Lifeguard, The MacGuffin 32.3. Spring/Summer 2016
“A musty, rodent smell filled James’s second-floor abode. From outside, the man—bulky, chiseled necked, with excellently curled blonde-with-white locks—held a steaming Gremlin-green sack. The chill of Nebraska flooded the odor inside the door. “I believe this is yours?” the man said.
It was unfortunate James had walked his dog minutes before and couldn’t deny ownership of the sack’s contents. Unfortunate this man was not seemingly intimidated by James’s tattoo sleeves, nine face piercings, and gaunt mantis frame. Nor his elbow crooks displaying a dozen, quotation mark pink scars.
James’s Beretta would send this message, but it lay like a sleeping viper in the dresser near the door.
“Is it yours?” The middle-aged man asked again.
“Man, don’t bring that shit in here.” James deployed his flexing, glaring, poor, white boy thug gaze he’d come near to perfecting. “Are you kidding me?”
Never own up to anything, was what his dad had said. Right before he split—like the torn half of a photograph—for the Marines.
“Well, you left it out here; I thought you might want it back.” The man was smiling, pearly teeth in an oval of coffee-brown, Anglo skin with bleached goatee.
James was tired. Like bottom of the charcoaled spoon tired. The beans left to cook on the pan for twelve hours while you lay wasted beneath the table tired. “Man, don’t fuck with me.” James leveled his best jail cell stare. “It’s a free country.” It was something his dad had always said…”