Blinding Lights

We’re cramped in a room that’s too small to be a walk-in closet, gathered around a bed covered with a blue sheet; a woman lays there naked from the waist up. Neon red buzzes and flickers from the ceiling while my camera lens cups her face in its reflection. Click. The strobe of white drowns out the red above.

“Shit, my eyes!”

“Sorry. Just need a few more pics.” Everyone knows the drill.

Her face is a delicate oval with skin of light brown caramel mottled with blotches of green and gray. She was…is beautiful. I wonder if she knew or did it all happen in a flash? It doesn’t matter. Only thing left is to file it and clean up. Strands of shoulder-length hair, black as her dilated pupils, fall disheveled over the bed. She carries a smile that’s starting to give the faintest hint of a grin. I almost smile back as a reflex.

“I hate it when they do that.”

“Do what?” I know the answer, but still ask my stupid question.

“Smile. Fucking rigor mortis.”

Click. Her glassy stare shines at me like two lonely stars for a second before going dark again. There’s a small gaping hole at the center of her forehead surrounded by a purple bruise. Under her head, a dark red stain has spread and soaked over the blue sheets.

“Poor girl got a .38 kiss, probably a few days or so by the looks of it.”
“And the smell. Jesus.” You never get used to it. Not really.

“Yeah.” I chime in while I look at her through the camera’s viewfinder.

“Third one this week.”

Someone lights a cigarette, mingling the stench of smoke, blood and more than a tinge of singed rotting flesh. Click. White over red, red over blue. Click, click, click. I wonder what’s her name.

“Somebody call the morgue. Tell’em were sending a ripe one for cold storage; she’s starting to stink up the place.”

Sweat trickles down your chest, your body crying in fear. Run, run, run! Satan’s hell hounds are not far behind. The lights from speeding cars blind you, but you can’t stop. Only you can fulfill His work, ingrate as it is. You feel the gun’s warmth in your hand. Another sinner cast out, a junky corrupting his flesh, and some time ago before, the harlot who tempted your purity. But you were stronger than all of them, and their red blood is spent. Now they’re on to you, these devils in blue; you’re out of breath.

“Stop, police!” Out of time.

Row upon row of glass, brick and mortar buildings encroach upon you, caging you in. “Drop the gun, drop it, man!” There is no escape.

“Do it now!”

Gnarled trees on the sidewalk shiver their leaves. There is no fear. You turn around, catching the glint of a cross in the distance. It rests faithful atop Christ’s house. You raise your divine instrument; you shall not go to your just reward meekly.

“Oh fuck, fire!”

Flashes of light tear your body, then darkness.

“Yeah, man, shit went down! I was walking on 5th when across the street a group of cops were chasing some guy inna black trench coat, right? Ok, good. Yeah, they cornered the poor fucker, but instead of giving it up, the guy starting talking shit. Sumthing about God, crazy talk, y’know? The pigs were shouting at him like crazy too, ‘drop the gun, lay on the ground’, all that bullshit. Man, their faces were red and blue. But he didn’t listen, cool as ice, he raises the gun. Was he gonna shoot at them? Fuck do I know? Anyhow, it was all over in a blink, man. Bam, bam, bam, lights out. Dead fucker’s on the floor leaking all over, prolly crapped his guts out too. Cousin told me dead people do that, just empty themselves. After that cops were all like ‘Show’s over, move along.’ They were shining flashlights all over the place, almost blinded me. Buncha assholes, fuck’em. Anyways, I gotta deliver some fine Colombian white flour before this rain drowns me. Laters.”

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Mementos from Sufrida Street: Love is a Four Letter Word

“Love makes the World go round, baby!”
 
His smile was like liquorice in my head. I hated liquorice.
 
“Love’s also a bitch.”
 
The trigger offered no resistance when I pulled it. A gunpowder orgasm mixed a a cocktail of noise and lighting that filled the room. Grey and red painted a Pollock on the far brick wall.
 
One second my revulsion made man, the next, a crumpled dead thing on the floor. His face looked better now. The neon buzzing outside the room’s window drilled my head after the ringing in my ears stopped.
 
Saturday evening and nowhere to go. Love kills, baby.

How they Met

He made no apologies for who he was, but in this town there were those who considered they’d be better off if he were gone. At twenty he was lucky to know who he was. Now if only he could leave this small town.

“Hey, hey, lookit the fucking fag! Where you going, princess? Don’t you like men following you? C’mon, talk to us!”

They laughed and jeered at him. A wrong turn at the wrong hour. He would keep walking and soon enough they would get bored of him. Older men like them always did. 

The blow came fast and unexpected from the side of the head and his vision swam drunkenly as he staggered, trying not to fall. Tears streamed from his eyes, more from the indignity than the pain.

“Ha! Fairy’s crying now! Aw, I’m sorry, baby! Want to suck my cock to feel better?”

“Careful Sam, bitch might bite it off or give you aids or some fag shit.”

He had to get away, before they hurt him more, or worse. He had to…

“Party’s getting started, princess!”

Suddenly the ground rushed to meet up with him and his vision went black for a second. The taste of copper filled his mouth. He scrambled to get up but felt a weight on bis back pinning him down.

“Down on your stomach, just how you like it!”, a laugh that sounded like crushed leaves filled his ears. He reached out blindly with his hands on the alley’s dirty floor and felt himself grabbing something heavy. Maybe a brick, to bash his attackers’s faces in.

Before he could do anything, he heard one of the men scream behind him followed by the sound of a falling body. Almost immediately the weight upon his back was lifted. Painfully he turned around to see the man confronting a newcomer, the body of his comrade lied facedown unmoving.

“You piece of shit, you killed Sam! I’ll fucking kill you!”

“Try me, pendejo.”, the young man replied calmly. The other man had pulled a switchblade and was swinging it menacingly.

“Cut your balls, shove them up your ass; you’re dead, man!”

The young man did not reply this time, but slowly started to circle the other man, clicking his tongue at him. The older man lunged at him when he’d had enough. With unusual grace, the young man sidestepped him, tripping him with one foot and delivering a fierce knee blow to his face shattering his jaw. He fell back, teeth falling aside, and laid still.

The young man went over to help him up from the ground, still stunned after seeing such a calm display of force. He was a bit ashamed to admit it, but he was flustered all of a sudden.

“You ok? Did those shitbags do anything permanent?”

He shook his head, wincing in pain.

“Nothing that a few pints of ice cream and a good night of rest won’t cure. I’m Julio.”, he extended a hand towards the young man. The young man found himself blushing when he saw Julio was smiling at him. Before long he started smiling back and reached out to shake Julio’s hand

“I’m Macario. Pleasure t’meet you, Julio!”