So a couple of days ago the phone rang and L asked, “Did you pull a gun on [oh, let’s call him Jay]?”
I said, “No, I did not pull a gun on Jay. Why do you ask?”
Okay, a couple of things first as background. First, we have a new neighbor, right on the outskirts of what I consider my stomping ground. We’ll call him Jay because that’s his name and I don’t like him. He’s a loud, obnoxious drunk with a pickup truck that looks like it has sideswiped a myriad of trees and fenceposts and an ATV that by some absurd miracle has not yet killed him. Following the tracks of either is like falling into a cartoon with a cruel stereotype of a drunken driver. I thought I knew for sure how Jay is going to die, but now I’m no longer sure because a second possible cause of death has arisen.
Second, from my earliest firearms training I was given what I consider extremely good advice, which I have never even been seriously tempted to break in all these years: Never pull a gun on a person you’re not prepared – indeed planning – to shoot. First, it’s dangerous because accidents happen and second, what if he calls your bluff? What’s your next move, Tex? You’ve just converted a position of strength into one of weakness. What’re you gonna do, wound him? Life is not a Jason Statham flick. So no, I wouldn’t have pulled a gun on Jay even if I’d been the one who confronted him, which I was not.
Those preliminaries out of the way, this morning I wanted to know why L had jumped to the conclusion that I had pulled a gun on Jay.
“Well, his girlfriend (yes, Jay has a girlfriend. They may reproduce.) said somebody did. And I thought if you had caught him nosing around Ian’s place or something…”
“Wait. He’s trespassing now?”
“Better than that. There’ve been at least two break-ins, and guess who looks like the most probable breaker-inner given what was stolen.”
“What was stolen?”
“Booze, and a composting toilet.”
“And Jay and [girlfriend]’s place famously has no septic field…”
“Or water well, or electricity, or nothing. Right. So I thought, maybe Joel. Except now I know it wasn’t you, because Jay’s girlfriend called the cops on the woman he said had pulled the gun. Except it wasn’t a gun, it was a camera. So now the cops have digital photos of Jay (a “menacing figure” right out of central casting) going postal on [Cindy C.], who looks like Olga Korbut only smaller and less intimidating. Not too unclear who was menacing whom, so [girlfriend] didn’t do Jay any favors by calling cops, but we’re not talking about mental giants here.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake. Y’know, I don’t normally wish evil to befall my fellow man just on general principles. But since Jay is destined to drive full-speed into a tree or off a cliff one day anyway, is it bad if I hope it happens soon?