“Where is Marcus, boy?”
I look up from my novel and shift in my rocking chair. Seven men stand in the yard, drunker than Cooter Brown. “This is all I need. Seven drunks looking for trouble.” They glare at me and I return their blank stare with one of my own. “That’ll show ‘em!”
“He ain’t here.” I go back to my reading my novel. The crunch of the men’s footsteps tell me they can’t take a hint. I peer over the top of my book and watch them approach the porch. To my right lies the pump action shotgun which is loaded with rock salt. “You boys need to head on home. I’ll let Marcus know you stopped by.” Instead of making things better, my statement is akin to pouring gasoline on a fire.
“Who do you think you are boy? How dare you talk to me in such a way! I’m Roy, Erik’s dad.” Roy is a giant of a man. Towering over six feet, hands the size of scoops on backhoes, he is not going to be easy to put down if trouble kicks off. I stand to my feet, my right hand clasps the shotgun, just out of sight of the seven men. “Oh yeah? Maybe you didn’t hear me, Erik’s dad. I said he ain’t here. I don’t suggest you keep coming this way. Go on home before there’s trouble.” My words of warning does nothing but stir the man’s anger soup.
“How about we throw you a beating old man, and then burn down Marcus’s house. How’s that grab ya?” I shake my head in disgust. “Look idiot, it’s obvious you ain’t gonna listen, so before we do this dance, let me explain what’s gonna happen. First, I’m a soldier. Well, a retired soldier. I am trained by the US Army to kill people like you. For the last time, go home before I spank you.” Cursing, Roy and the six men start toward me shouting about how they are going to tune me up.
Without a word, I lift the shotgun and aim in the middle of the men. Half smiling, I pull the trigger and the shotgun bucks in my hands. Five of the seven men hit the ground screaming in pain, as the skin is torn from their upper torsos. A hammer lies at the edge of the porch, and I grab it as I leap to the ground. With a shout, Roy charges me. He seeks to annihilate me by swinging wildly, but I slip to the side and bust him in the jaw with the hammer. The remaining man stands watching the chaos, too rooted by fear to be any use to his fellow drunks. Spitting his broken teeth out, Roy leaps to his feet and comes at me again. Fueled by rage, he throws a hook with his left hand to punch me in the body. I slip to the side and his momentum carries him past me. I drive the hammer into his back, and he hits the ground gasping for air. “You don’t seem to understand Roy, you’re trespassing on private property. It’s in bad taste to burn a man’s home down. Stay down or this is gonna get ugly.” I turn and look at the man who is still holding down his spot in disbelief. “Oh my God, you killed ‘em!” he shouts. I sigh heavily and tap the drunk on his shoulder. “Hey dummy, call 911 and tell ‘em what happened.”