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Crossing the Street / Wilson Koewing

I took my hound, Odie, for a walk down in San Anselmo. It was a perfect Spring day. Flowers and trees bloomed everywhere. We liked to do a loop around town from my place up on Hillside, down around the park and the school and the big church then through downtown and up center street back to Hillside. It’s a nice walk. About halfway, we reached a 4 way stop just as a Jeep truck skidded to a stop. The driver seemed in a hurry, so I motioned for him to go ahead. He motioned back for me to go ahead in an exasperated way. I don’t know why, but it annoyed me. I motioned for him to go ahead. He motioned again, and I motioned again. We all stood there in silence until the driver honked. I backed farther onto the sidewalk. He laid on the horn for a good twenty seconds. I did a little dance to it, kicking my legs out like a Rockette. He rolled down his window and climbed halfway out and shook his fist. Cross the damn street, he screamed. Just go, you stupid bastard! I responded. He climbed back in and revved the engine. Fucking hell, I said. We stepped into the crosswalk. Just as we did, the guy jolted forward at us. Jesus! I said and jumped back on the sidewalk. The son of a bitch backed back up to the stop sign. I had a little pocketknife in my pocket, so I pulled that out and started waving it around like I was in West Side Story. Odie started to howl. The guy got out and dug around in the bed until he produced a hatchet. He started practicing like he was going to the throw it. I tied Odie to the stop sign and reached around to my back where I had a sizable machete in a sheath stashed. I pulled it out and started whipping it around with one hand and doing stabbing motions with the pocketknife in the other. The guy jumped up in the truck bed and dug around some more until he pulled out a hunting bow. He made a show of putting on one of those little gloves then put an arrow in and shot it through the stop sign just above my head. I glanced at the arrow, still shaking in the stop sign, then looked back at the guy. Cross the street, he said. A tiny electric car pulled up at the other stop sign and a little lady cruised right through, eyes wide, looking like a beat-up old deer. The three of us watched her putter away in her silent car with a kind of wonder. I reached in the holster under my shirt and pulled out the Taurus .38 snub nose I carried. The guy hit the deck as I unloaded 3 rounds into his windshield. They didn’t do much damage, really, but they cracked and chipped up his windshield pretty good. He popped up from the bed, Are you fucking insane? He lifted the bow again, and I raised the .38. Just then, exhaust smoke filled the air and a good old boy in a beat-up Silverado came to a stop at another stop sign. He stepped out pumping a shotgun and asked, All right, now what in the hell is this squirrelly shit? I figured I’d see if the Jeep truck guy wanted to answer before I offered up anything. He hit the deck again and the good old boy turned the shotgun on me. I placed the .38 on the ground and as calm as I could manage explained everything that had happened up to that point. After listening, he stood there for a second, chuckled and blew out the front windshield of the Jeep truck. Then he hopped in his truck and tore ass. I untied Odie. The jeep truck guy climbed out of the bed and started assessing the damage, slapping his hands on his thighs and cursing. I picked up the .38 and trained it on him as we walked away.


WILSON KOEWING is a writer from South Carolina. His third book, ROLLING ON THE BOTTOM, is forthcoming from Cowboy Jamboree Press.


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