50 Caliber

“Have you ever seen a 50 caliber bullet?” he asked.
“I don’t think so” I replied.
“Here, hold it. Feel the energy inside” he said.
Heavy in my hand all I felt was death.
Doug Mathewson

“Bad Dux, Bad Dux, What You Gonna Do”

My job was doing a book cover, and the storyline was about duck street gangs.
The editor said it was an important and very significant part of the story that
the gang ducks “bumped beaks” when the greeted each other and
should be prominent in the illustration.
These were not to be messed with ducks, mean streets suzies and drakes every one.
Gang colors just looked cute, and bumping beaks just looked like kissing.
Fingerless gloves were out, piercings don’t look like much,
and tattooed feathers just did not make sense. Nothing was working.
But tattoos on duck feet look great. Blue and black strong dark geometric patterns. Very tribal, and very cool.
Maybe the author would do a re-write and make them head-hunter ducks someplace in a jungle. The back ground could be lush green , and in the foreground fierce warrior ducks, not to be messed with ducks, hardened survivor suzies and drakes every one.
We’d loose the bumping thing, and give them cool necklaces made of shrunken beaks.

Doug Mathewson


There never seemed to be a real reason why I did’t go to Meyer’s very often. The place was friendly enough, the coffee okay, and the bagels were mostly decent though the selection was limited. It was off a road near the beach so traffic is a pain in the summer. The only other business out that way was the semi-functional hardware store that only sold items that other hardware stores discontinued years ago. Like skeleton keys and illegal drain openers. If I had a dog maybe we would go for early morning beach walks and stop for coffee regularly at Meyer’s, but I did’t have a dog.
What I did have was a need for some old style brass grommets. The kind that were used in sail making years ago and now have been replaced by better and cheaper teflon ones. I just needed to repair and old deck chair and wanted everything to match.
I only needed a few so it wasn’t worth the effort to poke around Amazon for a
them. After a completely uneventful (but successful) trip to the store, I stopped by
at Meyer’s
The place had a fresh look, not completely different, just not as shabby and run down.
Not the neglected look of scattered week old newspapers. The gum-ball machine for
“Jerry’s Kid’s” that had been empty since the 70’s was gone. Gone too were the two and three year out of date “Fireman’s Carnival” posters, and the framed signed photo of Yogi Berra with the cracked glass. The place smelled great, which was different too. It had the delicious aroma of a bakery. I couldn’t remember the place smelling like anything before, good or bad. So why not? Instead of just a coffee I’d see what they had, some bread maybe or even bagels. The bagel bins were new and so were the kinds of bagel combinations offered. One that struck me as odd was “Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar”. What was going on with old man Meyer? It never occurred to me to ask if Meyer was his first or last name, but he wouldn’t sell “Bacon” anything. The place might be 100% Kosher, but still. Had the old man died or retired? I didn’t see him or his grand kids who sometimes ran the register. Everybody working in the place looked Ecuadorian. I asked a woman behind the counter about Meyer, but she didn’t know who I meant. I asked her about the bacon bagels too, which I noticed they were out of, and she replied “Tomorrow, for you, I save”. So, I’ll go back tomorrow. Maybe I’ll end up getting a dog one of these days.

Doug Mathewson