Friday, November 21, 2008
Smiley Tol Me by Townsend Walker
Smiley tol me way it happened. And he got it from the horse’s mouth, cop on the scene, friend of his. This guy, think Smiley said his name was Jim Cartright, or Carter, or somethin that starts with a C; anyway this guy’s layin out in the middle of the road, spread eagle, on his back, middle of winter, no clothes, not a stitch, big red hole in the middle of his chest. Cop said it was probably a shot gun, double barrel, both fired at the same time. Musta been a big sucker what shot em since a 12 gauge has a hell of a kick. Ah know, tried it once, Smiley dared me, and ah ended up on ma can. But as ah was sayin, this here fella’s in the middle of the road, and right in front of his house. Magine that. Then, and here’s what blows the biscuit, cop goes into the house, all the lights are on, and finds a woman and a man doin it on the couch. Wait a minute, got that part mixed up; it was the house on the other side of the street from where the guy lived. But, turns out the woman is the guy’s wife. His house was all dark, so they didn’t think to go there. Cuz Smiley said that it took em a while even to get to the guy. He was a turning blue when they got there. Seems nobody heard any shots, or nothin. No, don’t think the guy in the house with the wife shot em. Somebody else. But ya know they didn’t seem bit concerned this guy was out there in the middle of the road dead. Smiley said they went up and down the block all night tryin to find somebody heard shots, can ya magine, nobody heard a 12 gauge? Well, seems it took the cops a while but finally they figured the guy musta got it somewhere else and was dumped. That, or what I asked Smiley. What if, ya know, what if the whole neighborhood was in on it, what if that was the deal? Course nobody heard. Here’s how I see it. This guy’s, the dead guy’s a real pain in the ass, neighbors hate em. He ticks em off, up and down the block, nothin’s ever right, “Yur mower makes too much noise Frank!” “Your mutt walks on my lawn one more time Jack, ah’m warnin ya!” “Ya hafta park yur car so close to my driveway? Almost hit it the other day, jerk!” Guy like that, year, two most, has the neighbors fried to a crisp. So way ah figure, the block done it, don’t know who pulled the trigger, but the block done it.” Ya wait, they’ll all be at his funeral, then they’ll have a party, day after, betcha.
Townsend Walker lives in San Francisco. His stories have appeared in L’Italo-Americano, Crimson Highway, Static Movement, 971 Menu, The Aggregated Press; Raving Dove, AntipodeanSF, Neonbeam, Amazon Shorts, , , Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Battered SuitcaseDark Sky Magazine, and are forthcoming in Pequin, Twisted Tongue and Cantaraville. During a career in finance he published three books: on foreign exchange, on derivatives, and the last one on portfolio management. In 2005 he went to Rome and started writing short stories.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.
Street art by iansanity.
Teeth Mountain is part of thriving music scene in Baltimore. This song appears on the Baltimore Round Robin Tour Compilation that can be downloaded for free here.