Rule Number Two
“Look, you can work me over as much as you like, but you won’t get what you’re lookin for. I run a tight business and I have rules. Rule number one, I never lay eyes on the employer. Rule number two, I don’t quit until the job’s done. Period. That’s the way I run my shop. If I end up strapped to a chair, getting tuned up by some cheap suits, I can’t rat. Bein a rat’s bad for business.” I said. I needed to kill some time; create some space to think. My hands were bound behind me so tight I couldn’t feel anything from the elbow down. Tony’s boys had worked me over pretty good and I couldn’t see out of my left eye.
Dead Ghosts Walking
Distance from my second floor window on Fourth Street to Anna’s apartment across the street was a canyon, a gulf stretching six thousand miles. Back to the place that haunted my dreams, made my hands shake, killed ambition and chilled friendships.
So shocked when I saw her face, the scarred left side of her cheek that she tried to cover with her long dark hair. But the eyes, her eyes were the same green I saw when she stared at me through the smoke after the gunfire stopped.
How the fuck could she turn up in my city, my block, across my street!
“. . . and so the animal activists remain disappointed as New Jersey’s Black Bear hunt began at dawn today. We are live from West Milford, New Jersey. Angelina Urisdae. Fox 5 news.”
Randall Beck switched off the television, picked up his hunting gear, checked his permit and headed out the front door. Outside he paused, breathing deeply filling his lungs with the cold, crisp December air. Great weather for hunting he thought until a piercing voice disrupted his musings.
“Good morning Mr. Beck.”
A frustrated sigh escaped Randall’s lips as he turned to regard his neighbor, Margaret Cassidy, or “magpie” Maggie as he called her. Beck glanced longingly towards his battered Ford pickup that sat several feet away from him.
Lions of Kraam
“Leave me! You are loathsome, ignorant, maddening!” the old lion grumbled, as he trudged through the depths of some forgotten forest. A sweet peal of laughter rang in his ears.
“You know, I think you enjoy my company, you old cat!” she giggled again and flew around among the tree branches above him. “And your grumbling entertains me to no end.”
“Sadistic. Detestable!” The old lion let out a whining roar.
"Are You A Robot?"
The wind sighed through the fruit-laden branches that hung over the park bench, sending the apples swaying like dancers in a ballet. The sky stretched overhead, blue and clear and cloudless, but for John Smith, it didn't seem a sunny day.
John sat on the green park bench by the side of the paved walking trail that wound through the park, leaning against the back. His eyes were closed and his head tilted back, the patterns of light and dark cast by the tree twisting across his face. A lady jogged by with earbuds and a stroller, oblivious to the tall man on the bench. He was happy there to sit and watch, or rather, listen, to the world spin around him.
House at the end of days
Ten miles beyond the city the river loses its momentum, drooling into a brackish estuary that feeds the bay.The boats that made the eastward journey out of Versia entered a lower landscape and to the south there were huts and rotten little jetties, from where rural laborers fished sticklebacks and bass.
From the decks, you could see over the fringe of hedgerow and trees and bramble to a tract of fields. This was the stubby end of the Grain Spiral, the long curl of farmland that feeds the city. Barges puttered between fields, on canals hidden by banks of earth and vegetation. They sailed between the metropolis and the estates. They brought chemicals and fuel, stone, cement and luxuries to the country.
Slug knocked back his double bourbon and looked at his watch. Death would be here soon, and he needed one more drink. He threw another five at the dancer attacking the pole in front of him and thought about his bladder. It was urging him to take a piss. He needed to get up, but those tits were perfect. How could a man walk away from something like that? He couldn’t and that was ok. Death would understand. Girls like Miss Perfect Tits never paid any attention to guys like him. Why would they?
Difficult to Explain
Jesus, I saw the vendor pick that up with his hands, his raw hands, not with the gloves like he's supposed to. She shouldn't buy that one. I could tell her, but I won't. It's best that she doesn't know, not now anyway, it would be so difficult to explain! At least she wore the purple overcoat today. Even if she gets sick from the vendor man, at least she won't get a head cold. It's just about the only weather-proof thing she has, what's she like? I should tell her about the sale in the little outdoorsy shop near where she works. She'd be able to pick something decent for the chilly months. That wouldn't be a great idea, not now anyway. Fuck, that would be so difficult to explain.