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6th May
posted by amber


Spud knocked but didn’t pause for an invite, seeing as he knew he was expected. He walked in the door, carrying five beers held together with a plastic harness in one hand and a half full bottle of bourbon in the other. “Hey, sorry about the lamb, man.”

“What lamb?” Trench asked, rising up from the kitchen table, leaving a half-played hand of solitaire.

“I hit it on your road. Your lamb, your sheep, some kind of farm animal.”

“I don’t have farm animals. Must have belonged to my neighbour, he’s some kind of hobby farmer. Gripes about my chopper, gripes about my parties. You get a bonus if you schmucked his lamb.”

“All right!” Spud felt relieved. He’d felt that somehow Trench was mad at him. He held out the beers and the whiskey. “Have a drink. Why’d you want to see me?”

Trench didn’t reply, just walked deeper into the house. Spud followed, carrying the booze. Going down the dark hall behind the older man, he thought he heard crying, then Trench opened a door to reveal a girl sitting on the side of a bed with her head in her hands, weeping.

Spud recognized her right away. She was the girl he’d met at the bar the night before.

“Is this him?” he heard Trench ask, saw him grab the girl’s chin and force her to look up, to look at him.

“Yeah,” she mumbled, real quiet, but not so quiet that the two men couldn’t hear her plainly.

“This all is my niece,” Trench said.

Spud backed up, holding his hands up like an old time desperado in front of the sheriff’s gun. “Well, why didn’t she say so?”

She protested, much more loudly, “I did! I said I’m kin to Mr. Watrous and you better stop doing what you were doing.”

“Who’s Mr. Watrous?”

“I’m Mr. Watrous, dumbass. Didn’t you never hear my last name?” Trench was reaching behind his back for the gun Spud knew he kept tucked into the waistband of his jeans.

Spud didn’t feel it would be advantageous to stay around and protest that he’d never known Trench’s last name, or possibly even his first name, Trench as a given probably not the moniker his parents had bestowed on him. He dropped the liquor and ran past the girl who hadn’t seemed all that displeased at the time when he didn’t stop doing what he’d been doing, then dove through the screen window into the yard, rolling on the hard clay and lumps of mostly dry dog turds.

He heard the first gun shot as he was getting his truck into gear, and a bullet shattered the window on the passenger side as he careened out of the yard.

After swerving around the animal’s body on the gravel road before he got onto the pavement, he knew he had to keep driving through town, out of the county, probably out of the entire state. A man like Trench might eventually see his way to accepting that someone might mess with his very attractive niece, but he’d never forgive someone who ran over his dog.

1 Comment

  1. Perry

    Great surprise ending!

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