Inches Nitely and the Lizard’s Id by Tim Rocks
Jee-zus christ indeed, Inches thought. Maybe Bobby had been right. Now that he saw this place… Like that guy, what was his name, Kazynski? The great Will Batterson lived in . . . A Unabomber cabin.
Couldn’t just drive right up to the door, this place was Off The Grid fo’ real. From the two-lane podunk highway to a gravel road, to one-lane dirt with tire furrows, and then good luck, boy scout. Hope you gotcher Map Skills merit badge.
Somehow, good boy scout that he was when it came to business, Inches had thought to pack binoculars in his makeshift hiking kit. So he was scoping the place out from the woods before he went up and knocked on the door unannounced. Guy drew a sweet little comic strip about a kid and his stuffed red T-Rex, but living like this, maybe he had a shotgun ready for visitors. Who could say?
So Inches stood there sizing the place up, checking for activity. He had taken the car up here to backwoods Maine while Bobby flew down to Cabo San Luca on the trail of a hot Oscar lead.
Not much to scope out so far as the “cabin” was concerned. It was a convenient size to load onto a flatbed truck and haul into court if Batterson ever flipped his lid and went full Una on the world.
But down a piece (as they might say out here in the sticks of the sticks) was some kind of… What? A tipi maybe, some kind of circular shelter. A thin wisp of smoke trailing from its summit.
A firm hand landed on his shoulder and Inches jumped, the binoculars flying off into some brambles. He spun around, fumbling for his piece, should be stuck in the seat of his pants but no…
Batterson had it. The small, mustachioed man with a disarmingly warm and friendly smile had somehow teleported five feet back and had the gun chambered, bullets dropping into his hand and then rapidly stowed in his shirt pocket. He handed the useless rod back to Inches.
“What can I do you for?”
Inches was as stunned as a cat who had just been slapped around by a mouse. His neurons momentarily confused about which way to fire.
“How did you . . .”
Batterson smiled an Aw Shucks smile and gestured like it tweren’t nothin. Just good clean country living and the air out here.
He brushed past Inches with some firewood he must’ve been out gathering, and was already 20 feet ahead, walking fast, as he called back “Come get some vittles, Mister! And tell me what brings you way out here to find little old me.”
Groggily, Inches obeyed. This damn cartoonist had more on the ball than even he, worshipful as he was, had suspected.