Death at the End of the Driveway
by Marina Rojas
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When they had gone house hunting, the old man was thrilled when they found the perfect place at the end of a long dirt road. The driveway entrance was hidden by the sharp turn in the interstate so he knew they wouldn’t have to deal with any people stopping by to ask for directions, or looking to being neighborly.
The point was, he hated people, and he hated having any interaction with other people. At one point in his life when asked if he was prejudiced he snorted loudly and replied, “Prejudice! No way! I hate everybody!”
So living in backwoods Ohio at the end of a long winding road was an answer to his prayer for peace and tranquility away from other human beings. His wife just shrugged and moved to the out of the way home simply saying, “Well, you know Leon, he should’ve been a hermit.”
The first year when the cold winter hit, the only person that had come out to check on them was the man selling logs for their wood burning stove. Leon was happy as a clam to get the extra fuel source but was elated when the man drove away. He had tried to make it clear that he was not interested in engaging in any small talk as he paid the bill and walked right back into the house.
Once spring came, Leon would venture out to the local Wal-Mart to get the oil changed in his car, and buy a few things for the old woman. He made sure he left early so he would be gone long before the other shoppers were crushing through the retailer’s doors. He did everything he could to avoid dealing with “those people.”
The whine of a small motorcycle broke the peace and tranquility one morning on the backwoods driveway. Leon looked down the dirt road to see a shock of fuzzy blond hair zip up and down the country lane on a lime green Kawasaki 50 over and over again.
The fact that the rider had trespassed on to the private driveway irritated him enough, but the incessant buzzing of the straining engine was as annoying as a mosquito in the stillness of the night.
He looked out the big pane glass window and realized that waves of dirt filled clouds were growing taller and taller as the motorcycle tires twisted and turned in tighter and tighter circles at the end of his driveway.
So Leon decided to go discuss this situation with the other human. He picked up his old hat and set it on the top of his balding head as he reached over for his favorite rifle. Walking out the front door, he turned to the side just slightly and said, “Old woman, if you hear a gunshot, call the po-leez.” She glanced over to meet his eyes and just nodded her head while grunting “Hm”.
He wasn’t no spring chicken so it took him a while to get close enough to see through the dust clouds. He figured the motorcycle rider to be about 14, or 15 at the most. That figures, he thought to himself, only a youngster would be dumb enough to ride without a helmet.
And only a youngster would be so callous as to ride on private property and cause so much aggravation. He didn’t appreciate having to walk all the way out to the end of the driveway to tell someone to get off his property. Oh well, Leon thought, maybe the mailman has already gone by and he could pick up the mail once he gets rid of the kid.
As he got closer to the young man they locked eyes and he could see the boy was surprised at the old man coming at him with a rifle in his hand. The boy stopped revving the engine of the motorcycle and stood still, facing the old man and his wrath.
“Boy, you making too much noise and kicking up too much dirt on my property, so you get off it now. Understand?”
The boy looked him straight in the eye and just stood there, sucking his teeth. The old man felt the boy’s stare and wondered if he was taking measure of what he was up against.
After a long silence, the boy nodded at the old man and turned the bike around, heading out to the main street. The old man checked his mail and began his long journey back towards the house.
The whine of the motorcycle engine stayed steady as the young man pushed the machine to its limit. Wahhhhhhh, wahhhhhhh, over and over again, up and down the empty state highway.
The old man was glad, realizing the closer he got to home, the less and less he heard the buzzing of the annoying engine. Almost at the final step of his journey he turned around to look to see where the boy had gotten to.
He saw the youngster leaning low, throttle fully opened as the little green Kawasaki headed full speed towards the old man’s driveway. As the old man surveyed the scene his eye caught a big old Cadillac coming up from the left of the interstate and he realized the youngster was not paying attention to the encroaching vehicle.
It was a matter of seconds before the impact silenced the whine of the motorcycle. Leon watched the blond haired rider fly through the air and land at the bottom of his dirt driveway.
The Cadillac driver pulled over and ran to the still body.
Leon turned away from the scene and walked in the house. Hanging up his hat and then placing the rifle on the gun rack over the fireplace, he sat down in his favorite chair and turned on the TV as he sorted through the mail still in his hand.
He was looking forward to the pork chops the old woman would be making for supper.
Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
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