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Every Ten Steps
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 After Dark
Felix had been sassing his drunken Yeti Sire by a hot fire, so when we headed through the house to walk home, he said, “I hope your Boomer memory chip doesn’t get us lost.”
“I found my way back home from here with no directions, while drunk on a rainy night. This is a snap.”
He pointed up from the sidewalk on the idyllic treed street and said, “How can I tell the difference between a plane and a star?”
That sound above, that is a jet plane travelling in a straight line and its already past us. If we were on Mount Hood it would look like a distant headlight high in the sky. From down here it would just look like a planet moving in a straight line. That is Venus up there. Planets move in an elipse through the night. You will mostly just see Venus and Mars and Mars has a red tint. That there is a helicopter, flying at maybe 500 to 1000 feet with a search light and a red light—probably cops. See that, over there, that is a full moon and will make it easy to spot enemies.”
“Who is an enemy?”
“Any male youth or adult who approaches us.”
“What, will you stab them or box them?”
“I only box with friends. I have a pipe in my back right pocket. I’ve knocked out men with rolled up magazines. I could knock a hole in a human head with this. You walk behind me. If we make contact, you keep right behind my left side. Every ten steps you look behind you and tap me on the left shoulder if anything approaches.”
“Why ten paces—is that some ancient boomer law from when you rode horses?”
“You have one block of visibility. A young adult male can run a block in the time you walk 10 steps. You are walking at 3 miles an hour and he can run at 18, making him six times as fast. If we were in Baltimore we’d be looking over our shoulder every six steps, because black dudes are faster over short distances because their upper leg is bigger, but their feet are fragile, so we wear boots to break their feet.”
We then walked on and stopped three times to take pictures of the moon and Venus and once he informed me that a big bearded man on a bike slowed and looked at him as he passed and I congratulated him on his observations and thanked him for watching my back. We then said hello to a fit man walking his dog on our block and I explained to him, “You never talk away from your home block. But when you are on your street you want to say high to the neighbors and let them know you are alert.”
Once we were inside, I got a beer and drank a large glass of water, first and said, “Look, your dad thinks I have superpowers because I don’t get hangovers from drinking too much beer. But it’s just because I drink water first. So, when you’re old enough to drink I’ll be gone—you know—Boomer shelf-life being what it is, so drink water before and after beer.
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