the Love of a Good Burger
We’re walking down the street, bumping hips, a
hand in each other’s back pocket, and life is good and has been, since we met
on the Greyhound last week.
Becky wanted a burger, so we left the idiot box
on at the motel and strolled down Rt 1 until we saw a sign in the window of The
Widowmaker’s Bar & Burger Joint, so in we went and had beers and burgers,
and they were some fine burgers, big and juicy, and we both got ‘em with lots
of fried onions, and they didn’t have fries but came with big ripple chips and
bread and butter pickles.
It was kind of quiet, and after we took a table,
I walked over to the bar, got our beers, and the bartender took my order. He
gave a whistle when they were done, and I took the plates to the table and
brought our glasses back and got another pair of beers.
We were almost to our room, walking through the
motel parking lot, kicking up the stones, when a door opened, and this bruiser
comes out, yelling that we were kicking stones at his truck and scratching it.
We wouldn’t do that, I told him, and he asked,
was I calling him a liar, and I said I wouldn’t do that either, and he said, so
you were kicking stones at my truck, and I could tell he was drunk, and a mean
drunk to boot, so we kept walking, and he yelled for us to stop, and I guided
Becky over to our room and unlocked the door, and quick locked it, and we
looked at each other and shrugged, and we both knew we dodged a bullet, and
then the mean drunk kicked our door open with one kick.
We didn’t have a back door, and I told Becky to
go lock herself in the bathroom and try to crawl out the window and get some
help, and I said howdy to the mean drunk, and he took two steps in and tossed
me around like a rag doll, and then he belched and fell over on our bed and
went to sleep.
I whispered Becky out of the bathroom, and we
got our stuff and started walking away from the motel, and drunk guy’s door was
open, so I peeked in, saw his keys and wallet, and we had ourselves a ride to
the next town and a couple of hundred dollars and two credit cards to boot.
We ditched the pickup when the sun was coming
up and walked back to the Greyhound station we’d passed and bought two tickets
to New York, and had an hour wait, but just before the bus pulled in, the drunk
guy blasted through the waiting room door, gun in hand and shot Becky.
She was hurt bad but still alive, when he told
me to give him his keys and his wallet and tell him where his truck was.
I did all that and then I saw the bullet coming
at my head in slow motion and heard the noise, and that’s the next to the last
thing I saw.
In his younger years
Paul Beckman was a numbers runner, a fence, and hung around with the bad crowd.
He still hangs with a dubious crowd.