Reads: 143

It takes him a while to realize he isn’t dreaming anymore. Millie perches in the armchair by the window, watching him with eyes that make him want to be sick. His shirt is off and his wound is freshly wrapped. The bed is soaked with sweat.


“What the fuck, Alex.”

He struggles to sit up, head spinning.

“Seriously, what the fuck?”

“Listen, something… something happened.”

“That’s a gunshot wound.”


“A fucking gunshot wound, Alex?”

He holds his breath. “It is.”

She bolts up, paces around. Glances out the window, at the digital clock on the nightstand. It’s well after midnight. Al doesn’t know what to say.

“I don’t wanna know, do I? I mean, fuck, Alex. I’m not even gonna ask why you’re not in a hospital somewhere.”


“And don’t fucking tell me you were. A doctor with a fucking lobotomy wouldn’t let you walk out looking like that.”

“Listen. Just listen for a second.”

Her whole face twists, contorts into something unrecognizable. “I have to go.” She’s pacing around the room, grabbing things and throwing them into her bag.

“No, I’ll tell you what happened, just… sit down.”

“I don’t want to know what happened. I can’t, Alex. I mean, what kind of shit are you even mixed up in?”

“I know it’s bad. It’s…” It’s all my fault.

“Bad? No shit it’s bad. I mean I knew you dropped off the face of the earth but...” She shakes her head. Zips up the bag.

“I’m trying to fix it.”

Fix what?” She stares him down with an intensity that makes his eyes sting. “Fix what, Alex?”

He realizes he’s standing. Sits back down. He covers his face with his hands.

“What do you mean, fix it?”

He wants to tell her everything but his voice won’t come out. Staring into the palms of his hands he remembers the flashing of red and blue and the evil stench of gunsmoke and the shaking, splitting air on either side of bullets launching all around.

He raises a hand and points to his backpack at the foot of the bed.

Millie doesn’t respond right away. She stares at the pack for a good, long while and sits back down and stares some more. When she speaks again her voice is shaky.

“What’s in that bag, Alex?”

He can’t say. He starts to sob and shakes his head and he feels smaller than anything.


He doesn’t say a thing.

Millie stares at him, too scared to move.

Without breathing, without thinking or speaking a word he grabs up the pack, unzips it, and thrusts the wrinkled paper bag towards her. For a second Millie’s eyes widen in terror and she’s about to scream.

“Look.” It’s all he can manage to say.

She takes it and opens it up. Stares at the rolls of bills inside.

“What did you do?”

He wipes his eyes and stares at the floor. Stares at the TV. Stares at the bag.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen. It was just a simple handing off. But they’re bad people, Millie, and when the cops showed up… I swear, I didn’t… I just…”

Millie has tears in her eyes as she stands up, lays the money down and grabs her bag. She walks to the door and stops.

“I’m not going home. You’ll have to find another way.”

Al nods. “I never meant for any of this to happen.”

She doesn’t meet his eyes.

“Millie… I have to fix it.”

“You can’t.”

She’s gone.

Submitted: May 03, 2018

© Copyright 2021 keithdaniels. All rights reserved.


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