Your Privileges Have Been Revoked
by Brad Foster, 2021 ©
Bannon and his friends hung out at Reeder’s General Store on most summer nights. It was him, Steve, Donnie, Mike, and Robb since grade school. They drank frigid beers on the wide porch and ogled the women of their town.
And cussed out everyone whose skin didn’t match any known shade of white.
Unwanted guests might dare to enter Reeder’s, and he’d run them out before the tiny silver bell above the door sang its last note. Bannon always led the verbal assault against those people, joined in by his friends.
If they got uppity, Harris Reeder was quick on the draw, despite his oft palsied hands. Just once, Bannon wished he could see the old man’s Colt Python in action, but he never had a chance.
Its eight inches of royal blue steel gliding out of the holster always drove the point home. They fled post-haste, while Bannon and his friends hollered and flung empty bottles that exploded at their feet.
It’d been another good night and Bannon expected it would be tomorrow.
He missed the alarm and woke at far past mid-afternoon. Bannon hurried into his white truck, streaked with long dried mud, and sped down to the store.
This time, he’d treat for the suds — wouldn’t they all be surprised?
He picked out two cases from the cooler, and when he turned back to the short aisle, he got both barrels of Harris Reeder’s bulging eyes that glared at Bannon.
The old man growled to get the hell out of his store. One of his hands hovered over the revolver at his hip, like a gunfighter itching for a duel.
Bannon tried to speak but then he caught his reflection in the cooler door to his right and froze. His skin resembled a sky without stars, long after the sun slipped beneath the horizon.
He heard his friends outside and turned to call to them. Instead, eight inches of royal blue steel thrust against his forehead, as if drilling into his skin.
The gloomy store, lit by a single row of yellowed fluorescent bulbs, flared much too bright around Bannon. Words lost all meaning, melted into a jumble of noises and then into a singular, muffled drone.
All except one sound that cut through to his mind — the click-click-click of the ratcheting hammer.