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There's Always a Bigger Dog


by Boudreau Freret


A young man blocked a doorway with the door partially open. When he saw I wanted by, yet refused to yield, I waited a little longer then made an obviously playful gesture: I pretended I was going to shut the door on him.

The young man's eyes widened and his mouth followed suit.

"Dude, I'm half your age-"

His first mistake.

Panic spread across my friend Mike the Marine's face. Let it go, his eyes shouted to me. Just walk away.

"- and I've been shot before." The kid emphasized the word shot, then waited as if the matter between us was now closed, resolved in his favor.

His second mistake.

"Shot?" I asked.

"Yeah."  He lifted his shirt to reveal a scar about the size of a pencil eraser just below his sternum, dead center of the celiac plexus.

"Really." I said softly.

"Yeah."

"I see." I looked up from his scar and into his eyes. "Well, I've been shot, too."

Without blinking, I slowly began to raise my shirt and revealed an entry scar. I raised my shirt higher and revealed another. Then another. And another, still. All stragglers that had spread from the main cluster.

When the fist-sized main scar was unveiled, the color ran from the kid's face.

I turned to show the exit wounds, and when I turned back, the kid was gone.

My friend Mike the Marine laughed.  “I guess he thought yours was bigger.”

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