The Wal-Mart looked like every other Wal-Mart he had ever gone to except this one had cool looking desert mountains off in the distance behind it and even better there was a Del Taco right before it on this middle of nowhere road. He had stopped at said Del Taco and picked up two fish tacos and order of fries and put the fries in the tacos and then squirted first lime all over the concoction and then Del Scorcho sauce on top of that and shoved them in his face before walking into the Wal-Mart. On the way back to the sporting goods and hunting area he spotted tan desert style camouflage clothes hanging in the men’s area and grabbed himself a t-shirt, a pair of tan camo shorts, tan socks and a monochromatic tan Coors hat. He then made his way to the shoe department where he kicked off his Vans slip-ons, put on the tan socks and a pair of tan steel toed work boots. He then proceeded to the sporting goods area where he grabbed items from the Bear Grylls section including a machete, a pocket knife, a card tool which was basically something that fits in a credit card spot in your wallet and turns into a knife, a survival pack that had band aids, surgical tape and waterproof matches. He wasn’t quite sure why he bought them but it made sense at the time and of course the much needed pair of binoculars. At the checkout counter the cashier pointed out a new and exciting factor that Jay had not even considered.
“It looks like someone’s going out looking for rattlers.” She said in an almost too damn perky voice.
“You know what? I hadn’t even thought of that. I was just about to try out my new truck in the desert and I’ve already got plenty of duct tape and water so I figured some new threads and some extra sharp pointy things would be fun.” He didn’t mean it as a smart ass comment but more as a matter of fact but it came out as one. The cashier didn’t seem to mind and just smiled and responded.
“Well, if you accidentally bring me back a belt, I won’t mind.” And then she winked at him which caught Jay totally off balance since he was unwashed, sleep deprived and probably smelled like a combination of armpit funk and vodka but taking a second harder look at her he figured that was definitely her type.
Jay drove the Bronco to a slightly hidden corner of the parking lot and took off his stinky jeans and put on the shorts, t-shirt and hat. Then made sure that his boots were tied on good and then he unwrapped the pocket knife and made sure that he could attach the machete to his belt as well and the case with the Glock onto the back of his pants on the inside so it wasn’t obvious. When driving back through the parking lot, Jay spotted one more stop before heading to his final destination. His nerves were shot and he could tell his blood pressure was up and there was only one way to clear his mind and put him and a focused but dangerous direction.
Jay tried not to drink dark liquor anymore because as much as it seemed to give him razor sharp focus it also had what his father had referred to as “a dangerous blind spot”. In the last years of Jay’s father’s life he had become a full on black out drunk and spent most of his days in either his little subsidized apartment or Murph’s lounge around the corner from it. His drink of choice had always been Maker’s Mark but being that he wasn’t a well to do man in his last years he lived on Evan Williams and the always well-mannered quiet man had experienced the dangerous blind spot twice in those final years. Once at a convenience store when a very large linebacker sized man had stepped in front of Charles Branch when he was waiting to buy cigarettes and soda for his mixer. He had without warning punched the man in the face, then appeared to ride his humongous form all the way to the tile floor where he proceeded to pummel the man unconscious. The last time Charles Branch experienced the blind spot would land him in jail for a year and in Jay’s mind put the final nail in his father’s coffin. His father was pulled over for DUI on the short half mile ride between the local bar and his apartment. The cop had been sitting at the one stop sign between the two and had been handing off the drunks to another squad car and their cars to his buddy that ran a towing company. He planned on adding Charles Branch to his quota for the night; but Jay’s father dropped the cop like a sack of potatoes and then shoved him in the trunk of his rusty old Dodge and drove straight to his apartment and parked the car in the space right in front of his apartment. He then finished a bottle of Evan Williams while he waited on the police and then passed out in on the hood of his car.
During his stint on the Bar scene in Atlanta, Jay himself had experienced similar blind spots including one interesting night that he decided to wear a white polo oxford and tie for the show and woke up in the back of the fifteen passenger van the band used for a tour bus. His white shirt was now covered in someone else’s blood and his left hand scrapped up and sore like he had been punching something with it, which was odd because he was right handed.
Before walking into the liquor store he had the good sense to remove his machete from his hip but he left the Glock tucked into the back of his shorts to see if it was noticeable. He spotted the wax covered bottle of Maker’s right when he walked through the door on the shelf behind the clerk. The old man, who in some bizarre way, reminded him of his father in that it looked like he would never backed away from a cheeseburger in his life. Jay purchased the Maker’s and a six pack of cold Diet Coke and headed back to the Bronco to fix a drink and chain smoke his way all the way to the exit off of interstate 40 that would take him to what he could now tell was a dirt road to his destination.