I was sitting on a stool at the counter, coffee smoke, mixed with cinnamon and hazelnut, drifting to my nose when the bell rang on the door, and Perdue Raft and his wife Gia walked in. Approaching the front counter, Perdue glanced to his left and spied me. I offered a lazy smile and a nod. A smile and a nod would not do for the large, outgoing Serb; he moved toward me and grasped me in a bear hug,
“It’s good to see you, my badger, my friend,” he bellowed. “I heard you were in the hospital.”
“I was,” I said.
“Well, you look good. Was it your heart? Cancer? Prostate problem?”
I laughed. “No Perdue, my inner lunatic escaped again and rather than drive down the freeway on a tractor in the nude, I thought I ought to go in for an oil change and a lube.”
Perdue roared. “You are a funny guy,” he said in a heavy Slavic accent. “Come on man, you can tell me. You had some kind of operation, right? I had my spleen rebuilt two years ago after I fought a badger.”
“Sorry Perdue, no operation. I was in a mental facility, a nut farm, a bat-shit weasel ranch.”
‘But I know you my friend, and you are not crazy. You are shit bulling me.”
“Nope,” I said. “Crazy covers a lot of ground Perdue.”
The aroma of my coffee was calling me back to my solitude and morning newspaper, but Perdue didn’t want to let me go.
“Why haven’t you told me you are crazy before now.? You are my friend, and I find out just now. This is not a thing I should just find out.” His voice was becoming a little too accusatory.
“Perdue,” called Gia, “leave Em alone, he just wants to drink his coffee.”
“But Gia, this man is crazy and, he did not tell me. Is this something a friend would do? I think not.”
I was tired and becoming irritated. “Look, Perdue, I’m going to drink my coffee and read my newspaper; maybe we’ll talk about this later.”
“But I want to talk about it now,” he insisted.
To my left, resting against the counter, was an item I purchased earlier that morning–A native American Indian spear I found at a garage sale. I grabbed the spear and walked to the back of the shop, turned and chucked it at Perdue. It penetrated his throat, and he fell heavily on one of the tables.
“That’s for the badger Perdue. Now, shut the fuck up.