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« Chapter Seven - Mezcal | Main | Chapter Five - Truth »
Thursday
May162019

Chapter Six - Fedora

"What kind of vehicle is that mister?"

"Never seen one of those before."

"Says Ford on it – but not like one I ever saw."

"It's a truck," I told them.

"Like hell. No truck I've ever seen."

They took turns speaking and staring at first my truck, and then at me. The one with the baseball bat didn't speak. He just paced around the vehicle, or as they called it, vee-hick-kill.

"You guys on the way to some sort of show? A live play, or some weird renaissance fair thing, but out of 19--"

I stopped talking when the guy with the bat smashed out one of my headlights.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" The one with the squarest, biggest melon of a head, barely contained by a black fedora, pointed a finger at me through the open window.

"And what kind of words are those – ray nonsense?"

"You making fun of us, fella? You want some nonsense, we'll bring you some."

He smashed out another headlight. Then the guy with the tire iron tipped his grey fedora back and swung down on my hood. I pulled the door handle and smashed all my weight against it. I caught the lead fedora in the small of his back. He let out a whoomp sound and hit the asphalt. I sprang out of the truck without one single plan in my head.

"Grab the son of a bitch."

A fist swung toward me, and then a fiddle swept through the air. It clipped the side of my head and stung like hell. I felt a line of blood slide down my forehead. On reflex, I kicked out, caught somebody in the knee. I heard it crack. Whoever it was, they hit the ground with a scream. I tried a spin kick - don't know where the hell that came from, maybe some long ago martial art movie – and made contact with a face. When I tried another one, Tire Iron guy grabbed my ankle as I spun around in mid-air. He brought the hunk of metal down on my back. He was in a bad position, so it wasn't a full hit, which was a damn good thing. I stumbled, trying to hold it together.

In the midst of swearing and a rustle of bodies I was slammed against the truck, and then pinned like a kid's insect project. The end of the Louisville smashed into my guts, left me wheezing for breath. Spots of light hovered at the corner of my vision. I gasped for air, blood reached my nose and then my bottom lip. I pushed against the arms holding me, Louisville and tire-iron guy. They drove me back against the truck. It hurt like hell, but I figured if I could fight back, then they hadn't broke anything. Yet.

Lead fedora, the black-hatted fridge head, was up and breathing heavy into my face.

"Sammy. Pop the hood on this jalopy."

Fiddle-guy opened the truck door. He let out a whistle.

"Take a lookee at this." He swung his arms back at his friends.

"The hood Sammy."

"Yeah, well where the hell is it? I've never seen anything like this. Oh, here we go. What happens if I pull this?"

The hood popped just as another vehicle was heard coming down the highway. It was coming fast, engine revving, and all of us looked up. It was another antique looking one, but some sort of sports model, roadster, I think they were called.

Things moved slow and fast at the same time.

 The car fishtailed, slammed on its brakes and slid across the road. My attackers swore as gravel from the shoulder sprayed up, hit their chests and necks. A rain of pings sounded against my truck.

The man was up and out of the car, but not as quick as the dog through the window.

"What the hell?" Louisville man unpinned me and swung and missed at the beast as it leapt for his throat.

My arm throbbed. I knew that animal.

A shotgun was racked. Black fedora man stopped in his tracks. The man in front of the roadster was tall. No, he was gi-fucking-normous. He swung the gun around and fired at one of the antique car's tires. He pumped once, and shot out the other one's.

He racked it one more time and swung it back at us.

Nobody said a goddamn word.

A boot slid against the gravel. It sounded like an avalanche.

"Car."

He was talking to me.

"You want me to just leave the--"

"Car."

The dog had Louisville pinned on the ground, teeth bared, a low growl that sounded like violence could erupt at any second. The bat sat alone on the road. Black fedora man looked back at the other two. Fiddle guy still on the ground, cradling his knee, shook his head.

"We don't want any trouble there, big fella."

"Good."

"This one a friend of yours?"

The gi-normous man raised the shotgun so it was in perfect line with black fedora man, then slid it out in a small arc, pointing at each of them, dipping down to focus on the two not standing.

"Shit. He's going to kill us, Pete."

"Car."

My guts ached as I walked over to the giant's car. I went in the back door. The man walked back, keeping the shotgun trained on the four men. Once in the car, he whistled. The dog growled, bared his teeth again at Louisville – though with his eyes slammed shut he might not have seen it. Then another whistle, this one lower -- and the dog that looked like a wolf jumped through the window.

The driver spun a u-ball on the highway. I watched the fedoras through the back window. Nobody moved at first, then they all moved together. There were no motions towards us, nobody shook their fist and ran down the road like you might expect. They gathered around the one I kicked, helped him up, gave him his fiddle. They all dusted themselves off.

I leaned forward in the car.

"I heard your name is Walt."

"She calls me that."

I waited for more explanation, or even what his real name was. I know he was the one L had introduced me to, the one who had the way to escape. I was having a helluva time putting together, and it was really starting to piss me off. But I guess when Walt showed me whatever the fuck he showed me, my brain got scrambled. I hoped that wasn't a permanent thing, because I had kind of grown fond of knowing my A, B, C's, and the capital city of Slovenia. Did getting unleashed in time mean that I lost all the stuff I thought I knew? Or did I just figure out that none of it mattered one shit.

"Listen, Walt. Those guys in the cars and whacking sticks. Are they out on the highway like me? Did they go through a rip or did I? I need to get a foothold here. So, you wanna tell me what the fuck just happened? "

"Something that will always happen."

"What?"

The giant drove the car and refused to say anything else for miles.

"Walt, when am I gonna make sense of all this?"

"In time."

"I'm getting damn sick of that word."

 

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