Discover more from Jimmy Doom's Roulette Weal
A Day in the Park
Anger and Joy
There was one sign left, a dented sandwich board style metal thing that read: Caution: Park Maintenance in Progress.
What happened to the other two signs, McLettie wasn’t sure, but it he figured it was pretty obvious park maintenance was in progress, because the poorly maintained engine on his Ariens with the 18 foot blade attachment sounded like a World War I plane swooping over London or whatever city they fought World War I in. Paris? Berlin? McLettie wasn’t sure, but the thing was loud and the blades looked like evil Star Wars droids.
The Chipping Guy was here, because he was always here, hitting ratty old range balls with a sand wedge, huge Panama hat resting on eyebrows that looked like black squirrels.
He would scream “Hey!” when McLettie would chew up one of his longer balls, spitting it out the side like loose white petals of a balata flower.
The union passed out noise canceling headphones to the whole city public works team at the last contract ratification party, and inside those McLettie slipped his earbuds, blasting Motorhead’s Orgasmatron.
Eric Turten woke up today and decided today was the day he was gonna kill some foreigners.
There were too many of ‘em in Stoller Heights, and the old StarLodge Motel where he used to fuck Lindsey Meachem was a refugee welcome center now.
He couldn’t read half the signs on Cooley Road in that gibberish desert language and even though he still had a job, Blake Nidren just lost his data entry gig and half the guys at Blake’s office wore turbans.
Seeing all the pussies at CostCo still wearing masks gave him the idea that he could wear a mask, conceal his identity, take his Taurus 9 and eradicate eleven immigrant drains on his country at the refugee center as well as that pale little rat of a hippie chick who ran the place and drove all the face-covered women to the grocery store on the short bus that cocksmoker at Burlan Automotive Sales donated. Maybe he should save one bullet for Burlan, save the world those horrible commercials with the singing dog.
Maybe he should fire a couple through the window of the hookah lounge too, except he only had one magazine, payday was three days away, and sometimes good looking white girls walked in there.
Eric had two SoCo’s at Morzi’s, Linda asked him why he had the day off, he mumbled “personal day,” and she let it go, thankfully, and Eric decided it was time.
He didn’t want anyone to see him wearing one of those fake ass Covid masks, so he cut over Winsome Place toward the old StarLodge.
McLettie had half the park done when the kids from Culliber swarmed the place, two teachers in sundresses guiding them on either side.
He didn’t blame the kids – what kid doesn’t wanna play in a park on a spring day, and even if they saw the sign, English wasn’t the first language for most of ‘em anyway.
But the teachers… shit, you gotta know better. You can see the damn mower, ladies. 20 more minutes and I’ll be outta here, cutting City Hall on the Cub Cadet.
McLettie pulled his earbud out. No way did he want to be distracted and hit a little kid.
He could stop, but the people who signed the checks expected City Hall to be done by 2pm Tuesday.
Some of the kids started following the mower.
Little, wide-eyed brown kids. Some of ‘em probably never seen a mower like this.
Katrina Orlo ran the refugee center they came through, always asked McLettie if he wanted to get high on the patio at Backgammon’s, but he had his heavy operator license so they still random pissed him.
McLettie looked behind him. There were rearviews on the tractor but they vibrated so bad it was like watching a movie on fast forward.
He got to the dirt of the baseball diamond and swung around.
Eric Turten looked at all the foreign kids in the park. Won’t be no American kids left in another generation.
He’d have to go down south or up north or…hell, Utah, Mormons are all white, right?
Ameena Saeed threw her friend in the air. Her friend had a pudgy face and a long dress that was red, white and blue.
She hadn’t thought of a name for her friend yet. In English it was doll, but that sounded like a different word in her language. The dress billowed out when she threw it in the air, and her friend looked like she floated. Her friend had a mazala, like the war men who jumped from planes back home.
Someone had given her markers and crayons. She was going to draw on her friend.Maybe make the white part of the dress black to be more like her flag, like the one her father had on the car he drove. After she was done drawing she would think of a good name for her friend.
Ameena picked her friend up and threw it high in the air again.
Eric Turten was going to pop a cough drop in his mouth, but he had the stupid mask on.
His nerves were rattling.
Thought he saw a cop.
It was an old style cab.
Maybe he’d go back to Morzi’s, one more SoCo. Maybe he’d sell that old Stones Steel Wheels poster that Charlie Watts signed and get some more lead.
He adjusted the stupid mask, looked into the park.
An American flag lay there.
Ingrateful little falafel buzzards pulled an American flag from somewhere and discarded it.
The guy on the riding lawnmower was gonna run it over.
Eric Turten pulled his mask off and screamed HEYYYYY!
McLettie was looking at a chubby little kid on his left, inching toward the blades of the mower, throwing clumps of already cut grass that shot out the sides of the blades.
McLettie made the shooing motion with his left hand. The kid giggled, like it was a game.
The emergency disengage on the blade attachment would lock it up, but the momentum of the blades always took them three revolutions before it worked.
Eddie Kizer found that out the hard way, but they reattached his thumb.
McLettie said screw it, I’m stopping.
With the noise cancelers around his neck he heard a shout. The Chipping Guy was at the other side of the park.
He slammed the disengage.
If a kid got caught in a blade…
There was some tattered material on his right. He hadn’t seen anything.
A little girl was staring.
Her lip quivered.
Then her mouth opened and she screamed.
She was at least 12 feet from the blades, which had stopped.
McLettie started to hop off the mower, and fell.
Ameena Saeed had seen people die before, had seen her cousin carried through the streets of their town, blood still on his coat, a hero.
Her mother promised her nothing like that would happen in America.
She would go to school without explosions, she would meet cousins she never met and they wouldn’t ever be carried, dead, through the streets.
Shanika Porter heard the gunshots and started knocking kids down behind the small playscape with her inner forearm, like she was angrily scraping crumbs from a table.
“Down, down, down,” she yelled.
Some kids dove down voluntarily, others froze, shocked, confused.
Some kids might not know what down meant.
Mary Alice Lerteling dove on top of the three nearest first graders and managed to trip a fourth to the ground as she fell.
She twisted and looked toward where she thought the shots were fired.
The worker who had been on the mower was on his hands and knees.
Mary Alice’s 1st speed dial was 911, because she was a teacher. She pressed the button.When the dispatcher answered, she said “Logan Park, Logan Park, Logan Park, Gunshots.”
She thought she heard three, maybe four.
Syed and Samir were underneath her, she wasn’t sure who the third was, she just knew they were unhurt.
Kids were screaming, but she didn’t hear new gunshots.
The next loud sound she heard was a police siren.
At first, Billy McLettie thought the little girl was screaming because he had destroyed her doll.
Then he realized he couldn’t breathe.
Then he saw the blood turning the grass black and realized she was screaming at him.
He wanted to say he was sorry. He wanted to ask her to help. He wanted to know what the fuck was going on, but he would never get the chance.
Eric shoved the Taurus in his pants and trotted out of the park. He had 9 bullets left for the refugee center.
Eric Turten woke up to teach the world a lesson.
America was for Americans.
In Logan Park, he saw a guy run over an American flag, with no regard for what it stood for.
Eric Turten, as angry as he was at the world, would not shoot a child.
But he wanted them all to learn respect for the flag.
In his rage, he fired three of the bullets meant for the refugee center into the back of Billy McLettie, Municipal Government Employees Local 353, born in St.Joseph Hospital, Stoller Heights, Michigan.
Every cop in Stoller Heights was scrambled to Logan Park. Kids present and shots fired.
Almost every Tanniman County Sheriff showed up, four state cruisers and sixteen ambulances.
Don Lauser was doing a Say No to Drugs speech at Oak Bridge High School when they called him into active reserve.
They knew the suspect was a white male, and the lone victim was William Arthur McLettie, nine millimeter wounds.
A white male, a dumb one, Don thought, was walking up Zincman, with a pistol shoved in his pants.
Don had no idea who the guy was, or where he was going, but every damn open carry guy he knew in Stoller had a holster.
It was a Taurus nine in the guy’s pants. Don owned one too.
He’d know in 3 seconds if it had been recently fired.
Don played football at Oak Bridge with Billy McLettie. If this nine was fired into Billy McLettie, this clown breathing heavy through a Covid face mask was gonna regret waking up this morning.
Jody Colson waved at the desk girls without a word and walked through the revolving doors of St. Joes.
At 12:04pm they thought they might be getting ambulances full of kids with gunshots. They got zero.
Her brother would be sad about Billy McLettie.No one she knew knew the other guy who came in DOA. They said Don Lauser shot him. She hoped Don was okay with it. She pulled her keys from her hoodie and walked out into the parking lot, grateful that she didn’t have to code any kids.
Story Number 1000 in 1006 days. Thanks for being here. A paid subscription gets you access to all of ‘em. Pretty good deal. I’m gonna keep writing as often as I can as long as I can.