After Hermes and Elsie have driven off I walk this road and horizons change. I am so vulnerable I think I had better leave the road. After a while I enter a culvert deep in the woods. I don’t like the idea because there could be some psycho in there on his way to murdering a bunch of people and he might start with me. I look back and see that the only way to keep walking is to go right into it. I don’t want to waste two hours backtracking, which is what it would take.
Of course there’s someone in here. He’s giggling and snorting and playing with something that looks like a car muffler.
Hidy, he says as he looks up briefly.
There is a little whiskey in the bottle in front of him. He is very drunk.
Hello, Ace, I say. What you got there?
A bomb, he says evenly.
Right, I say evenly.
Really? What you doing with a bomb?
Gonna kill me a Muslim, he says.
What did Muslims ever do to you?
He shrugs his shoulders.
Did you ever know a Muslim? I say. There aren’t many around here.
They’s sand niggers, he says. They got a funny colorin, like reddish black.
You sure you wouldn’t blow up a black man instead?
Oh, I wouldn’t do that.
But you’ve never seen a Muslim.
No but it don’t matter. The sheriff back home never did till one day he was looking for vagrants. They was a whole family o’ sand niggers in town and he put em in jail till he could find somebody with darker skin.
That doesn’t make any sense, I say. In addition to being drunk, I think he is simple. And for that, all the more dangerous.
What’s in the bomb? I say.
They’s dynamite. Ye just light it when ye see a Muslim and thow it. Man, he says, stretching, I’m plumb give out. Hey, I think I’ll take a little nap. Watch this here bomb, will ye?
Glad to, Ace, I say.
He is soon snoring drunkenly. I pick up the whiskey bottle and drain it. Then I frisk him for matches, light one, and apply it to the fuse. Then I put the bomb on his chest and run like hell.