A Duel Behind Linwood Square

In the early morning they stood back to back, pistols drawn. The dew was seriously compromising the mesh of Dale’s sneakers. The sun rose and behind the grocery store, the two men slowly began their forty paces. The duel master looked solemnly at the clock on his smart phone. He couldn’t very well turn the job down, there was very little call for his profession.

Dale regretted agreeing to this. The more he thought back, the more he realized that it was probably Steve that stole the last beer and not Louis, the man he was currently trying to kill. Sadly, Louis was insulted and Louis believed in the old traditions. Dale was quickly seeing this as a lose, lose scenario. If he won he’d go to prison; if he lost he’d be at the very least be shot and at worst dead or castrated.

Oddly enough, the duel master was the least sure of the tradition. He had even gone so far as to publish a tell all book on the subject. One can not live on the residuals of such a niche publication, however, he was able to purchase a really kick ass smart phone.( Yes, the duel master would use the term kick ass.) He smiled as he thought about all the tetris he was going to play in the coming months.

As the two reached their forty paces, they just touched the borders of the clearing. Both stood a toe’s length from asphalt and turned. Slowly, Dale calmed his heart and steadied his arm. As he saw Louis inside the v cutout in the metal sight, he had a pang of sadness for his friend. The pang gave way to the bang and Dale immediately missed Louis. He literally missed Louis as well. Louis did not, in fact he smiled as Dale came to terms with the burning burrowing sensation inside him.

“You shot my leg!”

“And thus proved that I did not take your beer.”


Louis had no answer. He knew the traditional response would be to shoot Dale again but that seemed immoral somehow. It was at this moment that they both noticed the sudden absence of the duel master. He was a few steps ahead of them in deliberation. At six am on a Sunday in a working class neighborhood two men had shot at each other. It had been a miracle that no one had seen them but someone had heard them. Also, there was the matter of Dale’s bullet which had gone vaguely northward towards the parking lot.

As the two mentally caught up with the absent referee, it was quickly realized that it was best to leave. Luckily the guns were straw purchased making easy drop weapons. The thick leather dueling gloves would not betray fingerprints. Sadly, they would also have to be disposed of despite they’re excellent quality. The two limped back to the hatchback that they had came in. Louis called driver’s seat, Dale said nothing but wanted a shotgun. He wasn’t sure for who.

“No hard feelings, right?”

The stare that Dale used on Louis had been perfected down the centuries from raped to rapists, from beaten to flagellants, from oppressed to oppressors. The air was humid and thick with hate. The car was cramped. The last six months of the lease would be painful.