• Dzama


Tony sat on the edge of the brook, bare feet in the water, tugged at slightly by the gentle current. A large hole had been blown clear through his chest but he still swayed back and forth. He watched the minnows swim circles in the clouds of blood billowing in the water. His own gun sparkled down among the green pebbles. Some twigs snapped behind him but he didn’t turn to see. He swayed and stared. The trees lost their dimension and became sharp black veins silhouetted in the rosy pink sky.

You ain’t a farmer, a voice said from somewhere in the wood behind him. Tony’s right hand made a twitch toward his empty holster. Ripples in the brook reflected the sunset and the empty white sky above.

A kid sat next to him, arms hugging boney knees. A farmer would have done run away a long time ago. The kid spat into the water. Hey, is that your gun? The kid looked at him. Can I have it? He stared at his white feet in the water. Hey, are you dead? The kid leaned in, peering. You ain’t dead. But that’s a pretty big hole. What are you gonna do about that hole?

The kid waded into the water and then submerged for a minute to lift out the nickel-plated pistol. This thing fires good?

Just then a cloud of crows flew overhead, crying their bitter cries and the kid pointed the gun at them, pulling the trigger repeatedly CLICK CLICK CLICK.

I’m gonna let this dry out, he said, and turned toward the forest. He looked back at Tony’s motionless body, feet still dangling in the water. CLICK!

Tony’s eyes moved, following as the kid found his way up through the brambles, finally disappearing among the trees.

He thought he heard the kid singing in a distant, high-pitched voice. Then it was quiet.

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