The two men stood face to face on the narrow road. Both knew their destination and knew that the other was just an obstacle to their destiny. They’d stepped out of their car, hoping to negotiate a way past each other. But locking eyes on one another, it was clear negotiation wasn’t an option.
Coming west from Indiana, a mustache filled with dust and sweat, one man didn’t want to fight but wouldn’t back down.
Coming east from Pennsylvania, tie half-loosened from his collar, the other had heard of the mustachioed man and knew he couldn’t taunt his way out of this problem. “Where did you come from?” Jim said.
“Never mind that,” said Ron. “But I think you know what this means.”
“What is this? What does what mean?”
“Dwight was an honest man,” said Ron. “You shouldn’t have treated him that way.”
“He’s weird and creepy.”
“Yes, but at least he’s not a bully. Can’t say the same for you.”
“Why do you care about him?”
“None of your damn business.”
“Just let me pass.”
“Then I can’t let you pass.”
The plain was wide beside the narrow and elevated road. Plenty of space, but rocky and unsuited for Jim’s sedan. But he could try it. He slid back in the driver’s seat and gunned it forward. He tried to jerk the wheel away from Ron’s truck, but swung too far.
The sedan lost purchase and flipped on its side. It rolled down the embankment. Over and over until it stopped on its hood. Metal crunched and bent under its own damaged weight. The seatbelt was stuck. Jim had been thrown around inside the car. His head was bleeding and his vision foggy.
An unfamiliar sound reached his ears: a knife sawing on the seatbelt. The belt snapped from his chest. A hand reached in and pulled Jim from the wreck.
“Kid barely weighs anything,” Ron said, throwing Jim on his shoulder. “Never done an honest day’s work.” He carried him to the truck and put him in the passenger seat. He knew there was a hospital along this road. He’d seen it before on his way to Schrute Farms. His cousin Dwight was waiting for him there, but he could wait a bit longer. Honor dictated you always help the wounded. And Ron Swanson meant to keep his honor.
N.B. Turner is a young writer living in Virginia, furiously trying to utilize his roots in Indiana for creative purposes. In between dabbling in poetry and crime fiction, he occasionally drinks corn whiskey while attempting to defend the honor of his homeland. You can follow him on Twitter at @NathanTurner15.