The moment I spotted him I sensed trouble.
It was his head that first attracted me. Well, his hair. Shaved from temple to temple, leaving his top with a thick, oblong mass of black hair and a four-inch ponytail, this was one unique dome. A cranium meant for a WWE ring,or X-Men movie. A crown whose owner was not to be messed with, unless…
Then I took in the rest.
Broad-shouldered, about six-foot, six-one, the dude was dressed head to foot in black — boots, trousers, t-shirt and vest, with a dangerous-looking dull-black gun in a shiny-black holster riding high on his right hip at four o’clock.
Wyatt Earp, anyone? Or Paladin (Have Gun – Will Travel) for you even older folks? Only this handgun resembled a Glock 29 or Sig-Sauer P220, not a six-shooter — even if Wyatt’s barrel was about nine inches long.
His stride was purposeful, confident, bordering on menacing. His dark eyes were focused. I watched closely, expecting … expecting, not distracted by the handful of people on this weekday.
Then came the Aqua Velva moment: he stepped into a footwear store and nodded, non-menacingly, even reassuringly, to the clerk.
The Aqua Velva slap-slap? We were in an outdoor mall in Freeport, Maine, I reminded myself. This terrorist-in-waiting is the mall cop. Perhaps destined for greater heights but, right now, a security cop.
Rest easy, all you mall shoppers and store employees.
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