“MY FIGHTIN” NAME…”
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.
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.