Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” was pumping out of my 15-year-old speakers as I drove recklessly over the gravel roads that led to home. My house was four miles off the highway and I turned the volume up as loud as the speakers could take. I pulled in the driveway, put the car in park, and got out in one fluid motion.
I hadn’t been in this good of mood in a long time. Maybe it was knowing that I had a three-day weekend or the fact that Candice was finally out of my life for good; shit packed, carted off, new boyfriend and everything.
I opened up my door and like a bruising fullback my dog, who’s named Dog and is a Heinz 57 with a lot of Beagle and Labrador, plowed through the opening and took off in order to do his business.
I don’t live in town but I don’t really live in the country either. My neighbors are close but I only know a few.
As Dog was sniffing about the weeds and house corners of the neighborhood, I went back to my car, reached in and pulled the last beer of a six pack out of a brown paper sack. The sack was filled with two empty cans, which I drank on the way home from Steve’s, and the sack’s bottom was wet and thin. I cracked open the beer, threw my head back and swigged down a large portion. I set the can on top of my car, which at the time was a 1984 dark blue El Camino. I walked after Dog, whistling a little and clapping my hands.
After a few yards down the road, a sudden urgency to mark my territory as well swelled.
I looked around. It was dark, 10:30 pm or so, and without hesitation I unzipped the fly to my jeans and proceeded to saturate the soil. It was a nice fall night and the fresh air and slight breeze felt nice down there. I tilted my head back a little and really felt what I was doing.
“How’s it going?” a voice said from the house that I was standing in front of.
I snapped my head forward, tucked everything in felt warm beads on my thigh and buttoned my jeans but didn’t zip up.
The man who lives two houses down from me was walking down the steps the lead to his driveway. I wasn’t sure if he knew I was urinating a mere six feet from his Chevy truck or not so I just said, “Hey.”
He walked toward his truck and had a little cooler with him.
“Great night, isn’t it?” he said.
“Yeah,” I pointed toward the cooler. “You going out?”
“I wish,” he said. “Gotta work.”
“I was just going after the dog,” I said and thought about walking away.
He put his cooler in the back of the truck and with his long legs stepped up into cab and started the engine.
“He ain’t behind me is he?” he said, louder than the bubbling engine.
“Naw,” I called out.
He put the truck in reverse and backed out of his driveway, over my urine, and onto the road. I just stood still and watched his taillights twist around the bin. Dog came trotting up with a sneaker, somebody’s Nike, in her mouth.
I didn’t know his name, he or someone had told it to me one time but I’d forgot. He was nice guy, around my age I’d guess, which would mean he wasn’t 30. He lived alone in a big house that was weathered and in need of a paint job. He always waved when I passed him on the road and I really hope he didn’t see me pissing in his front yard.