He was leaning over the sink with his face in the mirror, pressing the swelling on his cheek when she appeared in the doorway, tears still travelling to her chin.
I’m sorry, she said. He didn’t answer. He found his eyes disturbing, staring back at him, older than he had ever seen them, a crack in the iris here, a yellow stain there. He wanted to scream. He wanted the strike the glass. But his years kept him steady. Those childish reactions were bodies strewn on the path behind him. So many bodies. So many mistakes. So many lost opportunities. He wondered how festering his body would look in a few years on her path. How far into her body count would she have to peer to see his rotting corpse? Not very far, I suppose, he said aloud, confusing her, wringing more tears from her eyes. I’m so sorry, she told him, I didn’t mean to hit you. Yes, you did, he said. He finally snapped the tether holding his eyes to their reflection and turned to her. You meant everything and so did I.
"I tell my wife this will just take a second as I stop the car and throw it in park. She fires a threat at me, something like, If you even think about getting out of this car... I slam the door behind me and jog across the bricks to the sidewalk where the old guy is lying face down. A horn honks. Other vehicles are stacking behind our sedan. His overturned wheelchair is on his back, gripping him like a drowning man. At least two other pedestrians steer around him and keep moving before I reach him. I ask him if he has any needles or weapons on him that might stick me and he says no and thank you several times before I make quick work of getting him upright and back into the chair. He doesn't weigh a thing. He smells awful. His breathing is rapid. Is something wrong? I ask him. Are you having an attack or something? No, he says, I just hit that hole and fell over. So you're okay? I don't need to call anybody? No, he says. Thank you, he says. When I'm behind the wheel again, she immediately sees the blood on my shirt. She asks if it's mine. I tell her no. After a few blocks, she loses her temper and slaps me across the cheek. My marriage ends within the year."
The Blood, two more short stories and my novel are available for download at Amazon.com
"After Randal makes a remark about typical bureaucratic comedy, the captain prods him on his political views to which Randal freely affirms his belief in a stateless society. The captain tells him anarchism has never struck him as a very foresighted option and he asks what Randal is going to do when all these government services disappear and the schools fall to pieces and the economy is flipped upside down. That’s not the question, Randal says, the question is, what are you going to do, sir? The captain laughs and says, I suppose I’ll still be fighting for democracy. You don’t need democracy to do coke and sell cheap smokes, captain. Democracy pays the bills, man; democracy lets me shoot wetbacks from the deck of a fucking warship, bro; speaking of weapons, I have a huge sword collection down below I have gotta show you. I’m sure you do, sailor, but I don’t swing that way. The trio enjoys a hearty laugh until Van Horne’s cough returns. When the captain insists again on showing them his swords, Van Horne tells him he’s not a fan of weapons, doesn’t own one, a remark that will later escalate to near argument during the flight back to the Keys. Randal will remind Van Horne of the captain’s instability and the stupidity of telling volatile people with weapons that you don’t have any. You can’t control a lie, Van Horne will tell him, you can use a lie to control people for a little while but eventually every lie takes on a life of its own and then it’ll turn on you. But you didn’t even have to lie, Chris; you just had to keep yer trap shut. And then there will be a brief debate on who should be giving whom advice on when to keep one’s mouth shut but before all of this, the captain’s special forces contingent reports a small vessel suspected of contraband moving north between the patrol ship and the coast. When asked for orders, the captain calls for the surface guns to open fire and he gleefully shows Randal and Van Horne grainy green images of villagers scampering from the trees to gather the 'white lobster' bobbing in the surf among the smoldering remains of the eliminated speed boat."
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Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.