When you know, you just know. Like I knew. I didn’t even have to smell it to know. The fact that small chunks of partially digested carrots and chicken were dried onto his pants had no bearing on my knowing. The shiny bubbly black slick that covered the vinyl upholstery had nothing to do with my early enlightenment. I knew there was smoldering Marlboro red’s jammed into a too full ashtray well before I could see the haze. The gun would not be found until sometime tomorrow morning during the impounded search. I was aware simply because I have the gift. That is what those that don’t have it call it. I know it to be more like a job. A gift is given with the expectation that the giver cares for the receiver. That the receiver is some how appreciative of the gift. This of course based on some mutual respect, or more appropriately, affection. No, this was not given by a friend, or a loved one. This was not voluntarily received, but more closely thrust upon an unexpected stranger. Like a task or project to an employee by an overbearing insensitive boss.

Black Bra
She stood over him and kicked the gun away under the bed. She let him see she had no panties. The blood was dribbling out the corner of his grim mouth, but she could see his eyes faintly smiling. As she retied the ribbon in her hair, she bent low so he would hear, “I told you to stop.” She stepped her stiletto on his right palm, giving a little twist as she walked away trying to make her shirt close without its buttons. His gasp, oddly enough, was both gargled and raspy. Her black bra stood out from her pale opal skin almost as if it sucked away the hazy light from the swinging overhead.

Jackson was leaning over the counter looking at the woman who had just fainted. “Just my luck.” he walked around in front of the counter and tried to push her out of the way. He had to wait for the emergency vehicles to arrive. It would probably take a few minutes, but there was nothing he could do for her as she was wearing one of those new protective suits. His mark was due at any moment, and now this.

“Every god damned time!”, Agwert briskly rinsed the razor and continued with the left side. He liked his new side burns and was careful to even them up. His thoughts shifted back to Sadie. He wished she would keep her damn mouth shut. Just once.

Make It Up
“Tuesday” Dalia paused while waiting for a response. “Hello?”
“Sorry, I was checking with Sherri.”, Grecian’s voice sounded aggravated. She knew how much he was annoyed by having to have dinner with her parents.”Tuesday is good… We can meet at 7:30… I will reserve a table for the four of us.”Dalia leaned low in her cube in order to gain some privacy, “I will make it up to you.” She breathed into the phone.

Upcoming Trip
I could feel my heart slowing. My breath harder and harder to push out, like the last bit of toothpaste; eluding, yet there.A pity that all I can see is the green and black speckled mold creeping out of the grout like tiny soldiers. Oh wait, theres some of my blood. That is truly a beautiful contrast to the yellowing tile. I wonder if it will be cool or warm when it touches my cheek. I wonder if I will even be able to feel it.The pain of dying has subsided, shock no doubt, and I am simply left within my skull to ponder this new journey. Where will it take me? What will I see? I hope it smells better than this. Here we go…

I wish my brother would just do it already. He really needs to face his fears. Mom truly had no idea the damage she caused by constantly joking about the drain. I wonder how long it’s been? I know he has gone months before; seems like at least a couple weeks now. I should ask.”Gah! That fucking alarm. “Hey! Can we get that thing to stop?””It’s set on a timer.” The clerks head turned to face me.”Wow, now there’s a fucking surprise! Where is the fucking bell?”Again, the clerk provided the answer, “In the back office.””Jesus Christ,” my free hand went to my ear. I jumped down from the counter, “Can you show me?”The clerk got to his knees, “Don’t even think about being a hero, cause I will fuck the back of your head with this thing,” He rose to his feet and slowly walked along the other side of the teller counter, stepping over the other clerks as he headed toward the door to let me in.”Hey bro, how long has it been?””For what,” he did not look away from the guard. I can’t imagine looking into his eyes at this moment. The guard was probably wishing he wasn’t.”Since your last shower. You stink!” He pulled the gun out of the guards mouth and pointed it at me.

Little Pleasures
He peered again through the lens, and waited for them to exit. They should be out already. Where were they? Perhaps the weather was causing the delay. He looked through the sunroof, there were some ominous colors encroaching.He thumbed the safety, sat up and pulled the handle up over the cooler. He popped the lid and rewarded himself with a juice box. He preferred the Juicy Juice brand. The tropical flavor was his favorite. Pulling the plastic bendy straw from it’s protective wrapping, he plunged the sharpened end into the box like an ice pick into a temple. Sucking out the last in a single motion; squeezing and sucking in a paired synchronized effort to speed the process. Setting the masticated container to the steel floor of the old ambulance, now his mobile home, he thumbed the safety and peered through the lens.

Christmas Morning
“Put the fucking paper down,” I reached over and ripped the Santa and sleigh red, fur tree and wreath green paper from her hands. She was neatly folding it after not even tearing it. “I am talking to you. Do you hear me?” She had that look…in her eyes. That look saying my chest is tight and I can’t feel my heart beating.”You are not going and that is final. I can not endure another discussion on it!” I look at Santa’s ear, or is it the gold runner of the sleigh, from the torn pieces now littered around my feet.”You no longer have any say in what I do, as of this moment, I am no longer your possession.” She rose and stepped on Santa’s face as she moved towards the back hall.

My eyes ached. I was up much too late and was reading in too little light. I checked the clock, 3am. Shit. I gotta get to bed. Maybe I won’t be bothered tonight. Maybe.I closed the book, leaving the english muffin bag tag holding my place. I pushed some folders to the floor as I slid the hard cover across the small surface of the nightstand. I reached for the light and saw her dirty fingers clawing at my beige carpet through the Polaroid that jutted from the blue folder.”Damn it,” I slipped my legs out from the covers, sat at the edge of my bed and doubled over to pick up the folders. Two red and the one blue. Red meant fresh and new, blue was getting cold. The red folders I just got this afternoon. The blue was red just 3 weeks ago. 3 weeks and not a single lead. Well, no leads except for the frozen testicles in her freezer.