Out for a quick sprint on a warm, sunny evening, I had just left my driveway headed for a pleasant fifteen-mile loop.
As I approached the next driveway down from mine, a fat man with a shaved head stepped to the roadside. He looked to be in his thirties, with an early-season sunburn and the red flushed face of a drunk.
"How's the bikin'?" he asked.
"So far, so good," I said with a grin. I thought he might have seen that I had just come out of a driveway a hundred yards away.
"Mafagaffa," he said as I continued on. I mean I couldn't make out what he said. But since he seemed to be staying in the house that used to belong to my neighbor Whitey, and I was pretty sure Whitey is now deceased, I looped back to see what else he had to say.
"I gotta get me some of them shorts," he said. "Wear 'em at the beach with a little titty top."
Ah. A humorist.
"You related to Whitey?" I asked. Time to go on the offensive a little.
"The guy who used to own that camp," I said.
"No. My name's Bean." He held a bill aloft. "Got a hundred dollar bill here. Goin' to Abbott's to get some beer."
A truck appeared down by the distant bend in the road.
"Watch this," said Bean. "Set this behind my foot like this." He concealed his beer can behind his boot. "Now I hitch."
It didn't work. The truck passed me without him in the passenger's seat or the bed, after I had left him to continue my ride. I contemplated my wonderful luck.
I made it all three miles and then some to Abbott's without another car passing me. Bean was walking thirsty as far as I knew. Or he'd given up.
The rest of the ride was as pleasant as I had hoped. I had the tailwind outbound, but the way the route turns on the way back I never had to pound straight into the headwind. On Loon Lake Road I rescued a baby snake. It could have been any of your gray and brown patterned snakes, but it actually hung onto my glove when it struck aggressively at my hand. I took my sunglasses off and pushed it to the roadside with them. It didn't seem to mind that, even though it struck at my empty hand every time I extended it.
Coming in on final approach to my house, I had to pass Bean's driveway again. I noted that the house now sports a "Beware of Dog" sign in the window and a dirt bike in the driveway. So far they've been fairly quiet, but maybe the gunfire I attributed to the people in the next house over was really from these new people. We have a number of hot lead hobbyists in the neighborhood now.
We shall see.