Friday, August 18, 2017

Late-Night Duty

    I couldn’t remember whether
    This was a quest or we were
    Running for our lives – dreamed
    I was down to one dog and had
    A full tank of gas.  We seemed
    To be well into the desert on
    A desolate road.  Jessica sat

    Beside me, staring forward,
    Intensely interested.  I had. 
    My old Colt Trooper next to
    The console and my Mossberg
    Persuader behind Jessica’s
    Seat.  They had come after us,
    I recalled, half a dozen of them.

    We had fought, of course, which
    They didn’t expect, then bombs
    Had fallen everywhere.  You
    Wouldn’t think they had so
    Many.  I desperately needed
    Sleep, but Jessica urged me to
    Keep going.  There was no

    Shade anywhere and no
    Coolness or surcease of pain.
    I woke long enough to turn
    Onto my other side.  Ben and
    Duffy were there for that.  I
    Couldn’t risk them though for
    This.  Only Jessica understood

    The sensitive nature of our search
    And the need to stay alert.  She 
    Looked out growling. I flexed my
    Shoulder.  One of them must have
    Clubbed me when I went down, 
    But I forgot about that when I
    Grabbed my S&W Model 19 and

    Shot him, center mass.  The noise
    I feared would wake Duffy and Ben;
    So I shot swiftly, reloaded and 
    Shot again.  Once the neighborhood   
    Was gone though, there was no
    Point in defending an empty
    House.  We could see lights Up

    Ahead from a small town.  We
    Paused, engine running, looking down
    The road. Lights flickered as though
    Something was moving in front.
    The sky was brilliant with stars once
    I shut my headlights off.  Jessica stared
    Into the night and then looked at me.
    Was there nothing to see?  Did she
    Want to get a closer look?  She wouldn’t
    Say.  I’d had a good run and might hide
    Away my last few days but not with
    Jessica and hers.  I started the engine,
    Turned on the lights and drove toward
    The town. Three men stepped out

    With rifles pointing toward us.  I
    Paused the Jeep.   “I’m friendly
    If you are,” I shouted.   “Well then
    Come ahead and we’ll Just see.” 
    I looked over at Jessica. 
    She bared her teeth and growled.
    I put the Jeep in reverse and
    Checked the time.  This was
    When Jessica usually pawed
    Me awake.  I got out of my
    Lounge chair and stretched
    Out on the floor.  Sometimes
    She would lay down next to me. 
    Sometimes she would get up into
    The chair.  I sometimes didn’t
    Sleep at all keeping them safe.
    With just the Jessica left I
    Rolled down my window and
    Stuck my head out into the
    Cool night air and the
    Night – one more time.

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