Chapter 4 - Shots Across the Bow
“Danny Wilson get your fucking ass out here right now!” Mickey bellowed. I could see him emerging from his bright red 1970 Chevy Chevelle 450 SS through the half opened kitchen window. I believed he loved that car a lot more than he cared about Jill.
" Damn!" I heard Dean exhale. I looked towards him before I walked out of the door. His head was hidden by the flowered yellow curtain. He was fumbling for his beer bottle but clumsily knocked it over. The beer flowed across the uneven table and started spilling on the floor.
Mickey's wrestling buddies Bobby “No Neck” Butler and Rigo Armienta were with him. Bobby was locally famous for drawing two blockers on every defensive play from scrimmage for an entire season. He was big as a refrigerator, and rumor was he was so dumb that Mickey’s dad had to pay somebody to keep him eligible.
Rigo was taller, less brawny, but only marginally smarter. I was in class one day when he asked the biology teacher why we all didn’t fall off the planet when it spun around. This was in high school. I don’t know if he ever found out the answer because the teacher, a bald man with black glasses didn’t answer; he just kept slapping himself on his forehead. Rigo was a good looking dude and had already knocked up a girl while in high school. He liked to fight too.
I couldn’t believe how calm I was when I came out the front door. I briefly envisioned myself as Gregory Peck in The Gunfighter. I thought that Shane would've been more appropriate, but I liked the Gregory Peck character better. He had sins to atone for, and I felt tainted too. I also thought about how foolish it would look to fire the .22 into the air. No one would believe that I really intended to use it. I needed to shoot something real for them to suspend belief.
Mickey was just stepping onto the deck when I walked across the porch at the other side of the wooden structure. I saw him blink a bit as I had the sun to my back.
He started to approach me with Rigo and No Neck following. Without hesitation, I walked up close enough to where I couldn’t miss and fired a shot at his right rear tire.
“What the fuck!” He stared in disbelief, looking back and forth at his buddies and me. “You just shot out my fucking tire, dumbass. I’m going beat the shit of you and then call the cops and have you arrested!”
I noticed that they had stopped walking forward. “Then I might have to let some air out of your feet. Though I doubt this .22 would have much effect on Bobby.”
“ You can’t go around shooting at people’s cars. I know this town’s backwards, but we do have some rules. I bet your neighbor’s have called the police already.”
My neighbors were not going to call the cops. Mizz Woods told me once that her daddy had once sheltered Pretty Boy Floyd when he was on the run.
Mrs. Sandoval hated the police. Two of her sons were locked up, one in prison. Mizz Woods might call the police on us to get the noise turned down on one of our parties, but she wouldn’t call when some rich kid came across Delaney Avenue trying to stir up trouble.
My driveway was just a piece of dirt that stretched about 25 feet to the road proper and there were no houses in my line of fire; there was nothing but a dirt field after the Wood’s house.
“ I don’t know about that Mickey. Folks round here don’t much appreciate when rich guys like you come slumming and terrorizing people and shit.”
He had a blood vessel next to his right eye I thought it was going to burst. His face was redder than his car. I knew that if I didn’t have that pistol, he would have beaten me to a pulp. I was bluffing big time, but I put everything I had into it. I had too. I made a point of waving the .22 as I spoke.
“What’s from stopping me from calling the police myself?” His buddies thought that that was a great idea and nodded like a couple of bobble-headed dolls. “ I’d just have to wait a bit and get your sorry ass when you come out.”
“ I might just have to tell the police and your daddy about that little date you had with Juanita Jones about a month ago.”
I could see in his eyes that he was surprised that I knew that he and his pals had indulged in a little sexual misconduct with Juanita. “That girl was begging for it. She loves me, and I know she didn’t go to the cops and complain. And my dad sure wouldn’t believe a lowlife piece of trash like you.”
“Well, maybe her daddy will, or better yet, her brothers. I hear that Orville is getting out of prison in a week or two.” I was bluffing still. Orville was pulling a six-year stint for a botched bank robbery. Her daddy would probably have just asked them for some drinking money. I was banking on the fact that they probably didn’t ask Juanita much about her family history.
“ Well, we will settle this later then. In the mean time, you need to keep your ass away from Jill Booth. She belongs to me!”
“ Well, I’ll have to ask her if that’s true, but in the mean time, you need to get that tire changed and get the hell out of my drive way.”
It was a taut situation for a while. Mickey couldn’t decide whether I had the guts enough to shoot or not. I was hoping all the while that he’d make the right choice, as I hated the thought of getting beat-up while armed with a .22 pistol. I also figured that Rigo might be dumb enough to think that he was Superman.
The tension finally broke when Dean came walking out of the house with a machete. I don’t where the hell he had managed to get hold of a machete in that short a period of time, but there he was, smiling sinisterly and holding the machete like he was ready to hack some jungle vines.
I guess the thought of losing a finger, a hand or an arm was scarier than getting popped by a .22. Or, it might have been that Dean looked a lot less reluctant than I did. Anyways, Mickey went and popped opened the trunk and took out his jack.
It only took them about ten minutes to get that tired changed. Then they piled back into the car with only Mickey halting for bit, half in and half out of his car, to yell, “You know as well as I do, this is not over. I will catch you later, Danny Wilson and when I do.”
He didn’t actually take the time to say what he was going to do. He just slammed the door, started the engine with a roar, and peeled out leaving a cloud of dust behind.
Through the dust, I could see Mizz Woods standing on her porch giving me and Dean a thumbs-up. Lard Ass Robert was nervously peeking out the front window. On the corner, Mrs. Sandoval was waving at the fleeing Chevelle with a broom and cursing in Spanish.