by underswansea


Bishop was three sheets. He rolled the window down. Found a Colt in his inside jacket pocket. It was given to him by Mathieu, after his daughter had a baby last fall. Mathieu was a good friend. The cigar was bent.  Mathieu lived down the holler. Grew the best pot and bottled wine. Had a hell of a broken smile. Pulled the drapes for a month at a time. Refused to be seen. A decent guy, but shit followed him. A few times a year they would walk to the bars. Staying past closing. Chatting the young ladies, daring the young guys to take them on. But they never did. Hard to say why. Pity maybe, but more likely, the youngsters knew, you have to be tough to be old. And Mathieu had weed.

The smoke was good through the wine tip. The channels switched on boosters. The radio was on scan and picked up talk. It was dark. Had been for a while. He hit scan again and found music. The truck was in the middle of the road. Either side of the packed ruts was three feet of snow. If he put a wheel off track, he would be stuck, walking out. He could back out if he was sober enough. Otherwise he’d keep going up the mountain. Chasing the moon. Looking for a clearing. Turning in snowmobile tracks.

The good neighbour had been gone for a month. He said he was going to winter in Mexico. Bishop received a postcard from him. The postcard had an ugly two-toned monkey on it. An angry little bastard. The poor thing probably didn’t like tourists, and who could blame it, having had to put up with them for the past five hundred years. Bishop only had to deal with them for fifty-five, and he was good and sick of tourists. He sympathized with the ugly monkey. The postcard was postmarked Costa Rica. Bishop wondered if the neighbour was off course, or didn’t know the difference.

Bishop spun the top, cranked the wheel, revved the engine and headed higher. He hit the landing with speed, turning the truck, feeling it bog down. He kept it moving. Once the wheels were pointing downhill he was home free. He slowed it back down. Turned off the lights. The moon was close up. Three beer in a plastic ring with a pint under the seat. Bishop had another pull and hit scan.