Oh Lord. Have Mercy. "His Fightin' Name was..."

by TerryWalstrom 2 Replies latest jw friends

  • TerryWalstrom


    A huge man to my right leans in close.
    I catch the scent of stale menthol cigarette smoke.
    He’s he speaking to....(I look around)...to me?
    There is nobody else. I snap to attention, listening.

    “My fightin’ name was Spyder.”

    Strangers talk to me. It’s a thing. I’m that guy.
    As the fellow commences his sprawling narrative I squint hard and appraise who I see.

    Spyder is an enormous man--a man of color.
    Lines in his face are crinkled paperback novels. He spins tales of punishment.
    Puffy eyelids and yellowing sockets blink at bright sunshine outside.
    His age?
    I’m clueless.
    My guess? At least a hard millennium. Jurassic era.
    LIke me, an old dinosaur. THAT is why he’s telling me.
    Telling me what?

    Spyder gazes down at his fists like a jeweler admiring a diamond setting.
    His voice is the bottom of a deep pit--the tolling bell at judgment day.

    “These my bodyguards.”
    He clenches and unclenches his hands.

    He torques his left wrist. There’s quick movement, a flash of the sleeve.
    The meaty bulk snaps short a half inch from my chin!
    I’ve flinched before I know what happened.

    “This one I calls ‘Oh Lord.

    It floats in front of a me-a glint of light on a dark river.

    His other meat-piston whistles at a blur in place of the first.

    “And this is ‘Have Mercy.’

    He laughs at his joke, then, turns back to the table and sips coffee.
    The slurp rattles a bit.

    All is silent. For awhile.

    Spyder turns again. He’s facing me. I steel myself.

    (Here we go…)

    "You alright--ya know."

    (Is he asking me or telling me?)

    “You too.” (What else should I say?)

    His body laughs. The face is sad.
    The old man turns away and sips.

    Finally, he rises on staunch limbs and exhales a long slow moan.
    Not a weary sound.
    Heavy construction equipment moving tons of stone. His machine is engaged.

    “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” He puts music into the words.

    He shambles to a vehicle, disappearing like a magic trick.
    Dead solid perfect. The image of his presence shimmers inside my head.

    “What just happened?” I ask myself aloud.

    All I’ve got from "Spyder" is what I’ve told you.
    And there it is.


  • MissFit

    Thanks Terry,

    Your writing always draws me in. I love reading your "snapshots".

  • TerryWalstrom

    MissFit, thank you. I write because I must.
    Getting people to read what I write is more difficult :)

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