She didn’t miss a step.
Without turning, she grabbed my arm and wrenched it closer. “Look, you’ve got to get over this infantile behavior.” She stopped short and jammed her heel into my shoe. A high-pitched screeching sound seemed to go on forever. People in the park turned to look.
“God, you scream like a little girl,” she said, whipping around to face me. “I’ve always hated that about you.” My body felt limp. She lifted the piece of plastic out of my hand and hung it by her fingers, swaying it in front of my face. “You want me to squirt you with this or have you used up all the water?”
I opened my hand and she dropped the water pistol. My fingers wrapped around the hard blue plastic and I stuffed it in my pocket.
“One of these days someone’s going to call the police,” she said, checking her Blackberry. “What are you going to do then?” She lifted the Blackberry to her ear. “huh?...what then?” she said, flashing her eyes at me before taking the call.
She walked ahead, chatting on the phone. I staggered along behind, wincing whenever I put weight on my right leg. Two minutes later she slipped the Blackberry in her pocket and turned around. I limped to where she stood. She touched the collar of my jacket.
“What’d you do to your leg?” she asked and continued talking. “I know you’ve had this thing about that leech on your thingy when you were a little boy, but you can’t carry that around forever. You’ve got to face your fears and sticking water pistols in people’s backs will not make those fears go away. Please, I ask you once more, please go for help.”
I dropped my arms to cup my hands.
“Please,” she said, touching her hand to my face.
I hopped to the nearest park bench and watched her cross the street and turn the corner. Blackberry to her ear.
Two small black birds squawked near my feet. Leaves rustled overhead. A gust of wind sent a discarded newspaper flying across the foot path. It hovered and jumped over grass until it wrapped around the foot of a passerby. I eyed the fellow. He was busy poking an iPod.
I got up from the bench and hobbled up behind him. I pulled the pistol from my jacket pocket and jammed it forcefully into his back. “Keep walking and don’t make a sound. I don’t want to hurt you.”