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The Urban Trapper

The Urban Trapper

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Published by Lance
A haggard old man makes his way in life by resorting to old ways in a new world. His old losses have taken much from him, but not so much that he isn't able to save a young girl from harm at his own peril.
A haggard old man makes his way in life by resorting to old ways in a new world. His old losses have taken much from him, but not so much that he isn't able to save a young girl from harm at his own peril.

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Published by: Lance on Dec 27, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/14/2012

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The Urban TrapperWord Count: 4881Written By: Lance Nalleylancenalley@yahoo.comFinal DraftFebruary 2006
 
 The Urban TrapperLance Nalley
Through the rubble and refuse of the old downtown residential district, thelight from a kerosene lantern shone through the gap at the bottom of a shed door. Indaylight, the shed was camouflaged among the garbage and decaying old buildingsthat surrounded it. By night, it was noticeable only during the short time the lightburned as the old man prepared himself. A smell of decay emanated from the tinbuilding, but it was masked by the foul smells of every other old building andgarbage pile around the dying city center.The shed was once an auxiliary building to a home, which now lay crumblinga few feet away. It faced the back of the lot, along which a rutted dirt alley ran: ahighway for drunks, junkies, and stray dogs, and the main entrance to this makeshifthome.The light went out, the door squeaked open, and an old man passed through.He was wrapped in woolen plaid and a stocking cap. Gray hair billowed out fromunder his cap in a lion’s mane around his head. His beard, gray and wiry, was stainedbrown from tobacco juice. He closed the door carefully, clicked a large padlock intothe hasp, securing the door tightly, and started toward the ally to make his nightlyrounds.He was a careful old man, thin and sinewy. He walked slowly, keeping watcharound him for danger, because he knew it was all around him. People hid in theshadows to rob the unsuspecting or just to hurt them. Only the sick or the insanecame out at night in this place, except, of course, for the old man. He came out eachnight to check his traps.His name had been Terence, back when people called him by a name. Now,though, he didn’t need a name, because no one knew him. People saw him at thecity bus terminal selling his wares and occasionally someone caught a glimpse of him
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 The Urban TrapperLance Nalley
moving silently in the night, but no one ever spoke to him or thought much aboutwhere he came from or where he went.The old man had lived in the neighborhood since before it became thedangerous place it was. He had lived there when it was shiny and new: when youngfamilies bought new homes and parked new cars in the driveways: when childrenwalked the streets at night unafraid. He had lived there back when he was Terence,and he had worn a tie and driven a car, owned a home and loved his wife. But thattime had passed. Now even he must creep through the streets with care. Though hehad lobbied city council to put in a four-way stop at the intersection to protect thechildren as they crossed the street on their way home from school, now even he hadto watch carefully for thugs and muggers lest they rob or kill him.The old man had set his nearest trap close by, behind a dumpster in the alley.He moved to it surreptitiously, slowly moving in the shadows. He found it empty, butit had been tripped. He pulled the iron jaws back down, holding them with onegnarled old hand while he fixed the trigger with the other. He re-baited the trap, setit back in its spot, brushing some dirt over it, and proceeded to the next.The second trap was not empty. A calico cat, its front paw clamped in its vice-like grip, hissed at him viciously, its back arched. The old man backed up a step anddrew a tire iron from his sack, then stepped slowly toward the animal. It hissedloudly, but in one swift movement the tire iron sliced through the air, bashing the catin the head. The old man heard the skull crunch and the cat was immediately silent.Its body tensed in a final spasm and it fell to its side, blood running from its noseand ear. He picked the trap up by its chain, compressed the springs, releasing thecat’s paw, and shook it loose. He baited the trap and reset it in the same spot,tossing the dead cat in his bag and proceeding to the next trap on his route.Terence was born in Arkansas and lived in the Ozark Mountains until his lateteens, when he left to make a better living in the city. He and his father had operated
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