The Rooster / by Cyle Talley

Last night as I was waiting for the bus, I saw a man who reminded me of a rooster. Spindly legs, chin craning for the sky, and eyes looking for a fight. 

The bus stop is across the street from a grocery store and a liquor store. I'd gotten a rotisserie chicken from one and a sixer from the other and was looking forward to going home and plowing my way through both.  

I saw the Rooster come out of the grocery store right behind a guy with sunglasses on and too much stuff in his hair. The Rooster was headed to the liquor store, the other guy hopped in his Beamer.  

I guess the Rooster didn't like the way the Beamer passed him. It didn't seem close to me, but the Rooster shouted, "WHY DON'T YOU LEARN TO DRIVE, YOU GARDEN STATE FUCK!!!" Just like that. In all capitals.  

Well, the guy in the Beamer said something to the Rooster and revved his engine. The Rooster extended both arms and as he stalked toward the car, his head started to bob.  

"I'm right here, bitch!!" The Rooster shouted. "I'll mess up more than just your hair!"  The Beamer drove away. 

"That's what I thought!" The Rooster said, dusting the shoulders of his Carhardtt off with quick swipes. He went into the liquor store.  

He came out a few minutes later with a 40 in a bag. Seemed like a bad idea to me, but I wasn't going to get into it. The Rooster skulked across the parking lot and got into a old Toyota pickup whose belly was nearly touching the pavement. It sounded more like a motorcycle than a truck when he stuck his foot in it and raced down the aisle, made a turn, and shot toward the parking lot exit.  

A guy in a purple ski jacket walked out of the liquor store just then and saw the Rooster make a ripping left turn onto the road and into the median. He missed being hit by oncoming traffic with no more than inches to spare. The guy in the ski jacket shouted something that I couldn't hear over the truck's brassy whine and began walking toward the grocery store  

"WHAT'D YOU SAY TO ME, YOU FUCK?!" Just like that. In all capitals. He punched the truck into gear, kicked his foot into the gas, and whipped the steering wheel around so that the truck spun on its front axle, grey smoke coming from the rear wheel wells, and ripped back into the lot, pulling up next to the guy in the ski jacket. 

Both guys were shouting things that I couldn't quite make out, but I think I heard "baby", "responsible", "felony", and "truck". I know for sure that it ended with the Rooster putting his foot into the gas, and racing around the parking lot like it was a race track while the guy in the ski jacket walked into the grocery store, but then the bus came and I got on it.  

"Hey Doug," I said to the bus driver. Doug looked at the plumes of grey smoke hanging over the parking lot, and I saw The Rooster peel away  

"What was going on there?" Doug looked at me in the rear view mirror. "Shit, man," he said when I told him what happened. "I'm just not sure how guys like that make it through the day."