He sat on the front porch each day with a rifle in his lap. The sign on the gate said, NO TRESPASSING. Another sign read, BEWARE OF DOG.
The old man would sit out there from morning to evening time. Had a big searchlight he turned on at night. Twenty four hours of protection was his goal. Kids still threw rocks at the windows as they walked by in the dark.
No one in town would talk to him. And, he didn’t talk to them. Kept to himself mostly. Never saw him at church or any bars. Wouldn’t see him at the grocery store or getting his long greasy hair cut. Never. It was just him and his dog Blue; a big old mean Doberman. The old man had trained it to be mean.
Some say they knew him in high school. Said he was picked on. Made fun of due to his small size. They called him Peewee. Boys used to taunt him on his way home from school. Girls wanted nothing to do with him. That suited him just fine.
As a boy he’d play make-believe up in his room each day. Pretended he was an astronaut. On a top secret mission to Mars.
His bed would become a space capsule and his ceiling had silver stars cut out and pasted to it. The boy would take a flashlight and hold it in his small hands and shake his body; take offs were never smooth. The kid would then take exaggerated steps out of the capsule onto his red shag carpet that his feet sank into. He was there. This was Mars. At least till his mom called him for supper.
And now he just sat there. Ready to take aim. All imagination gone. Or, was it?