We had a bit of excitement this week. Much barking and screaming as a lady and her dog were attacked by two other dogs, right across the street from our house. Figuring the sword by the door was a bit over the top, I yelled to Himself.
"Dogfight! Get the broom!"
Mind you, this is no cute little Swiffer. This is the Broom Of Doom, with a handle big enough to dent drywall, fenders, and skulls. I sallied (silferted) forth to join the half-dozen or so neighbors armed with sticks.
Dog #2 was the backup, yapping from a short distance and making quick dashes at ankles. I let the stick-wielding neighbors handle him and focused on Dog #1. Big and mean, he was foaming at the face from excitement and he meant business. I played fence and kept a gap between biter and bitee.
This dog was aggressive, but not stupid. He stayed well out of swing range and we stood there, staring at each other, until he decided to try going around. Hey, I can dance AND hold a broom.
Between the Broom Of Doom and another neighbor armed with pepper spray, both dogs were chased off and reported. The vicitms were unharmed, but shaken. Back to the house for some coffee.
Hm? I see a hand at the back of the room. Your question? Oh. Well, yes, I really do keep a sword by the door. You in the red, your question? Ah. Because it's cool, and it goes well with the other sharp things I've collected. Uh, man in pajamas with bed hair. You have a question? Oh, that's actually an interesting story. Yes, I have pulled the sword on someone.
See, I used to have a paper route. Not the nice and tidy kind that involves a bicycle and a few city blocks. No, this was a hundred and twenty miles a day, six days a week, on gravel roads. When the weather was good, my job was very, very good. When the weather was bad, it sucked.
I inherited the job from a lady who quit without notice. I got a list of names and addresses, plus a lovely BLANK county map. Here, blank means "without any kind of house markings", but it might also mean a swear.
Yeah, actually. It made me swear a lot.
My first day on the job took nine hours. Nine stinking hours of gravel and dust and driving and heat and mailboxes without numbers and invisible road signs. I included a photocopied note with every paper, introducing myself and explaining the circumstances.
The second day was much better, only lasting seven hours. By the third day, I felt like I was getting the hang of things. Pull up to a box, double-check the map and list, drop off a paper, and on to the next stop. It was during one of the stops that I ran into Angry Farmer.
A little back story here. Pretty much the same day if got the paper job, I bought a sword. Spanish steel, nicely balanced for my size, not too ornate. Why? Because. I like swords. They help me defend my yarn stash. And possibly my life, as you will soon see. I had the sword in the car with me, in case I ran into a friend. Then I could brag.
Angry Farmer was not my friend, and probably would continue to fail to be my friend for some time. He was angry and large, and at this point in the story, he was barreling across his lawn, straight toward my car.
Putting both hands on my windowsill (I felt the car sag), he stuck his head in the window and yelled, "Are you the new paperboy?"
Not wanting to irk Angry Farmer any further, I declined to correct his gender misidentification. I opted to answer in the affirmative for simplicity's sake. It failed to soothe him.
"Git outta the car!"
"You heard me, git outta the car!!"
Now, I have NO idea what this dude had in mind. I expect he was at least planning to be intimidating. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong day. And the wrong person. I smiled beatifically.
Okay. Just a moment, please.
In an amazingly athletic move that would probably land me in traction today, I opened the door while reaching into the backseat. I stepped out with sword in hand and went into full en garde mode.
How may I help you?
He stared. He blinked. He stared some more. He finally muttered something about making sure he was getting his paper.
Do you see the paper in the box? Nod.
Did you get your paper yesterday? Nod.
And the day before? Nod.
Did you get my note? Nod.
Do we have a problem? A vigorous headshake.
Thank you, sir. Have a lovely day.
I got into the car and drove on to my next stop, shaking and cackling madly for the rest of the trip. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the funniest part of the whole experience: it was a freaking SWORD. See, if I'd pulled a gun on the guy, he could have called the cops and I'd have gone to jail. Imagine this conversation, though:
"My paper carrier pulled a sword on me!"
"Yeah, right, Pops! Lay off the Old Crow!" *click*
I never saw Angry Farmer again, except for one time when he peeked through the blinds. I wonder if he still remembers me? I wonder if he was nicer to the carrier that took over a few years later?