It was more about frustration, than hate–a desire for perfection. Impulsive fires of youth no longer raged in Larry’s heart. Deep down, the embers still smoldered. Larry and Martha’s dream of semi-blissful existence on the far fringes of suburbia, wasn’t fully realized.
An empty whiskey bottle sailed out the window of a speeding Lincoln Town Car. Black smoke spewed from the tailpipe. The bottle landed near Larry’s feet.
“You ignorant son-of-a bitch!” He yelled.
That was deliberate. That jackass tried to hit me!
Larry palmed the bottle; pitched a high, hard one at the back window–not enough to shatter glass. …Just enough to get the driver’s attention. The bottle glanced off with a loud bang, rolled into the weeds. Good throw Larry–pat yourself on the back.
The Lincoln skidded to a stop. Larry watched from the shadows. A heavy-set, red-faced man stepped out and looked around.
Just as I expected–some fat ass, lazy dude. What do you know–he found the bottle. I didn’t give him enough credit. Does he know where it came from? Did he get my message from a bottle?
The Lincoln, weaved from side-to-side back down the hill. Larry’s heart beat fast as the car rolled to a stop. The enraged driver spotted Larry–wanted his pound of flesh.
“Did you see who threw this bottle at my car?” The man held the whiskey bottle like a trophy.
“People throw out trash all the time,” Larry answered.
“That wasn’t what I asked–Mister. Did you see who threw, THIS, bottle? It scared the bejesus out of me. I could have been injured or had an accident.”
“Maybe it was from a lawnmower?” Larry offered.
“No, it was thrown too hard–too straight for that.” Answered the angry man. “I think you know who did this. “You’re just not saying.”
“Are you calling me a liar?” Larry asked indignantly. “Because, if you are, you can get your ass back down the road and off my property.”
“I got no proof–if I did I’d file charges, ” The heavy-set man’s anger turned to frustration.
The heated discussion became less about a whiskey bottle, more about who had the moral high ground.
“What gives you the right to file charges? You tossed out the bottle in the first place. The bottle almost hit ME. “I’M the one that should file charges–against YOU!”
“Larry, Jim’s on the phone, ” Martha called from the house at just the right moment.
“I’ve got to take this call,” Larry explained.
The Lincoln driver left in a hurry–unsatisfied.
“What were you guys talking about? He seemed angry,” Martha asked.
“Someone threw a whiskey bottle at his car,” Larry answered.
“Who would want to do that?” Martha asked. She knew Larry had a fiery temper.
Mournful siren sounds wailed in the distance. Larry looked up at the night sky–clutched his stomach. Burning, searing pain subsided. Was this how it felt to die? The Lincoln’s rectangular headlights slowly disappeared as the car backed down the driveway.
It started with a knock on the door sometime after midnight. The knocks became louder and more desperate. “Who could that be?” Larry asked Martha. “It’s three in the morning. …A car accident? I’ll check it out. Call the Sheriff if I’m not back right away.”
“I’m coming–don’t beat the door down. What are YOU, doing, here?” Larry asked the man from the previous afternoon. They stood silhouetted in the car’s headlights. “What do you want?” Larry asked.
“You know why I’m here,” The stranger answered. “What do I want?” “I want you to admit you pitched this bottle at my car yesterday. Take the bottle–I’m not joking!” There was a chrome plated revolver tucked in his waistband.
“All right–I did it! I threw this bottle at your car! I didn’t mean anything by it.” Larry pleaded. “Now, can I go back to bed?”
“No, I’m not done,” The stranger replied. “You know you really pissed me off! Was this whiskey bottle worth your life?”
“No,” Larry answered feebly–clutching the bottle tightly against his chest. Why did he pick my yard? There were plenty of other yards.
“That’s not the point! The angry man answered. “This was just a bottle until you threw it–then it became a weapon. Never bring a bottle to a gunfight.”
Two gunshots echoed in the night. Larry crumpled to cold concrete clad only in underwear and robe. A puddle of blood spread underneath his body. Nearby was the empty whiskey bottle.
The Lincoln sped away. Larry couldn’t move–struggled to cry out. Words wouldn’t come. He awakened, breathless, soaked in cold sweat. He checked the front door–then ran cold water on his face in the bathroom. Going back to bed was pointless.