It was an evening in January and our town had shut down because of blizzards for the first time in twenty years. I trundled my way to the shop for provisions and on my way back I noticed a doddery figure on the opposite side of the street with a wad of new snow in his hand. We were the only beings out there and the scrunching of our footfalls was muffled by the soft night, yet there was a rhythm between us, even, at a distance.
As I neared him I feared him less for I determined he was of an age that was no threat. Or shouldn't be.
He moved into the road and slurred some words in my direction, "You've stepped over the over the line there, Son!" and as he did so he raised his fistful.
Now I knew it was too big a ball for him to throw with any kind of accuracy. And he didn’t know that I was packing ice. I was confident, cocked and ready to go. In my right hand was the last of the practice ammunition I had been peppering lampposts with in some bout of furry nostalgia.
I took a position next to a tree trunk, "Shoot!" I offered, showing him what I had prepared. He looked and considered and laughed at the position he had put himself in. “Ha ha! Touché!” he slobbered, “You may pass”.
The thrill of the thing must have turned his head though because, as I slipped in an attempt to sidle into the night, he hollered, aimed and shot his load … straight into the tree. The old fella just stood then and giggled quietly, his glasses slipping down his nose and watery thoughts dribbling away.
He remained and was ready to take whatever I had, with a drunken sense of irreverence that reminded me of my old man. He waited for my thrust and I let fly hoping to smash his few remaining teeth in. I missed him too as it turned out.
You should always aim for the heart.