Saturday, November 7, 2009

On Deck...............

He was in a shark gray Dodge, and he was good. He intentionally lagged far enough behind so that I wouldn't recognize him.

He followed and I let it ride. I let him tail me down 17th NE right through the University of Washington campus and out the other side of the football stadium, although I could have foiled his plans at any point. I knew a dozen choice footpaths I could have detoured onto. By the time I crossed the Montlake Bridge, I knew who he was and I had a good idea what he wanted. When I zigzagged through some residential streets, I lost him momentarily, but he picked me up again after the industrial museum, just shy of the Arboreteum. The Arboreteum road was over a mile long, narrow and twisty. The area spawned alot of crime. Pedestrians were rare and houses were non-existant. Today, there was little traffic.

Pedaling against a moist southerly wind, I wasn't making very good time. The Dodge paced me. Twice, he crept closer, gunning the engine once, as if to make a move, but at each attempt, a car approached us from the other direction, putting a temporary halt to his plans.

It was Holder, Julius Casear Holder, and I would have bet my life that his game was bump and run. He knew if he sabotaged the truck I'd eventually ride the bike. And he also knew how vulnerable a man on a bicycle was. He figured he could bounce me into the ditch and motor away, nobody the wiser. It was a neat ploy. He made his move in front of the Japanese tea gardens, and strangely enough, he missed on his first pass. He wasn't trying to kill me. He could have easily run right over me. Instead, he tried to sideswipe my bicycle and knock me for a loop. He must have figured that wouldn't be murder. He was in trouble now. He wasn't just one motorist trying something funny. He was the culmination of hundreds of sloppy, thoughtless motorists that I had run up against in the last few years. It was rare that you caught one. It was even rare to have a gun on you when you did. My temper got the better of me.

Suddenly, I felt the cold metal of his car brushing my hip. I had been waiting for it. I slammed the caliper brakes on. The Dodge catapulted in front of me as I decelerated.

Slowing down so that he could attempt it a second time was his big blunder.

Instead of pedaling by on the passenger side the way he expected, I swung behind the Dodge and pulled around into the oncoming lane. Sitting up and steering with one hand, I dragged the .45 out from under my windbreaker.

I took careful aim, placing a slug through his side window, as close to his face as I could manage without actually hitting him.

Tires screeched like dying animals, brakes squealed, and the Dodge veered right, bounding up over the high curb and scraping the underbelly with shrill metallic yowls.

I didn't even get off my bicycle. Riding up to the glassless window, I rammed the muzzle of the .45 into Holder's face.

I spoke evenly. "Say your prayers, bastard."

-Earl Emerson, Rainy City, 1985

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