Public Service…new writing, unedited…incomplete…

“Yes, and because you did your job, my friend languishes in prison. If I had my way, I would have you removed from your position, but because I’m outranked, you’re afforded an opportunity to speak on your behalf.”

“If that’s the case, why am I here?”

“Because I wanted to look you in the eye and see the measure of the man I aim to destroy.”

“Ah, I see. The old intimidation factor. Speaking of Tia Mathers, how is she doing? Is she enjoying her prison sentence? Do you guys’ exchange letters?”

Walters slammed his hand down on the desk, and I shut my mouth. Me and Walters were the sole people within the building. This was a prime opportunity for him to knock me off, if that was what he desired, but I got the feeling he wanted me to live and suffer.

“I’m going to destroy your whole life, boy. When I’m done razing your world to the ground, then I will kill you. Until then, enjoy your pretty little wife while she still lives.”

He gave me a cold smile, and I chuckled, then I slapped him on the shoulder and burst out into laughter. Walters stared at me like I had gone mad, and I had. Scott Walters had the clout and power. If he wanted Lilly dead, there was no end to people he could coerce into killing her. Or even me. Still, I wasn’t worried.

“Well, I better get home then. I’m sure you’ve got things to do, and I’m tired of being threatened. Good day to you, sir.”

I gave him a small wave and exited his office. When I left, he stood where he was and watched me depart. His mouth hung open, as if he’d never dealt with someone he could not bribe or intimidate, which was too bad because he had the weight of an intimidating presence.

While Scott Walters wondered what had happened, I got in my vehicle and drove home. Lilly sat on the porch, a glass of sweet tea in her hand, and watched me pull up in the yard. Her eyes followed me as I stepped out, and her eyes never lost the intensity as she watched me walk toward her.

I opened the door to the porch and walked in. She sat in my favorite rocker, next to my sassafras porch swing. She had spread a blanket out on the swing, along with a couple of pillows, and I grinned.

“Are you carrying me across the threshold, husband?”

“Sure, or we can wait until later…”

Lilly giggled and licked her lips, then she stood and wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me. “I like how you think,” she whispered as she nibbled on my ear. I pulled her close to me and stared into her green eyes, and I lifted her from the ground and carried her to the swing.

In the twilight, Lilly and I got to know one another better, deeper than we had ever done before, and as the lightning bugs danced in the darkness, we sought peace from the craziness of the world in one another.

The creaking of the rusty chains that anchored my porch swing to the ceiling joined the symphony of frogs and crickets long into the night.

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