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Bob Vessay

Abe Geissele '25

Down a muddy trail, rocks strew about, James rode. The Kind fall air brushed over every inch of his skin. Black dirt spilled through the air. Pine needles flew about with sap oozing from the delicate bark. The rounded Knobbies threw plums of blackness behind him, like a wave from a tsunami. The chitter chatter of squirrels filled the air. As James stabbed at the ground through a rut he felt an unmatched sense of freedom as he was one with his machine. The two stroke smell liberated his soul. Every individual ping was able to be heard for miles in every direction. The sound reflected off the skyscrapers of breaker rock. The powerband flowed perfectly through his throttle. Pulling wheelies in third gear through download logs and mounds of coal, James came to a Y in the trail. Locking up his rear tire he slid into the left path and gassed it. Banging into fourth up a hill, hitting the top he glided down into a tabletop. Down a creekbed and over a dam James came to a white ford explorer with a missing windshield and passenger door. Inside a fiery, Santa Claus sat. Wearing a devil's emulation around his neck with bear claws around his wrist. A long bore 357 tucked into his coal-stained jeans. As the door opened, out wobbled a stubby madman, with a shirt cigarette hanging out his mouth.

“Who the hell are you!”

Killing the engine James stands up expecting an altercation.

“Who the hell are you!” repeated Bob.

“I don't want any trouble man, just passing through”

“This here my land ya hear!” replied bob curtly, “you best be on your way!”

“Look man, I don't want any trouble. Just trying to get to another trail man.”

“I don't give a fuck where you're trying to go. This hear my Mountain!”

As dark gloomy clouds passed over the valley, the air cooled, and leaves began to fall faster. A feeling of uncertainty passed over James as he slowly moved his hand to his waistband. As Bob spewed profanity at him James slowly reached under his jacket and laced his fingers around his pistol. As he felt the cold steel on his palm he began to have flashes of the inevitable courtroom session, where he would have to plead his innocence. He began to see himself watching the jury decide his fate. The judge saying those terrible words. How he would go to prison for murder. How the news would run stories of him, the monster, who shot dead a mountain man. The Vietnam vet whose wife died of cancer. Who survived the war only to come home and be spat on by dirty commie hippies. Who went to war against his will. Only to return and be shot dead by a rebellious dirtbike rider. James snapped back to reality as Bob began pulling his own 357 out. Now it was a competition for the fastest draw. Time seemed to be in slow motion as both men pulled their pristine pistols out. Bob beat him to the draw but he didn't fire. He just stood there menacing, pointing his shiny 357 right at Jame’s nose. As James brought his own up his finger curled around the stubbled trigger. As his brain sent hundreds of tiny electrical signals down his arm to his trigger finger his tendons and muscles kicked into action. As his finger tightened his brain seized. He stopped as he realized that Bob was not ready to shoot. Bob was screaming at him, spitting black tobacco spit out like a fire-breathing dragon.

“I swear I'll shoot you sum o’ bitch!”

“Back up man I don't want any trouble” James pleaded, “I just wanna ride man I don't want any blood man.”

“Turn the hell round!” Bob spat, Get the hell outta here!”

“All right man I'm going,” James said as he holstered his gun and got back on his bike. As the bike fired up, and the clutch was dropped you could hear each ping for miles, reflecting off the mountains. Down a creekbed over a dam, and over a tabletop, James sped off. Shaking he let his instincts take over as he flew down the fictitious trail. The fall air was now much cooler.

I choose a more weirdly unsettling theme as well as an O'Henry twist. This story I wrote is a true story. A guy at a match I shot told me that Bob pulled a gun on him and his dad and brother. He told me Bob and his dad both pulled guns and were screaming at each other. I tried to describe the setting in the most descriptive way possible. I also tried to get the reader to expect James to shoot Bob but in the end he and Bob just parted ways.

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