Book Too

Path of a Bullet
David Ralph Johnson

Chapter 1 - New Porch

The drop of sweat finally left the tip of carpenter Jake’s nose. It had been rocking there gently for a minute gathering courage for free fall. Courage found, the sweat released and splashed squarely on the head of Jake’s next nail. The nail was unmoved. Not for long. Bang. Bang. Bang. “Shit. Shit. Shit,” thought the nail as Jake’s hammer brought the nail home, through one board and into the board below. The nail married the two boards together into a porch railing.
“Fuckin’ A it’s hot,” Jake said to no one. He had the shadeless job site to himself. His other carpenter buddies had moved on to the next story-and-a-half house coming to be in newly sold off potato fields of north Minneapolis. Post-war treeless suburbs were spreading like spilled milk into the farmlands around the city in 1955, providing Jake and those in his trade with steady money.
Jake reached into the nail pocket of this tool bag and found two lone nails hiding out. The rest of the pocket was empty. Finishing the porch railing called for three nails. “Fuckin’ A,” whispered Jake. More nails meant a long walk over a clay-mud-boot-sucking road. “Well fuck that noise,” he said. “Shortcut time. If I put one nail at the end as normal with the other centered in the space between, that’ll hold.” Once painted no one would know. He secured the rail end with nail one, then eyeballed the midpoint and drove in nail two.
Jake glanced up. “There you go, baby,” he said to the house. “Last nail for you. A little bit off, but it’ll do.” Jake’s final hammer stroke completed the railing and the construction of the house. The next pounding noise would be happy kids’ feet running around inside their new place. Jake smiled at that thought as he gathered up his tools and started toward his truck. Someday his two toddlers would have such happy feet. Two years, maybe. God willing.

Chapter 2 - Material

Bullet. Mining its lead was a death-defying occupation.

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~ David Ralph Johnson

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