In my cop days, on a Sunday evening, my bride
came down with a case of gotta haves for ice cream
so off we go to the tiny local market
at the north end of the lake.
We enter and no one else is there until
a scruffy young man arrives out front on a bicycle.
My sixth sense goes off, catching me off guard
as he enters; my wife sidles up and whispers
“Do you know that guy, ‘cause he sure is staring at you.”
Indeed, in the reflection of the ice cream freezer I feel
his eyes boring into my back.
I fish a couple pints out of cold slumber.
Walking to the till, he approaches,
cop sense tells me ‘interested, but not dangerous,’
so now I am curious. He says,
“Your name’s Atwater, you’re a cop.”
I say, “Yup, to both, who the fuck are you?”
Crooked smile, eyes crinkling he says,
“You don’t remember me do you?”
“No,” I agree, “But I should, shouldn’t I?”
“Probably” he nods, “Key Bank, on Lakeway, back in ’90?”
On goes the light and I step back, grinning,
“Okay, you’re the guy I caught, did the holdup with a hand grenade.”
“That’s me” he agrees, looking sheepish, “Just got out last week.”
“I’ll be damned,” I say, looking into his skull
past his eyes, “How are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m getting by” he offers, “Day to day you know…”
“I do,” I say, “I sure do. And I live around here, so…”
“Oh, don’t worry,” he smiles “That shit is long behind me.”
“Good,” I agree “And listen, take care of yourself, OK?”
“I will,” he nods, “Like I said,
that crazy shit is long behind me.”