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The Old Man and the Coyote
The stare down was inevitable.
The Old Man froze as The Coyote crossed in front of him this morning. He – or was it a she, who can really tell with Coyotes – had never passed directly in front of the Old Man like this. But this was an unusual morning. The Old Man was out for his walk by 5:30, and the Coyote was returning from a rabbit or squirrel or chipmunk eating spree.
The Coyote was small as far as coyotes go. He wasn’t a baby for that would have startled The Old Man even more because the mother would have been nearby, lurking, waiting to pounce and protect. No, this was a teen of a coyote, if not a full adult with a hormonal growth problem. No mind.
The Coyote now stood on the median and stared back at The Old Man. This tall person was clearly not the Road Runner, so The Coyote had that in his favor. At the pace the Old Man had been walking, he would be easy prey. He thought of the possibilities with The Old Man. Of course, the Coyote didn’t know the age or strength or determination of The Old Man just as The Old Man didn’t know much about The Coyote.
There they stood, staring at each other, thinking, processing, strategizing their next few moves. One third the size of The Old Man, the Coyote analyzed his options: find smaller and easier prey, take my chances against The Old Man, or starve to death analyzing the options. His options weren’t ideal, but they were his and his alone.
The Old Man’s options were more in line with a two-legged creature: turn tail and run away, go forward, or use The Coyote as target practice for the week.
The Coyote never considered that The Old Man might be packing or even what that meant. Unfortunately, The Coyote didn’t know what State he was in either. Old Men in this State don’t hesitate to pack heat for situations much like this. Even on a brisk early morning walk – or especially on a brisk early morning walk – The Old Man wouldn’t be caught dead on the Streets without a little heat nearby.
The Coyote made the wise choice and wandered away without knowing the imminent danger he was in. The Old Man glared at the Coyote as he left. If The Coyote decided to roust up some of his pals, then the stare down would become something more than peaceful.
For now, The Old Man won Round 1, but there’s always tomorrow and the next day.
The Old Man would be ready, very ready.
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