Thursday, February 19, 2009


Kick’s truck rattled to a stop on the side of Lavallee Road where there was a slight pull off. The pull off had been born, not of design, but of necessity along the narrow dirt road. The road itself lay in a depression between two long hills, and despite the installation of numerous culverts and drainage ditches, intended to remedy the seeping wetness of the place, the road always had a slick, muddy quality to it. Only in winter, when it was frozen, did the road seem firm underfoot. Short scrubby cedars grew in great profusion on either side of the road. Branches, both live and dead, brown and green, interlocked to form a dense impediment to human locomotion. After several hundred feet the cedars began to thin out as they neared the top of the hills that flanked the low-lying road. Two rusty strands of barbed wire, stapled directly into the trunks of the front rank of cedars, contained the woods and seemingly held them back from spilling over into the traveled way. As Kick sat in his truck he wondered who had originally thought it necessary or worthwhile to string the barbed wire along that hardscrabble stretch of cedar woods. There seemed to be nothing worth keeping in, no reason to keep anything out, and the cedars themselves looked to be sufficient deterrent against trespass for creatures of normal ambition. “It must have been a field at one time,” he mused to himself.

Kick’s thinning hair, was newly barbered, and his beard was neatly trimmed. He was wearing a pair of soft, brown leather shoes, a crisp new pair of tan slacks, and a plain dark-blue sweater with a collared shirt underneath. Before exiting the truck, he slipped off his shoes and placed them on the passenger side floorboards before donning a pair of tall black rubber boots. Then he opened the door and, with a sigh, he dropped down onto the soft squishy surface of Lavallee Road. Reaching back into the cab, he popped the hood. Then he quickly looked around before lifting the hood and giving a quick decisive tug on a pair of wires. Letting the hood drop loudly, he turned, passed between the strands of barbed wire, and waded off into the crackling cedar thicket.

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