Dan is walking on the street
smoking a cigarette.
Up Columbia without having crossed the Mason. As he approaches the crest
of a hill
he notices another pedestrian. He passes the guy on the right;
they are on the left side of a four-lane two-way road,
the other coming
in the opposite direction
the guy says
Dan responds with
signifying. Takes a drag.
The guy turns; Dan counters. "What's happenin'?" Dan reads an air of alcohol. "Nothing," and keeps walking. The guy is following him. He stops, turns slightly. "Hey man watcha...."
"I don't need to talk." Dan cuts him off.
"Are you punk?" The guy swaggers staggering into the street. Dan waves him back onto the sidewalk, "man.
No." He starts to walk on. The guy touches him on the right forearm. Dan turns into a semi-akido position.
"Whatcha got to say?" Raised arms and walking around to the uphill side. Dan fends off the closer upraised arm.
"Look, Merry Christmas, okay?" It was three days before.
"Oooh, Merry Christmas." Again raised arms almost in a buddy-buddy fashion. Another fending.
"Man, leave me alone."
"Yea, well I hope you have a shitty fuckin' Christmas." Deliberate feigning into a threatening position. "Yeh, well thanks." Again akido; again fending.
"Who are you anyway?" Nobody scares me the drunk thinks.
Dan tilts his head and down looking up with his best Clockwork Orange stare: I'm nobody.
"Don't fuck with me like that." At first apprehension then again upraised arms. "You wanna be like this ?" "lapping a marker for underground electrical lines. Probably meaning to hit a wood post, or dirt.
"Chill out man."
"You wanta chill like this?" Another post slap.
"Man chill out."
"You wanta chill out?"
"Man...." Adrenalin is starting to override Dan. He throws the cigarette into the street. He's starting to shake.
"Go about your way." An ambulance screams by on the other side.
Dan walks on by. "okay."
"I'll show you okay."
"All right." Dan walks on, stops to make sure the guy has started to go the other way. He lights a cigarette. His leg starts convulsing. He walks; riding out adrenal waves.
"Damn," the drunk thinks. "All I wanted was a smoke."