It had wings, too, big, dark, hairy wings. When it flapped them my way in a manner meant to scare me off, I could smell them. Like the rotting husk of a week old leftover Chinese food take-home box with half the General Tso’s chicken still inside.
I sighed, and looked back to make sure Seamus was still with me. He was. Of that, I had no need to worry.
I fumbled with the slow moving door exiting the grocery, not really in a hurry, but not liking the delay, and glanced around for a good spot. There wasn’t one, so I took the nearest blank spot in the parking lot that was mostly clean of oil drippings and spit out chewing gum and loogies, then I knelt. Curled down over my knees, face to the asphalt, arms in front with hands palm up as if waiting in supplication for the occult priestess to place the dagger through my back between my ribs and into my heart, I closed my eyes and waited.
Seamus guarded me, I had to trust in that.
I didn’t have to wait long.
The attack came from the left, like a feint at first, or more like a novice grasshopper in training wishing to best his sensei.
But I didn’t take the bait. I waited. This was how most of the ravers liked to attack. They played with their food before they ate it.
The raver lunged at me, twin barbed lance thrusting forward, a move meant to take me off balance and open to a back thrust that would have ripped out my spleen. It missed.
A few more moves, each faster, each intended to bring me out of my defense and attempt an attack on the raver that would of course fail.
Then, when the raver got bored, when he was done whirling his peas around in his potatoes hoping to make a tasteless mash that could be swallowed whole to avoid the individual tastes, he pounced.
His jaws opened wide, lance pulled back and forgotten, the look of triumph etched in the stretch of his lips and the gleam in his red rimmed eyes, he came at me with the sureness my head would soon be in his belly.
That’s when I attacked.
Not to boast, but my skills are prodigious. I moved like the whirling of the wind in a tornado in Missouri, striking the ravers knee, achilles, the arteries at his hips and the bulge in his crotch, all within the span of a breath.
He fell with his mouth open right at the spot I had been just a heartbeat ago, missing the meal he had hoped for.
I took a deep breath, and then opened my eyes.
Still kneeling in the empty parking spot just outside the grocery store with Seamus at my back, watching.
A car honked.
“Hey! Can you get the hell outta my way? The sign says ‘for expectant mothers’.”
The fat, greasy woman in the four-door station wagon was not pregnant.
Seamus and I moved to the side to let her pull the car in, and though her stomach protruded well below her waist line, there was not a baby inside.
Trust me. I can tell these things.
“Stupid freaking goth kids always looking for a handout. Well I don’t have anything for you!”
The woman mumbled her way into the store stealing glances over her shoulder to make sure we didn’t follow and clicking the remote door lock in way that said she definitely didn’t trust that we were so close to her car. She grabbed a young kid, a worker who was only trying to go get the abandoned carts in the parking lot, and unloaded on him while pointing our way with angry jabs.
Seamus and I glanced at each other. There was a slight curl of his lips, the only hint that he had even paid any attention to the exchange. With a nod, we agreed without speaking that it was time for us to go.
Our work here was done.