Hawk Dancer

Short Story

Short Story Feature

A new short story is posted on a random schedule of monthly or near quarterly. These are my short fiction works in most cases. 

At Your Service

A bit of background information:

This is a short section of a short story found in my latest published book TIM BROWNE: Birch Clump Village Reader 7. 

     Tim is 22 in this 1973 accounting of his days as a tow truck operator. He had an earlier dispute with the bosses son, but things have smoothed out and are going fine.

     Then things get heated up again. I edited the section so as not to give any conclusions or to offer any spoilers.

    Tim, under normal circumstances, can work his way out of trouble in the past. He's not so sure if he can get out of a sticky situation quite as easily this time.

Tim Browne
   A section from:

At Your Service

From the book
TIM BROWNE: Birch Clump Village Reader 7
 
   Tim was willing to let the animosity fad away. He even blamed himself for over reacting, though he originally meant no malice towards Rick. The first shove was just impulse; but then getting punched in the face? The normal response is instant rage and retaliation. Tim felt they both made normal spur of the moment gut reactions. That’s the risk with practical jokes. 
    Rick accepted a cessation of hostilities, but was not ready to let go of his resentment towards Browne. The next few days were a cold atmosphere of business as usual around the shop before Rick began a gradual thaw. He invited Browne to have a few beers after work one evening.
   Browne recalled the gossip, that Rick could not hold his drink. Still, it would be good to restore their friendship, and seeing as he drank very little, and others knew it, he would have no problem keeping the meeting to two beers and then leave.
    Browne went home to clean up and trade his work jeans, one waist size down, for a better fitting pair of jeans that were probably three sizes down. He made quick work of putting a peanut butter sandwich together and toss a load of laundry into his brand new washer. He inspected himself fore and aft and side to side in front of the mirror, slapped his thighs and headed for the bar.
  They laughed over the hearse prank. They traded histories. At some point, Rick told of getting dumped on, but that somethings happen for a reason.
   That triggered a memory for Browne. “My cousin Marty says that a lot. Someone treats him wrong and he shrugs it off with ‘somethings happen for a reason,’ instead of straightening the dude out. Not that he needs to always fight back, but not just be a doormat the rest of his life.”
   “Know what’cha mean.”
   Browne doubted he did, but that didn’t matter. People always say ‘know what you mean’ when they are half listening and totally disinterested.
   “I told him the next time I hear that; I’ll punch him in the face, right in the face.”
  Rick slowly lowered his beer, but maintained his dispassionate tone of voice, “Hear what?”
    “Some things were meant to happen for a reason.”
    Rick slid his beer aside. His voice changed, “That’s true. I just said that. How about punching me in the face?”
    “Come on,” Brown felt the vibes, “Just saying.”
   “Forget saying,” Rick stood up. “Show me. Come on, tough guy, hit me.”
   The nearest patrons quieted and turned their attention to the pair. 
    “I don’t want to hit you.”
    “Ya may as well, ’cause I’m going to hit you.” 
   “Hey,” one bar patron called attention to others, “Looks like these two are going to fight.”
   Voices subsided as chairs scooted back and others stood up, bar stools emptied.
   “Listen I got to go. I’ve got some laundry to attend too …”
 Rick plugged Tim across the mouth laying him across the next table.
   “What’s wrong with you!” Rage set on his face. The eyes of both were intently fixed on each other. Patrons recognized the look of two guys about to rip into each other and positioned themselves to accommodate.
   Rick swung again. Tim blocked and backed off. Rick moved in. Browne shoved him against the bar, upsetting a barstool. Two or three shoves were traded before Tim was clobbered a second time.
   Patrons were elated. The bar tenders and another male employee broke it up. “Outside with that.”
  “I’m not looking for trouble,” Tim protested, lips bleeding. “Come on; I just want to go home.”
  He was forcibly lead outside while Rick willingly conformed. A number of bar patrons followed.
   “Let’s make this a fight to the finish,” Rick increased the challenge once the cool October night air hit them.
   Tim shook inside. “Naw, let’s talk about it later, man. This isn’t worth it.”
   “Fight to the finish.” Rick demanded. “You no good rotten Jew.”
   Tim backed away while others urged a fight, circling to block his escape. The window was jammed with excited onlookers. The shock of hearing the Jewish rumor shot through. He would not have expected that allegation to follow him to Gaylord. Prejudice could solidify an antagonist’s resolve. 
   “To the finish, man,” one called out to the others. “You hear that? Man this is going to be good.”
   This was the bar patron’s chance of a lifetime to see two young men, early twenties, in prime health in an authentic fight to the finish. Slender and lithe, evenly matched, both appeared capable of sustaining a long hard, brutal hand to hand battle.
   “Listen,” Browne pleaded, “One of us could get seriously hurt, maybe killed.”
   “I know. You.” With that Rick swung.

. . . (results and conclusion is in the book) . . .  
Who is Who
In Birch Clump Village Reader #7?

Tim Browne: Another baby boomer like several other characters I created.
    Born in 1951 in a yet to be named small town in northern Oakland County, Michigan. The ordinariness of his life is what makes him so interesting. He attended a Catholic parish grade school and the local public high school. He avoided the draft during the Vietnam war just by having a high enough number in the draft lotto.
    Like other teens and young men, he seeks entry level base pay employment nor requiring any experience, such as dish washer, bus boy and quite by chance was a waiter at a family diner.
    He happened to walk in on an armed robbery, thus foiling things for the thieves. He is rewarded with an on-the-job training opportunity as a tow truck operator at a handsome wage for someone in his circumstances. That job is short lived after he gets into a fist fight with the bosses son.

Madge Jensen: She is the waitress at the Birch Clump Village Family Diner, 1968-1973.
    Friendly, lively, rather sweet, she's also quite the flirt. She has a crush on Neil Roberts, the 19 year old stock boy and clerk across the street at the General Store. She's 21. She's also interested in Jig, who is even younger.
    Earlier stories in other Birch Clump Readers reveal that she was arrested in 1973. There is some mystery as to how and why her and Tim Browne continued a relationship from 1973-75, her first two years of incarceration for selling drugs to teens in the village. (Tim Browne is not involved with any of her illegal activities.) No one in the village knew that they had anything going other than the night he showed up in the diner in 1971.

Jig Rajan & Sandy Wright: Jig assists the single mother of two with a flat tire. Romance soon follows. Sandy is related to the same Wright family Karen Schuller-Fern married into from the Novels, Hawk Dancer and Cloudburst. The Wrights are noted as a mean spirited, extremely bigoted dysfunctional family. The inter racial marriage will likely be opposed.

Neil Roberts: Introduced in the short story, Start the Day Right, in an earlier BCV Reader.
    He works at the General store, and is a close friend of Jig Rajan. One of Madge's teen drug customers tried robbing the general store in 1971. Neil walked in on that and a vicious fight followed. The other teen won, escaped by stealing Neil's car, but was caught and sent to prison.
     Neil has a secret only Jig Rajan knows about.New Paragraph
Buy the book?

    This segment from the short story "At Your Service" is in the latest book, TIM BROWNE: Birch Clump Village Reader 7. It is currently only in paper back, but will soon be offered as an e-book option as well. Direct links to my books are provided on this web site's buy books page.
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