The Italian Tourist

NOTE: I needed to tell the stories of PTSD and Medal of Valor before this one would make sense and you might better understand my actions.

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Sun Tzu – The Art of War

This happened so long ago that the Statue of Limitations has passed. Now I can tell of crossing paths with the Italian Tourist.

I had been living in Kodachrome State park for a season, the time had come to move on. I was moving to Otter Creek to be closer to the Pretender, the first women I chased and caught after the end of my marriage.  Later I may write of her – She was another intense experience and looked just like Lauren Becall.

It was during my time at Kodachrome that I slowly re-entered society, a better Michael. I was finding my happiness. I lived in an ancient motor home with my dogs. By day we built trails with pick and shovel. At night we visited with happy campers, travelers and people of different places. I grew stronger with all the physical work. I wrote in the mornings while drinking black coffee from a hand warming mug. I slept under stars so thick I couldn’t tell them from camp smoke. Red sands became bed – Black sky became covers – Night air became dreams.

Kodachrome is a magical place, a bowl basin awash in glorious desert colors. Shadows and rock are Witness to the passing Ages – I stood humbled by the Place – Grounded to the Earth – Right where I was supposed to be – Surrounded – Safe. Kodachrome and the people I met there were an important part of my Journey.

I loaded everything up, hooked the trailer to the motor home, and whistled up the dogs. The last thing I needed to do was ride into town to say my goodbyes to the locals and pick up a few road snacks. I mount my finely tuned German motorcycle and carved a way into town on a twisted purple road. I stood on my foot pegs and pumped my fist skyward in celebration of my Freedom. I felt unleashed, stronger.

I pulled up to the pumps and filled the tank on my motorcycle and decide to just leave it and run in the store for quick goodbyes and salty snacks. I dangle my helmet over the mirror, threw my jacket over the saddle, and walked into a crowded store.

I took up a position forth in the checkout line and found everything I needed right there. A commotion caught my attention, a ripple in the flow of the herd, something is wrong.

There he stood in all his glory – the Italian Tourist. The hairy legged, yellow plaid short wearing, five foot nothing – fat man that he was. He had hoisted a bag of Kingsford charcoal over his head while screaming, in broken English, at the cashier over the price. He was in a full rage, face red, veins throb, muscles tense, filled with anger – Ripe.

Mary, the sixteen year old cashier and daughter of the owner, cowered and burst out in tears. She leaned as far away from the threat as she could, her back against the calendar filled wall.

Shit was about to happen. Muscle memory and past training took over. Without thinking about it I advanced behind the Italian Tourist and caught his neck in the bend of my left arm. I pulled him off-balance and into my old favorite position. He was on his heels walking backwards more interested in his next breath than anything else. The charcoal drops to the ground. I throttled him more, making sure the fight was out of him, as we spill into the parking lot. His wife ran towards us from their rented motor home. I pushed him and he fell on his fat ass in a dusty pile.

“You better just Get!” I told him. I think he’d had enough of me and scurried away towards the wife and hopefully back to Italy, the land of cheap charcoal.

I really wasn’t too interested in having contact with the Police so I jump on my motorcycle and raced back to camp and was gone within the hour.

I never got to say my goodbyes.

© 2015, Michael Fulcher. All rights reserved.

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