use the bathroom.”

McCarthy was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated assault on a household member. She was booked into the county jail, from which she was released Sunday after posting $5000 bond.

Police Officer, in his report: “I’ve had some pretty awful frisking incidents over the years, but this is, by far, the most unpleasant day of my entire career.”

According to public records, McCarthy married the publicity-shy Cormac McCarthy in Nevada in January 1998. The couple, parents to a teenage son, divorced in Texas in 2006. McCarthy did not respond to a Facebook message seeking comment about her arrest.

Scene: Cormac McCarthy knocks lightly on his son’s door.

“Son? You up? Hey, uh, can we talk for a second? There’s been some…news…about your mother. And I just want to warn you, before I get into the details, that school is probably going to be pretty tough for a few…years.”

And that’s (mercifully) the end! If you need me, I’ll be staring at a white wall trying to erase my brain. Whether it works or not, I know one thing: Inner course will never be the same.

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