Balloon Man

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Chapter 36

Cooter was furious. He’d been wandering the swamps for hours and still no Alma. He couldn’t believe he let her get away.

“Those gators will get her. She ain’t gonna make it so stop worryin’.”

Rather than continue the search, Cooter shifted direction and headed back to the trailer. While walking, Cooter thought about all the fights he had in prison. Reaching up, Cooter touched his head, rubbing the thick, knotted scar. The gash needed twenty-five stitches to close and the prison doc did an awful job. It looked like a railroad track from his left eye up into the hairline.

Cooter tried to change his part, but his hair was so thin, the scar showed up anyway. The other inmates threw things at him in the yard, beat him up when the guards weren’t looking, and called him horrible names. The no-good Cye Swain never even tried to help.

When he finally got out of prison, Cooter was meaner and angrier than before he was locked up. He hated everyone and everything. The only thing that brought Cooter any joy was making money, and causing pain.

Lots and lots of pain.

Up ahead, Cooter saw the glint of the moon off the metal of his trailer. Smiling at the thought of tossing back several cold beers and using the john, Cooter didn’t even stop to check on his guests. He’d wait until the morning.

They were livelier when the sun was up, which made taunting them a treat he enjoyed.

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