Killin' Folks

by Peter Fodey

Here I am, drivin' again and thinkin' bout stuff again. Some guys, they got their booze and their wacky tobacky. I never much cared for that stuff. It only made me throw up most of the time. Other guys, they got their big money and their gamblin' and things. That really didn't do nothin' for me neither. Hell, I never had the money to start with. We all got our habits, or addictions, or whatever you want to call 'em. Me, I've always enjoyed killin' folks.

I know it's wrong, I know it is. It's hard, though, thinkin' of quittin'. After twenty or thirty, ya kinda get a nice taste for it. I remember the first like it was yesterday, that guy behind the bowlin' alley, with the big pipe. Shit, I was only twelve or thirteen then, some thirty or so years ago. It felt good, real good, and I guess I never looked back.

But I know it's wrong and I gotta stop. Just one more would be sorta nice, but I shouldn't. I know damn well I shouldn't.

It's a hot one today. This Arizona heat always gets me, especially with my freakin' air conditioner busted again. But I always loved runs in the desert, a chance to think on stuff and maybe get in a kill or two. Actually, I don't think I'm too far from that place back in '91, outside Holbrook. It was three of them rock 'n' rollers, hitch-hikers, and they started smokin' one of them big stinky reefers in the back seat. Well, that just didn't sit none too well with me, and the next I know I'm buryin' them with my trusty shovel, the old one I got in my trunk. I blasted 'em all with my Colt. That was a good one.

But I gotta stop, though. I ain't no kid no more and I guess she could be time to settle down. It's hard - me havin' a real talent for it.

I've been drivin' for most of the day now, but haven't seen much in the way of prospects. I'm wonderin' why I started all this stuff, way back then. People always treated me mean, maybe that's why, but I don't rightly know. They always had lotsa fun with my birth name, Arlo Crabtree, and that made me feel pretty bad. I guess it felt good to make them feel worse.

Here comes a station wagon, green-colored I think, with that fancy wood panel. Maybe a family, maybe five or six of 'em. When they pass I can see it's only a couple of old folks, probably on some kinda trip like those retired people go on. I can't be bothered right now, turnin' the car around and all. Besides, I'm gettin' real hungry. Gotta find a burger place. No more damn killin'!

This heat's drivin' me crazy, I tell ya. And I gotta get somethin' in my gut. A big glass of lemonade would sure be nice right about now. I think I'll turn on the radio and find some country music like daddy used to play.

There's another car, but it ain't comin' at me. It's just sittin' there with lotsa smoke pourin' out. Some bald guy with tattoos is real mad it looks like, kickin' the shit out of his bumper and stuff. As I get closer, he sees me and starts wavin' his arms up in the air. I don't think I better stop, though. Besides, I'm too hungry. Real hungry.

I put the old pedal to the metal and race by, stirrin' up some dust in his face to boot. Sorry buddy. I'm lookin' in my rear-view and I can see him doin' somethin' mean. He's givin' me what they call the finger, and it's startin' to piss me off a bit. Sorry buddy, but I ain't got time to help some bald freak fix his freakin' car in the middle of the desert. Stick that finger you know where!

Just then he does somethin' else, grabbin' his privates under his blue-jeans. He's squeezin' them and shakin' them in my direction, and it's makin' me real mad. Oh well, I guess one more won't hurt.

I slam on my brakes and my old tires make a big screechy sound on the hot asphalt. It feels good, whipping my car around and headin' back his way. By the time I get her up to eighty-four I can see his funny face, all terrified and such. He's yellin' at me, but my big engine is just roarin' too loud.

It's the damndest thing when I hit him. Kinda sounds like a big sack o' spuds, gettin' shot out of a cannon, but just a little louder. He's flyin' through the air still, when I slam on the brakes again so as I can watch. It feels good, seein' him land hard and bounce like a busted doll, about fifty or so feet from the road. He's good 'n' dead, I can tell, so I won't bother wastin' a shot on him today. Besides, I gotta stop doin' this kinda stuff.

What was that one, about the old dog and new tricks?

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