He pulled the makings out of his breast pocket and started rolling a cigarette without breaking eye contact. His hair wasn’t so much grey as it was without color. He said, “Son…”
So, I stopped listening. I pulled my knife out and started an ambling whittle. When I started listening again, he was talking about shoes.
“…the kind of shoes you could wear wet or dry. Boots. The best pair I ever had. By a long sight. So, it wasn’t no joke when he took ‘em. You take a man’s boots and that’s one thing. Bad enough, I reckon. But he knew about those boots. And he just off and took ‘em.”
I had a very sharp stick by now. The evening sounds were a broken facsimile of a bootleg orchestra. I pulled a Camel from my pocket and stared into the sharp fire while he lit it with a kitchen match. I tipped the clear jug bottle and goddamn but I dare you to find a man who won’t cringe. I hit it again while my throat was numb.
“You fuckin’ kids. Do you even get what I’m saying to you?”
“Yessir. You really liked them boots.”