In that precise moment, Baxter Hicks realized he had made the biggest mistake of his life. It was not his undeniable death after trying to push a tractor up a steep hill in a snowstorm. Nor was it the bright idea to drive the tractor home from the bar after six or nine shots of tequila. It was not letting cabin fever get the best of him. It was not the cocaine mostly cut with baby laxative he bought from his shit for morals neighbor. It was not the mild diarrhea.
It was not ignoring the blood in his bowels. It was not leaving the toilet unflushed. It was not spending the last of his savings on a contribution to a cleverly disguised group of Communists or Isis pretending to be gypsy sympathizers. My God, who doesn’t love a good gypsy or two. It was not living in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
It was not purchasing cases of spoiled beer in which mold grew exponentially making the brew taste like utter dung. It was not denouncing God by setting fire to a stack of hymnals at the church, inadvertently burning it to the ground. It was not the hundreds of parking violations which led him to being the meh owner of a John Deere® tractor.
It was not how he decorated the tractor with cheap decals of primitive stick figures dancing. In the end, all the right pieces peeled off so it looked like overlapping swastikas. It was not the ridiculous high interest rate he agreed to paying, leaving him a serious monthly payment for seven years. Not that time mattered anymore. You see, that thing that sticks out of the back of a tractor for some functional reason had gored Baxter through the gut.
His biggest mistake happened years ago.
It was not taking that phone call from his mother two days before her death.