Of Fate And Farmhouses
The mischievous boy crept down the stairs of the sleeping farmhouse. In a moment he would slip out the back door, hell-bent on a midnight rendezvous with his equally prankish girlfriend. In doing so, he’d let out the family dog that would, some minutes later, chase a jackrabbit in front of a Ford Model T driven by a weary bank robber retreating down a lonesome country road, toward his hideout. The car would swerve, then crash into an ancient pine tree. Quite shaken and spent of adrenaline, the robber would step from the vehicle and observe the smoke jutting from the half-crunched engine. A jolt of frustrated desperation would wash over his brain, causing him to grab his Tommy Gun and fire dozens of .45 caliber slugs into the starry night sky. A quarter of a mile away, the mischievous boy’s father would awaken at the sound of the gunfire, then reach over to his upstairs bedside table and light a well-rusted oil lamp. The robber, his burst of psychosis temporarily extinguished, would look over his shoulder and notice the orange-yellow light flickering gently in the window. Without thinking, he would retrieve the money bags from the seat and beeline toward the farmhouse. In half an hour, the mischievous boy’s father would be dead; as would his mother and two younger siblings. The robber, mortally wounded by a blast from the father’s shotgun, would die across the steering wheel of the truck he came to steal.
But the mischievous boy creeping down the sleeping farmhouse stairs paused in mid-step, thought better of sneaking out, then tip-toed back to his bed. The dog stirred, the rabbit slept, and the bank robber drove on through the night.