The Lonely Man Excerpt

The Dog Walker

A novel by

Michel David Lowe


If you’re a carpenter with a hammer, you start looking for nails that need to be whacked.  If you’re a man with a gun, pretty soon you start looking for things that need to be shot.

Drew Anderson sat on the edge of his bed and hefted the heavy gun balanced on his palm.  He pressed it long ways against the side of his head and face like an icepack.  The cool steel drew the fever from his heated face but the fire smoldered on.  He sat on the edge of the bed holding the gun against his cheek listening to the cold steel’s soft whisper.

Sometimes things, inanimate objects, take on a life of their own, and mostly not for the better.  The car knows just when it’s critical that you be at an appointment so that’s the morning when its left front tire is flat as a pancake.  A light bulb can tell when you really need to see what’s at the bottom of the stairs, in the dark, and that’s when it pops.  The spinach can always knows when Popeye’s been duped by Bluto into tossing it away.  The can calls out to him saying, “You’ll be sorry!”

A whisky bottle has a deep and abiding understanding that you never intended to have just one sip.  The second drink glides down your throat as warm and soothing as the first.  The third starts to bring on the happy buzz and the day, the week, the year starts receding.  The bottle insists you drink it dry and how could you not?

Bottle just knows.

And guns know things, too.

Sitting at his kitchen table with a cut glass tumbler, twirling the ice and whisky an hour ago he first heard the whisper of his gun from its upstairs desk drawer.

Drew Wilson’s Sig Saur knew something, something important and urgent that Drew needed to attend to right now.  And even though he had drunk the rest of that Scotch bottle, or maybe because he had finished it off, he could hear an insistent whisper coming from the filing cabinet in his office, the whisper that told him in matter-of-fact fashion what he already knew perfectly well.

That .40 caliber Sig in the drawer whispered to Drew from his office, through the upstairs hall, down the steps, around the corner, to the kitchen where he sat in a ladder back chair sipping the last of the whisky, sucking on an ice cube and staring out the window into the dark back yard.

And really, why not?  Why not heed the truth the gun spoke to him on this drizzly Tuesday-turned-Wednesday, this dark night of the soul?  If, as all the evidence suggested, life was pointless, some cruel joke of a masturbating god laughing at his shitty and worthless joke of a creation, and there sure were a lot of nails that needed whacking, why not start the whacking right here, right now?

Four point four pounds of trigger pull – that’s all it takes.  Ten pounds for double action, but who would trust double action?  What if that extra five point six pounds of pressure jerked the barrel enough to leave him lobotomized?  He could never take that chance.  It would be all or nothing and all meant cock it and single action four point four pounds into that good night.

That’s the siren song the gun sang to him, whispering its cold and oiled truth from the file cabinet drawer.

Think about it.  But don’t think too long.

Look at all those nails sticking up.  Get your hammer, soldier, and start whacking!

One Hornady 165 grain Critical Defense, FTX enriched ticket to oblivion, now leaving on Track Forty at eleven-hundred feet per second.

Four point four pounds.

Drew stood from the table carrying the tumbler with its melting ice as he called Lucy, turned the knob to open the back door, let her out for a last pee.  It didn’t budge of course because there was a four-by-eight sheet of three-quarter inch plywood screwed over the outside of the back door.

“Come on girl, this way,” he told the Irish setter as he snapped off the kitchen light and led her to the front door.  The dog bounded out the door, full-tilt boogie her only speed setting.

He pushed the door closed without locking it and switched off the porch light and the hallway switch.  Don’t want to leave the lights burning, run up the electric bill for God knows how many days he might lay there on the floor, electric meter spinning like a dervish.

Up the stairs, down the hall to the office.  He switched on the light and stared at the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet.  Four point four pounds.

He opened the drawer and removed the Sig.  He carried the steel ice pack to his bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed, and applied the cool gun frame against his temple and the side of his face.  He closed his eyes and felt the heat from the whisky flush seep away.  Cool and soothing.  He hefted the gun, balancing it in the palm of his hand.

Outside on the porch Lucy scratched at the front door, then gave a mournful moaning howl.  But Drew did not hear.

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