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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

From "Roll of the Die" by Sean P. Bridges


Riley and Joey sit in the parking lot of Joker's Wild nightclub.  The gambit is accepted.

The windows in the sedan fogged up.  Riley wipes away condensation, axel grease from his jacket smears across the glass.  Joey stares at the keys in the ignition, his hands squeeze the steering wheel.

“I know you’re here with no warning.  And I know how this sounds, I do.  If you need a reason, you’re not doing this for me; you’re not doing this for you.  You’re doing this for Carol.  You’re doing this to keep your wife breathing, and you can fog up a car with her for years to come.  Or you can go home and in a few days you can identify her corpse in the fucking morgue.  Just give me minutes, that’s all I’m askin’, and I’m out of both of your lives, forever.  Now watch my back, and think about her and let’s fucking do this and let’s get it done.”

Joey grabs his revolver, and shoves it inside his coat.  He scratches an itch on the back of his neck, and punches the steering wheel twice.

“Okay.  Are you ready?”

“No.  No, I’m not fucking ready, you asshole.”

Carol dances through his mind.  Her olive green eyes and the crinkled smile she gets when she has something to say.  Her face curled up against his chest, peacefully asleep.  The same face, tear-streaked and haggard behind the visiting room Plexiglas of the Trenton penitentiary.  And cold and dead under a cloth sheet on a metal table in some sterile dungeon.  He jolts away from the mental image; bends down and picks up the cold gun from the floorboard.  He slips it in his jacket.           

“You got fifteen minutes.  For Carol.  But Carol or not, I get a feeling, a bad vibe of any kind; I shut this down.  Understand?”

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