• Dzama

Hank Stops In

Hank hung onto the back of the garbage truck for about ten minutes before he was shot off by a volley of bullets. What was left of his body thunked to the ground and rolled a little as the truck peeled out, knocking over trash cans and sending garbage blowing all over the street. A couple of chubby gang-bangers reloaded their guns and went back down the alley to get stoned in the shadows.

Hank lay there, gaping holes in his chest and leg, blood quickly exiting his body. He thought about how perfect his chest once was, and his leg. Good luck picking up chicks now, he told himself. The blood kept flowing- he didn’t realize there was that much blood in the human body.

Rolling onto his side he struggled to get a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. Then he got out his blood-spattered cell-phone. Reading from the paper, he attempted to type in some numbers. A car sped down the street, barely missing him. Hank coughed, spat up blood. “Good Morning, Wentworth Feed Store,” someone said on the other line. “Goo–… Mo–…” Hank tried to say but he realized the futility. Better try texting. Now the phone was candy-apple red with blood and he had to wipe it on his shirt just to see the keypad. He found another number on the stained paper and began texting: “Ain’t comin in tonight.” He hit send and rolled over, expecting to die instantly.

Staring up at the sky the sun was blinding. He struggled to sit up, still alive, covering the hole in his chest with his hand. He picked up his sunglasses which had fallen nearby and re-bent them into shape before putting them back on. Then he got to his feet.

He made it to a nearby house, got the door open, and fell into the foyer, flat on his face, bleeding everywhere. Denise, the 18 year old who lived there, came running down the carpeted stairs and screamed when she saw the body. Then she grabbed his shirt and dragged him to the couch, propping him up. She faced him towards the TV, which was showing an inane daytime soap opera accompanied by loud commercials. She ran out of the house to get the neighbor, Mr. Bickels, who went back with her, brandishing his son’s baseball bat just in case.

When they got back to where Hank sat propped up, looking like he was watching TV, they discovered he had, in fact, just died. All that was left was to call 911 and have all the officials barge in.

With all the ensuing commotion going on in the foyer, Mr. Bickels and Denise sat in the downstairs guest-room and tried to recover from the shock. They shared coffee with whiskey in it and he squeezed her hand, saying “it’s gonna be all right” over and over like a broken record. When they ran out of whiskey they stared down the hall and waited, Mr. Bickels repeating his useless mantra. “Stop saying that,” Denise said, pulling her hand away. “I’m going to go see what they’re doing,” she said. He watched her as she walked away down the hall. Then he just sat there, wondering if there was a chance the gang-bangers would shoot him, too.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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