Hunter at Heart

hunter at heart - curve in road-Way Past Tipsy and Other Silent Cries for Help - Ran Kime

The traffic was awful. Holiday weekends are a nightmare, especially for a five-lane road that files down to two and takes in an on ramp just after the merge.

Car after car, muscling their way into line. A girl followed me in a worn-out Honda with a dented hood and peeling paint. A cute little thing with her hair tucked back behind each ear, high cheekbones, a silky complexion with both hands on the wheel.

She mouthed lyrics and bobbed her head to what looked to be a song. She appeared broke, but happy and in good spirits. I thought about break-checking her so she would rear-end me to get her number. I wasn’t desperate, not yet.  

By the time you are out of there, you hate them, hate the deal, hate the car, hate life. They did it to you. You just ‘yupped’ your way into an extra seventy-five dollars a month on the payment and don’t even give a fuck. You just want out.

She gently two tapped her horn; I snapped out of the daydream of us exchanging numbers, still staring at her through my rear-view, studying her perfect mouth dancing to the song.

She tapped her horn again and let off the brake. The cars in front of me had moved quite a distance and everyone in the right lane was frantically merging left into the void I had provided. I waved my hand to her as an apology and I crept forward. See smiled gently and waved her hand at me as if to say, “Oh that’s all right, I didn’t want to tap the horn, but you were day dreaming silly.” Little did she know that in my daydream, I was taking her from behind and backing up her beauty to the ole spank bank.   

(Side Creep Note Ladies: Sunglasses are a mans best friend. Men go invisible and admire all the women he wants in incognito mode. When those shades go on, his eyes dart from ass to ass, tits to tits, beautiful face to not so beautiful face and back to the ass, until the recording storage is full.)

It was hot; the humidity was worse. I had the air conditioner on with all windows up, listening to some political banter on the radio. It was political season, and the rhetoric was in full swing and getting nasty, especially with New Hampshire being the first in the nation’s primary.

I snapped the radio off and glanced in the mirror again. Her beauty remained. If only I could get a glimpse of that body.

The sun started its descent to the west. My visor stopped the glare. I still had fifteen miles to go, and we were at a standstill again. At least I had my girl. I took another quick glance. She was gone. My minute muse had left my tail and some tool-bag in a Mercedes cut in between us. Now the traffic was unbearable.

The car in front of me had a Wally’s Auto advertisement around the license plate and a sticker on the bottom left of the bumper that said, “This car proudly purchased at Wally’s Auto.”  When this guy bought the car at Wally’s Auto, Wally must have really made one hell of an impression. Christ, for this guy to register his car, take the plastic license plate advertisement border off, put on his new plates and then put Wally’s plastic advertising plate back on. Wally must be a great fucking salesman. I want to meet Wally!  

The first thing I do when I get a car is rip that sticker off the back and yard that license plate advertisement off and throw it in the dealer’s lot. The last car I bought from a dealer, they put all the advertisement fixings back on my car when I picked it up from being serviced. I took out my Gerber, unscrewed the plate advertisement, peeled off the “Proudly bought at” sticker, stuck it to the plastic plate ring and threw it back through the service garage towards the main entrance of the sales department.

A sales representative aggressively confronted me. It wasn’t the sales guy I dealt with. He knew better than that because he had to deal with me for a seven-hour standoff with negotiations.

This sales guy, now charging at me, was in a cheap suit with plastic hair. He got right in my face. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He yells.

I replied in a very calm mellow tone, “If you want me to advertise for you, then you can pay me to do so”.

“It is standard on all cars that come off the lot!”

“It is not standard on my car.”

“Go pick it up!” He demanded.

I sneered under my breath, which pissed him off more. His nostrils were flaring, he was as red as a fire truck and his breath stunk of coffee and stale cigarettes.

“Go fuck yourself, you pick it up” I said. He seemed to grow taller as he pushed up on his toes. He had a good six inches on me. 

A crowd gathered at the window, anticipating an MMA match. He said nothing more, but continued to huff and puff like a child not getting his way. What did he care anyhow?.

“We done here?” I asked. I got into my car and drove off. 

I hate car dealerships. You sit there for hours and they take their precious little time trying to physically and mentally wear you down so they can slam it in your ass unlubed when it comes time for the closing.

A few extras here, a few there, an extended warranty that rides parallel to the manufacturers warranty, a cleaning package for a car with still the new scent, a warranty for a warranty, a nuclear explosion clause, four free oil changes for the price of five, with interest.

By the time these pricks have waited you out, it is seven hours later and you are still in the waiting area watching your salesman run in and out of the break room, hit on the receptionist, in and out of the managers’ office talking about the game last night. Just waiting you out. “It will just be a moment, sir.” Hours go by.

Right when you are so fucking tired and ready to walk out or rage, it comes……  

“OK, we’re ready to do the paperwork.”

You settle into the financial office with a guy that looks ready to pounce. He hates life, his wife and now you. He’s licking his lips with an unconscious tick and hates his job more than you hate being there.

This is when they get you, when you are so banged up, tired, your ass cheeks are going numb and all you want to do is leave. Fuck the purchase. 

Then he starts in. Foam in his mouth, sitting on the edge of his seat. Commission check number five today is on its way. He can taste it and you can see it. His palms get sweaty as he sits on the edge of his seat. A small meatball sub bubble burp explodes quietly in his mouth.

Do you want…..”     “Yup”,  

“How about…”         “Yup”, 

“What about…”       “Yup”, 

“And finally….”       “Yup, yup and yup”. 

By the time you are out of there, you hate them, hate the deal, hate the car, hate life. They did it to you. You just ‘yupped’ your way into an extra seventy-five dollars a month on the payment and don’t even give a fuck. You just want out.

As you finally break free and make a run for your new car, you notice they have tagged it with all of their paraphernalia. 

I snap back to the road. Now past the merge hell, I was moving along at a good clip, approaching the state woman’s prison.

I spotted an old couple getting out of their car in the visitors’ parking lot. There never seemed to be any cars in that parking lot, so it drew my attention.

They had to have been in their late sixties, early seventies. The elderly man exited the driver’s seat and walked to the back to meet his wife. His wife had a strange limp that I took for a fake hip installed before technology could really help.

A little girl emerged from the back seat with a large poster board. The little girl held the poster up with excitement while running to catch up to her grandparents. She had pride in her stride carrying her most recent school art project she made just for mom.

Grammy reached out to carry the poster for the girl, but she wanted to hang on to it. She had worked hard on a perfect drawing for her mom whom they were to visit; she glowed with excitement, anticipating mommy seeing her new art skills.

My heart sunk for that little girl. She was a lively little girl, no older than seven, with pigtails. Grammy and grandpa looked banged up, but with their daughter in prison and having to raise their granddaughter, I could see why. To this little girl, this trip was normal; she didn’t know any different. This was her life. Wasn’t everybody’s mom in prison? 

Was it moms drug problem, stealing to support her drug habit, or ten thousand other reasons she was in prison? The little girl speaks to her mommy through glass. She most likely gets dropped off by her grandparents each morning for school and the other kids ask, “where is your mom and dad, how come your grandma always brings ya?”. She always replied the same. With a matter-of-fact mannerism, that her mom is in jail and her dad lives with another mommy with his other kids. Far, far away?

Would this little girl grow up to emulate her mother? I hoped she will see past the yuck-mouth way of life and become something positive. If she kept that uplifting bouncy spirit that I saw when driving by, she will be just fine.

I envisioned her in many years as an inspirational guest speaker at schools, rehab centers, and foster homes. Assuring kids that because they come from lackluster genes, it does not mean they have to be like that when they get older.

Most of them will probably follow their lineage. Does it mean they have no control over it? Is it something that is instilled in them at birth? Part of their own fibers? Some are born with talents that their parents or grandparents never had but also inherit the yuck-mouth gene and become the scum of our society that our tax dollars pay to keep afloat. Why not? The more the merrier once in the system.

I blew a red light and pulled into Rusty’s place. There was a small bar inside the restaurant that I’d occasionally stop at for a drink while heading home. Rusty’s teetered that fine line between biker bar and family restaurant. Rusty, the owner, was always yelling at the waitresses and bartenders. He would log into the cash registers, print out a paper, look at it, and start pointing and yelling about discrepancies.

I don’t think he knew ever that he was in front of his customers when he did this, or he didn’t care.

He was a tall thin build guy with shoulder length sandy dark hair tucked under a baseball cap that said “100%” on the front. Whatever that meant. He had a beard that was pushing gray, with a southern draw to his voice. His chain wallet clanked when he walked, giving warning to others when he was approaching. The staff would take their places like an air-raid siren was going off when they heard it. 

I walked into Rusty’s and took a seat at the bar, as far away from everyone as possible. The vibe was quiet. I sat in the corner. The place smelled of old pine boards, cocaine, and stale booze spills growing fungi on the carpet.

A young couple came in just after me and sat in the same corner as me, sitting on the 90 degree from me. The guy was closest, almost touching me, and the girl was next to him. They looked to be in their early twenties. Their silence while waiting for the bartender was uncomfortable. I pegged them both to be in college.  

I was a lonely soul drinking a Dewars and soda, dazed at the Sox game, 9th inning. The guy broke the ice to her, and I listened in. what else was there to do while I drained my sobriety?

Apparently, they had just meet a few nights before and the guy asked her out to lunch. This was the lunch it seemed. She asked him all kinds of questions, which he answered in quick bursts with not much effort. She continued to ask questions about his school and what he wanted to do. Either he was super shy, or he was just a tool bag. I vote for the latter.  

Poor girl, new to the town and wants to find a delicate boy to share a few nights a week with and she was getting nowhere. I so badly wanted to jump in and hijack the conversation, win the girl, and ride away together. Instead, I drained the rest of my drink and ordered another.  

I made a quick glance at her when she looked to her right.

Delicate profile, soft skin, reddish blonde hair, not gorgeous but cute. She turned and faced me. Her eyes were wide apart, and her hairline revealed a high forehead. She looked better from the side. I looked away quick enough, but she caught me looking.

The guy started in on another boring story, talking about his grandparents’ house in Florida and how he goes down every other month in his Porsche with his dog named Jib-jab, Blah, blah, blah.  

She sat and listened and replied, “oh no way, that’s awesome!” “Good for you!” “na-uh, very cool, great!She sought an escape and I sensed it.

Her body turned and was now facing me. I made eye contact with her again and I did the ole eye-roll. She put her head down and smiled. He didn’t catch it. I wouldn’t have cared. I was in my element. He continued to talk about himself and how he has so much material things that he hasn’t had to earn because mommy and daddy are fucking loaded and he is an only child and if he stomps his feet in need, he will get what he wants. He didn’t say it like that, but you get the jist. 

I drained my drink, sucked on an ice cube, pondering if I should move in for the kill.

Not just for the game of it, but to work the magic I was born with. Like a master bow hunter smelling the air, tracking the movement in the dirt, setting up a stand, waiting, then going in for the kill. The hunter eventually eats the deer, but it is the hunt he is after. 

Fuck it, I said.  

I laid my balance in cash on the bar with the tip, got up, and left.

I wasn’t up for hunting tonight… 

Way Past Tipsy - ran kime

Read “Hunter at Heart” and other stories by Ran Kime in the collection Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help

author avatar
Ran Kime Writer
Ran Kime, a writer, poet, musician and recluse from New Hampshire, crafts abstract stories, flash fiction & poetry that probe the psyche. His collections include “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the observer” and “Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help”.