The evening air caressed Earl’s bare torso. It transformed his perspiration into a glistening sheen of carnal pleasure. He straightened and rose up on his knees above the naked warmth of his fiancée. The end to a perfect day, he told himself. The orange heat from the setting sun slowly diminished and cleared a path for the approaching dusk. Taxi horns and the hissing brakes of buses added to the city sounds. They created a traffic symphony that amped up the racket of the evening’s rush hour.
Earl and Patty were in their favorite place, surrounded by bushes and hidden from public view. Hundreds of people walked in the inner city park and passed them by, never knowing they were there.
Earl’s first scream spooked a flock of peanut-fattened pigeons. They crashed into each other, and downy feathers flew like confetti in their attempt to go airborne. When he roared the second time, his inamorata thought he’d gone absolutely nutso. She scrambled madly for her clothes.
He turned his back to her and leaned forward. “My butt, oh lord, my ass! Pull it out!” He pointed vigorously to the arrow protruding from his right butt cheek. “Yeowwww…it hurts, Patty. It hurts!”
Patty scooped up her cellphone and stood upright. She slipped her couture t-shirt over her head and dialed 911 while she tried to wriggle into a pair of leggings.
“…Yes, we’re in City Central Park. My fiancé got shot with an arrow, and he needs medical attention. No, this is NOT a prank call. It has red and black feathers and is sticking out of his a— whaddya mean? Yes, I understand; just get them here quick, okay?”
“Are the paramedics coming? What’d they say?”
“They asked if I knew the penalty for making a prank call. But they believe me now. They’ll send somebody soon, baby.”
“I wish you’d pull the damn thing out.”
“No! Didn’t you ever see any westerns? You’re not supposed to yank out an arrow.”
“Well, hell, I certainly can’t sit on my ass and wait for somebody else to do it. What happens next in the movies?”
“I think all they did was give the hurt guy a triple shot of whiskey and send for the doc.”
“Then get my wallet from the back pocket of my pants. Find a liquor store and buy some booze. I’ll wait right here. Hah.”
Patty grabbed some bills and parted the bushes with both hands. “I’ll be right back, Earl; stay calm.” She disappeared from view.
Earl dropped to his knees and propped himself up on both arms. His gluteus maximus quivered lightly.
Fortunately, liquor stores abound in the city. Patty headed back toward her injured lover 15 minutes later with a flat bottle wrapped in a brown paper sack. She saw a street vendor at the park entrance and bought a few more items.
The widest policeman Patty had ever seen ran up to where she stood and leaned on the vendor’s wagon with both hands. His bulky body heaved as he gulped huge quantities of air and expelled them with loud, drawn-out wheezes.
The officer unbuttoned his jacket. “Gimme a cherry limeade, fast.”
“Whazzamatta, officer? You’re all outta breath here.”
“Got a call…wheeze…that some moron got shot in the ass…wheeze… with an arrow. He’s around here somewhere…wheeze. I been runnin’ all over the place.”
Patty squared her shoulders. “That’s my fiancé, and I’ll have you know that he’s not a moron. He’s an accountant. And he’s waiting for help as we speak. Now drink your damned limeade and let’s go.”
The officer finished his drink and wiped his lips with the back of his hand. “Go ahead, lady, you lead the way. I’ll be right behind you.”
They found Earl flat on his stomach. The arrow, still lodged in his butt cheek, stuck straight up in the air.
“We’re back, honey.”
Earl groaned, and the cop removed his hat. “I’ll be damned. He really does have an arrow in his ass. Here, buddy, lemme help you up. Whoa there, fella! You better put on some pants.”
“Sure, sure, officer. How am I gonna get my pants on with an arrow out my ass?”
Patty’s face brightened. “Put ’em on backwards, honey, with the zipper in back. That’ll work as long as you don’t zip up.”
“Oh my god. You got the whiskey, Patty?”
“Here, take a slug of this.” She rolled the paper sack down, unscrewed the bottle cap, and handed the bottle to Earl.
His face contorted, and he stuck out his tongue. “Holy crap, what is this stuff?!” He slid the bottle out of its brown paper jacket. “Cinnamon schnapps! I thought you said they give an arrow-shot guy whiskey in the westerns. Oh, hell, never mind, lemme take another hit of that.”
“I was in a hurry, honey. Besides, the label on that stuff says ‘Arrow.’
The cop and Patty eased Earl’s legs into his trousers, the wrong way around. Once they got them up around his waist, they buttoned the top button. Success. Earl’s precious gems were hidden from public view, and the arrow, now looking like a small weather vane, protruded from the back of his pants.
Patty handed the wounded man a small package wrapped in wax paper. “I brought you a couple of these too, Earl.”
“Hot dogs? Hot dogs?”
Her bottom lip quivered. “But they’re your favorite, Earl, with sauerkraut. Just the way you like ’em.”
“I’ll have more schnapps,” Earl said.
The cop rolled his eyes. “I’ll eat the hot dogs, lady. We gotta move now, back to the park entrance.”
Earl walked very slowly. The arrow waved, from left to right, with each step he took. “Damn, this hurts.”
Patty noticed that the officer had stopped a teenager who was about to pass them on his skateboard.
“We’ll give it back to you in a few minutes, kid. We just need to borrow it. We got an injured man here.”
The teenage boy had a do-rag on his head and wore a muscle shirt with a skull on the front.
“Injured, hell! That dude’s got a arrow outta his ass. Hey, don’t let him drip anything on my plank, ya hear?”
The cop helped Earl climb on the skateboard. “You just hold steady, pal. You won’t need to walk. We’ll steer you.”
Patty could tell Earl wasn’t accustomed to the sport of skateboarding. The hand she held was sweaty. “There’s nothing to worry about, honey. This is sure nicer than walking, isn’t it?”
“My ass doesn’t hurt as much, but I feel like an idiot.”
The police officer couldn’t keep pace, and he stopped. He bent over and tried to catch his breath.
The wide sidewalk dipped down a slight incline, and Earl gained momentum. His hand slipped from Patty’s, and he picked up speed.
Two young ladies on a park bench had nearly finished their second after-work joint. They both looked around, just in time, and watched Earl glide by.
They smiled broadly and waved. “Yo, duuuuuuuude. Cool arrow, dude.”
He didn’t hear them and sped on toward the park’s entrance. He noticed now that the cars had their headlights on and the wind was making a total mess of his hair.
The cop called out to the young man who owned the skateboard. “Yo, bud. I need you to help me here. I can’t get my breath.”
“No joke, bro, and you’re pale too. You okay?”
“Wheeze…yeah. I gotta call in our location…wheeze. I’ll get ’em on the radio, and you tell ’em…wheeze…where we are…wheeze. Tell ’em about…wheeze…the guy on the skateboard…wheeze.”
The cop made his call and handed the handheld radio to the teenager.
“We’re almost at the park entrance that’s across from Dante’s Inferno. No, the cop is sick. He told me to tell you where we were.”
The young man stood on tiptoe. He had lost sight of Earl and, with him, his skateboard.
“Yeah. Yeah. The chicken wing place. That’s the one. Okay, the guy who’s hurt is wearing a pink dress shirt and khaki pants. Those are on backwards, he’s on a skateboard, and he has a arrow sticking outta his ass. Oh yeah, and the cop said to tell you that he’s drinkin’ cinnamon schnapps. The hell you mean, what’s his name? Yo, a cub scout could recognize him from what I just told you! They’re on the way? Okay. Yeah, he’s outta breath, but he’s all right. Two ladies got up and told him to sit on a bench. Yeah, I’ll tell him.”
The kid handed the radio back to the officer. “They said the paramedics are in transit. Man, I hope that dude don’t screw up my plank.”
Patty ran like an Olympic athlete to catch up with Earl. She grabbed him by his shirt, spun him around, and stopped him just before he collided with a parked animal-control truck. Two paramedics leaped from the truck and rushed over to Earl.
“Yup. He’s the guy, all right. Man, lookit that arrow!”
Patty got between the medics and her fiancé. “Hey, we don’t need animal control! We’re waiting for an ambulance.”
“This is it, lady. Our unit has a dead battery, and the dog cops said we could borrow their truck. You want us to help your friend or not? We’ll lay him on his stomach in back and get him to the hospital in less than 15 minutes. Whaddya say?”
A police cruiser pulled up. A bald man wearing blue briefs sat in the back, singing “Oklahoma” as loud as he could. A longbow and a quiver full of arrows lay across the front seat.
“Hey, guys. We didn’t find him; he found us. Said he shot at a dinosaur and missed; asked me if I saw his arrow go by. Lordy, it must be a full moon or something.”
The skateboarder ran up to the cruiser. “Yo, dudes. I need my skateboard, man. The guy with the arrow in his ass had it.”
Patty walked over to the young man and, before she returned his skateboard, kissed him full on the lips.
“Oh shit, lady. Whatcha do that for?”
“Thanks for your help. We’ll get Earl to the pound now and patch him up.”