TIMBER:The Bad Boy's Baby

By: Frankie Love

1





JAX


I swing down against the trunk a final time before getting out of the way. I call out to Buck, making sure he moves.

My dog, Jameson, barks wildly as he watches the swaying pine.

The tree falls with a strong, heavy rush that sends a chill over my skin.

It happens every time.

I feel most alive when I've taken something, using my own hands, and brought it to the ground.

I used to do that with women. There was nothing I liked more than fucking a woman I'd just met, giving them my solid wood, something they would remember. Then they could go home to their pansy-ass boyfriend or husband, and think of my trunk when someone else tried to get them off.

But then things changed. Fucking a woman I didn’t know got me in trouble.

With everyone.

And I had to get the fuck out of town.

I moved out of the city a few months ago, and I haven’t looked back. I came out here, to the dense forest.

The only thing I miss about life back in Coeur d'Alene is the women. While I find a lot of raccoons in these parts, good pussy isn't as common as it was back home.

Now, instead of taking a woman hard and fast, I swing my axe. Some guys might use a chainsaw, but I like the feel of the blade biting into the wood. The power in each stroke.

I take down pine trees. I call myself an old-school lumberjack, but that's mostly just a joke I tell myself. I'm not doing anything with this pile of wood besides burning some of it and putting the rest in a heap at the side of the cabin.

I watch as the tree falls; timber.

“That was a big-ass motherfucker,” Buck says, taking a swig from the beer I gave him when he showed up an hour ago.

Buck owns the gas station and post office in town and drops off any packages I receive. I avoid town as much as possible.

“Damn straight,” I agree, dropping the axe blade into the base of the chopped tree.

I pull off my leather gloves and then run my hand over my thick beard as I assess the fallen pine. It will take me most of the week to cut this tree into stackable pieces.

“You wanna come down the mountain, head to the bar?”

I don't want to laugh in Buck's face—but the last thing I wanna do is sit on some plastic stool in a podunk bar, drinking cheap beer and listening to Buck and his big game–hunting buddies talk shit.

I'd rather sit in my own goddamned chair. I'd rather drink my own goddamned beer. And I sure as hell would rather listen to silence than discuss target practice.

I may live in the sticks, but I'm no motherfucking hillbilly.

My mother calls me a modern day Thoreau. I don't really give a shit what that means—but I think it means I like to sit in the quiet and think.

I also like to swing my axe. As I've mentioned. It’s the only sane thing in the world anymore. The only thing I can, without question, hold onto. Everything else is liable to fall apart.

“I don't like that scene. You know that, Buck. Not sure why you keep asking.”

“I'm asking because you're the crazy fool living in the woods, talking to yourself. You don't even have wi-fi out here.”

“That's intentional.”

Buck doesn't understand why I don’t go into town with him. It’s mostly because I have no interest in discussing my personal shit with anyone—especially him.

“Yeah, well, it's January. This shit's gonna get cold real fast.”

“It's cold already,” I tell him as we cross back to my cabin, passing the frosted tips of the pine trees. Jameson trails us as we make our way over the icy earth, the ground crunching with each step.

“Well, you're the fool who moved out to the woods at the end of fall, not me,” Buck says. “Just wanna make sure you don't become a recluse.”

I don't tell Buck that being a recluse is exactly what I'm after.

“I'll see you around then. And stop by the store if you need anything, ya hear?” Buck heads to his big pickup truck, hollering as he swings open the door, “Oh, and thanks for the beer, Jax. Though I'm not sure what that shit was.” He gives a hearty laugh as he turns the ignition.

Fucking fool, I think, shaking my head. He doesn't know what home-brewed beer is. I may be living in the woods, but I have a kegerator all hooked up inside my cabin. I brew beer, and it's the good stuff.

I watch him backing down the drive, grateful to see him go. He's a good guy, but I prefer my own company these days.

Heading to my cabin, I let Jameson in. I notice that snowflakes have begun to fall as the night sets in. I shut my door, knowing I need to add wood to my fire if I'm gonna stay warm tonight.

There sure as hell isn't anything out in these parts to get me heated up.





HARPER


The tires on my modest hatchback come to a dead halt, in the dead of winter, in what is quickly becoming the dead of night. I'm trying not to full-on panic.

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