Short Story Day 98 of 365
It had been a long time since Victor had picked up something as large as a hammer on the road while he was on his daily walks. Paper all day long, plastic, nails along some stretches of road, and small boxes, yes, but a hammer?
A hammer was a first.
Victor wasn’t even a quarter way home when he picked it up and examined it. By the looks of it, the hammer had gotten run over a thousand times and had caused any number of flat tires. He thought of ditching it in the park garbage can along the way, but kept it instead, remembering the last time he went looking for a hammer at home and couldn’t find one. You can’t have too many tools is what Victor’s father–a carpenter–said more times than he could count.
The handle had fraying black electrical tape wrapped from the butt to the head, and splotches of red paint were still evident on the head itself.
“Who paints their rooms red?” he asked out loud, until he realized that one of the rooms in his home was dark red.
“It’s mine now.”
The path home went through residential neighborhoods, and he had to cross at two lights.
“What does this look like to them?” he thought as he crossed in front of cars with a hammer in his hand. Victor tried to hide the handle against his forearm with only the head poking out from the tips of his fingers. Still, if anyone bothered to look, they’d question a man walking around with a hammer.
Within a hundred yards from the final light crossing, he turned to see several squad cars stop short of where he was and one screeched to a halt a few feet beyond him. Doors swung open and officers had their weapons drawn and pointed at Victor.
Without saying a word, Victor dropped the hammer and raised his hands high.
An officer demanded he move away from the weapon. Now!
Victor heard the words “Homicide suspect is in custody” over a radio, and immediately knew that picking up a hammer with red paint on it in the middle of the street was a bad idea and that it probably wasn’t red paint to begin with.
Even though he knew he was innocent of anything they would have against him, his evening just got long and complicated.