Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | November 20, 2011

Sample from “Overload,” a Work in Progress

We’d crossed a complex of rivers and bayous on an elevated bridge and weren’t far from the Alabama state line. Frost exited at a place where the signs showed a couple of filling stations and fast food restaurants. Not much else.
Frost pulled up to a pay-at-the-pump in the least-sleazy looking station. How the place kept a franchise with the major oil company was a mystery.
“I’ll fill it up. You go pee. Then you can wait here I while I check out the men’s room. Let me know how bad it smells,” he said.
I’d just come back and motioned for Frost that it was his turn. I was still in the store when he came in and went past me. I nodded my head toward the men’s room sign.
“Pretty bad, but don’t stay long, and you can hold your breath,” I said.
I was looking at some jerky to chew as we drove. Frost came out and shook his head; we went down the two steps to the pump area together.
A man in his mid-to-late twenties was sitting on the right front fender of Frost’s BMW. He was heavyset. Muscles bulged in tan arms under a dirty white tee shirt with holes. He had shaggy brown hair, wore pale blue jeans with ragged knees and a baseball cap turned backward. A skinnier version with pale hair and overalls was running his hand over the car’s trunk.
“Be good if you’d get off my car,” Frost said
The skinny one stood up straight and shuffled to the right rear to watch.
“Yew gotta a nice piece of iron here. Why dontcha let me drive it a while?” Heavyset said.
He didn’t move. I went to the left front fender, watching both rednecks. Frost stepped within four feet of the jerk on the fender. Faced him.
“Get off now, and we can all have a peaceful afternoon,” Frost said.
“I just might get a piece of you, fancy pants,” Heavyset put both hands on the fender and levered himself off the car. When his feet hit the concrete, he reached for Frost with his left hand.
A mistake.
Frost’s right arm, with the forearm at a ninety-degree angle,  stopped the reaching arm. He straightened the forearm, wrapped it around the man’s bicep trapping the redneck’s hand under his right arm. He slid his palm back under the man’s elbow and lifted—hard—wrenching the elbow upward. Heavyset moaned. As he did, Frost slid his hand down to the guy’s wrist. Pulled him close and hammered his left fist in a snap-punch to the solar plexus.

Then, he dropped him.
“You broke my arm you asshole,” said Heavyset.
He moaned the words, two or three at a time, through clenched teeth.
The man’s arm looked distorted. Painful.
“No. Just dislocated your elbow. It’ll heal. Stay off other people’s property,” Frost said.
The skinny one at the back of the car started reaching in his pocket for something. Frost and I saw him at the same time. His attention was focused on Frost.
“No,” I said.
He shifted his gaze, stared into the barrel of my .45 and eased his hand out of the pocket, then put both hands overhead.
“Ain’t got no part of this,” he said.
He turned and trotted off to a rusty pickup truck, hands still in the air. He started the engine and drove away in a smoke-belching clatter. I followed him in my sights until I was sure he didn’t have a weapon, such as a rifle or shotgun, to turn on us.
The redneck on the pavement continued to crawl around, using his left arm. He moaned, cursed and threatened when he could draw enough air. He barfed once.
“Don’t mess up my tires,” Frost said.
He grabbed Heavyset’s shirt collar and dragged him away a few feet, toward the building.
“Let’s go,” he said.
He guided the car, back on the Interstate and set the cruise control at eighty.
“You think the people in the store will cause trouble?” I said
“No. An asshole like that, no one wants him around. Self-defense, anyway, and you got a carry permit,” he said.
He was right.

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