"Way I see it if we don't do anything, ever body gonna think we are a bunch of damned pussies. Next thing you know, Girl Scouts will be trying to push us around and make us buy their fucking cookies. And I for one can't stand for that," as he delivered the rant Dean was precariously balanced as he had a joint in one hand and beer in the other, and he was pissing into the flowing waters of river. It was kind of dark, and the silver light of the half moon silhouetted him.
"I didn't say not to do anything. I just said that I thought that burning down Mickey's dad's house with everybody in it is not such a good idea."
He put the joint in his mouth and set the beer on the ground to button up his pants. "What if we warned his mom and little sister and brother so they can make arrangements to stay somewhere else?"
"Let's just say, we don't kill or physically harm anybody." I was sitting in my trusty lawn chair and drinking a beer. I had come out to river to avoid thinking about Mickey and Jill. I just wanted some time to hash out my meeting with Jill in silence, but an hour after I got there, Dean came barreling up road with the news that Mickey and his boys had pulled over his girl and harassed her and two of her friends. He said when the girls rebuffed their advances, Rigo had called all three of the girls whores and skanks before him, Mickey, and Moose got bored with the situation and left.
"May I remind you that he hit you over the head with a bar."
"Well, it didn't kill me. I just think that we need to make a reasoned response that is measurable to what they have done to us."
"Great! Bout time you saw things my way. I know where we can get some iron bars...."
I interrupted, " I didn't say I saw things your way, and I'm not going to hit anybody over the head with an iron bar."
"What's wrong with you. Even the Good Book says it's 'an eye for an eye.' That way people know not to be fucking with you."
"You're wrong again. That shit is called the Law of Talion. Jesus's teachings supersedes that law with the the idea of forgiving your enemies."
"Super Seeds? What the hell are you talking about? I'm talking getting even with some motherfuckers and you're bringing agriculture and super seeds into the conversation?"
"Supersedes, you idiot. It means to take the place of something that's outlived its usefulness. Jesus figured if everybody goes around poking each other's eyes out than pretty soon everyone'd be blind."
"Well, at least I'd know I poked the eye out of the motherfucker who poked out mine."
"Yep, for all the good that does ya. You'd be happy being a smiling one-eyed dumbass."
"Well, I'd be a damned sight happier than if I let him poke out my eye and didn't do shit about it. Besides, I thought you liked Jill Booth."
"What does she have to do with this? We are talking about getting revenge."
"We need to set an example. Maybe if we take Mickey down a notch, he'll quit being such a dick. Or, maybe she'll see what an asshole her boyfriend is. You need to do something to show her that you are better than him, braver than him, and not just a limp-dick loser who writes poetry and love letters and sticks them in the locker of the girl he loves. Girls want guys who act on their dreams and not just dream them."
Damned if Dean did not know how to push my buttons. I tried to play it off, but his words struck home. "I knew I shouldn't a told you about those letters."
"It's not the letters that matter. It is the fact that you didn't tell her yourself. You're the one who read the damned book. Tom Sawyer didn't tell Sally that he was the one writing the letters that Huck gave her, and the next think you know she up and falls in love with Huck."
Things got quiet for a while. I didn't even try to correct him; I thought that he was doing better off in his own world than I was doing in mine. Dean stood in front of me for a half a minute wavering on his feet with his beer in one hand and the hand with the joint in it raised and pointed toward the moon. I looked kind of like a picture I'd seen of John Brown once in a history book. He then went and set down in the other lawn chair. Before he did, he got me a beer out of the ice chest that we had placed down by the edge of the water.
I finally spoke, "What's the plan?"
He leaned forward and said, " I'd knew mangling that story bout that big-nosed dude would get you." He laughed and stood up and did a little victory dance and then sat back down. " I got things all worked out pretty good; I just need to some help on how to end it all."
This stupid fucker was getting a lot smarter. He had my interest piqued. " How do you proposed to get them together at the same place?"
"That parts easy. I know friend of Jills who is in band with her and absolutely hates Mickey's guts. She says that she can get Jill to go to the Burger Supreme after band class. Mickey has already been trying to get her to help get Jill to a place where he can talk too her about making up. We all know that he never goes anywhere without the Dumbshit Brothers, so she has some friends who will lure them inside the restaurant while the shit goes down. She says she'll put Jill and Mickey together on the bench outside at 3:30. I've got the chain and the gun we'll need. "
"I said I wasn't going to shoot or hit anybody."
"Well, just don't let anybody else hear you say that just now."
The next day around 3:25 I was standing in an alley across the street from the Burger Supreme, a dine-in burger place, on the town's main street. I was hidden behind a telephone pole where I could see Mickey and Jill talking on the bench on the north side of the restaurant. I could Mickey's car parked about thirty feet away beneath the canopy that stretched from the restaurant to the alleyway that ran the width of the city park. The canopy was made of colored fiberglass but was held aloft by thick metal poles set in concrete.
I had shaved my head the night before, and, in an effort to look crazy as hell, I was wearing a camouflage army surplus jacket, a pair of jean cut-offs that couldn't be seen when I buttoned the oversized jacket up, and a pair of combat boots. There was also some dark soot that Dean had smeared beneath my eyes. I patted one pocket for the gun to make sure I had'nt forgot it. It was there.
I waited patiently until I could see that Mickey and Jill were heavily engaged in conversation before I started walking toward them. Mickey didn't see me until I was halfway across the road and then only because of Jill's eyes widening in fright after she made out it was me.
At first, he was shocked but then he laughed, then stood up, "What the fuck, Wilson? You finally lost all your damned . . . . . "
He didn't get to finish because I pulled out the gun and pointed it directly at his face. "Your time's up, Porcine. You better get down on your knees and start begging for your life."
He was confused, and so he didn't respond at once. It was like his mind was telling him two different things, and at first, he didn't know which way to go. I made a show of cocking the pistol, and he slowly sunk down to his knees.
"Give me one good reason for me to not pull this trigger."
He got seriously worried then "Don't do it, Danny. Don't do it. I was just playing around, Man. I thought we had us a game going, a contest among men. I don't really care nothing about Jill. You can have her as far as I'm concerned. She's a clingy little bitch, Man. You know that, Man. She's a little like dog shit to me, I can't seem to scrape her off of the bottom of my shoe." He paused for a bit to see how his words were playing out, "Please, Danny. Don't shoot me."
"It's too late, Asshole. You done fucked with me one too many times." I took careful aim.
Jill's face was aghast,, but she didn't say anything. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. Mickey's comments about her being like dog shit had to have hurt. There was a tense minute while I waited. A small crowd of people had already gathered around us.
Then Mickey pissed his pants. A dark wet stain appeared around the crotch of his jeans and then slowly got bigger. A small red-headed boy standing on the sidewalk with his mom saw it, pointed and said, "Lookie Mama, that boy done peed all over himself."
Then I aimed for a spot just over the top of Mickey's head and fired three shots in rapid succession. BANG! BANG! BANG!
Nothing happened. I waited a moment for the full effect to take hold then held the gun up in front of my face like I didn't believe what had just happened. At that moment, Mikey Miller's 57 Candy Apple Red Chevy came screeching around the corner and slid to a stop a few feet away from where I stood. The passenger side window was rolled down and there was Dean sticking his head out.
Dean yelled out, "Damn it, Danny! I told you that was my cousin's prop pistol and only good for making loud noises!" He then pushed the door opened and slid over in the seat. I waved at Jill, bowed in her direction and walked over and jumped in and slammed the door. We drove away slowly but then stopped at the stop sign on mainstreet and waited.
We saw Rigo and Moose run out of the Burger Supreme to where Mickey was. They tried to help him up, but he just pushed them off of him. He finally got to his feet and was glaring toward us and shaking his fist. They then ran to where his car was parked and jumped in and started the engine.
The tires squealed and the car lurched forward out of the parking space until he came to a sudden, crunching halt. It seems that someone had attached a heavy chain around the rear axle of the car. From where we were, we could see them all piling out of the car and start running towards us. That was when Mikey finally pulled away from the stop sign.
As I rolled up the window, Dean laughed, "Damn, wonder how that chain got there?"
Mikey laughed too, "I do believe that that boy done pissed all over himself in front of everybody. What a shame."
Me, I didn't say anything. I had stolen one last look at Jill Booth's face and was puzzling over what it meant. I swear it looked just like that smile on the face of the Mona Lisa. I leaned over toward the dash and pushed in the cassette that I had made especially for the occasion.
The voice of Doris Day came out of the speakers singing,
"When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, "What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?" Here's what she said to me 'Que sera, sera Whatever will be, will be The future's not ours to see Que sera, sera What will be, will be'"
I really liked the song. I couldn't explain why other than that they always used to play it at intermission when I was young and still went to Saturday Matinees at the picture show.
Maybe it was just the allusion to an unknown future. I knew that there would be some repercussions and some consequences, some debts that would need to be paid. But I didn’t give a shit. All my experiences leading up to this moment in time had led me to believe that the future was always going to be there no matter what, and that there would always be some consequences no matter what we do.
As far as the debt to be paid, I learned that paying off one debt usually leads to creating of another, and that some debts are just worth the capital that you spend. I also knew now that the next time I fell in love I wouldn’t be sending any anonymous letters to the lady in question. That shit can lead to too many complications.
If someone reads a lot, they generally assume that there is a lesson about life told in every narrative. I was thinking about that the night that Dean showed up at the river screaming about revenge. I actually did learn something that I’ll probably carry with me into the uncertain future. That is to choose my literary influences a bit more wisely.
Next time, instead of obsessing over the words from a play written by a 19th century French poet and dramatist, I’ll stick a little closer to home and use something more American, and when I want to tell some future girl all about love, I’ll use the simple, naïve wisdom of one Tom Sawyer trying to convince Becky Thatcher to become his girl,
"You only just tell a boy you won't ever have anybody but him, ever ever ever, and then you kiss and that's all. Anybody can do it."