You must admit it’s cliché (trite) to say you never thought you’d live to see whatever ripe old age you are, even if you said so for years and meant it. Even alone in a public toilet, eyes locked on your own eyes in the mirror drying hands (mindlessly) on rough brown paper. Hands minutes ago sticky with blood. No, that’s too provocative. You’re no killer (not yet). Nor some sad victim of circumstance who stumbled upon a dead (or nearly) body only to get bloody checking for a pulse. And though you’ve not been stabbed yourself or shot, the blood is yours or was before it got washed down the drain, and here you are (possession being nineteen-twentieths everything) talking to yourself (stalking yourself) your reflection in polished metal, saying you always thought to die by twenty, or twenty-two surely. So that every subsequent birthday hasn’t been so much a gift as a surprise (reprise?) something you didn’t want particularly, certainly didn’t ask for, but yours all the same. And the blood? It doesn’t matter. That’s your problem, always needing to know who did what to who (to whom?) and the bus schedule for every possible route home from the airport, the train station, the district courthouse. That’s why your life is what it is. Why you’re all the time waiting for it (something) to happen. It being “death,” though some say “life.” Which, depends on what you covet and expect, your goals, your innermost desires. But we don’t talk about those in this big-shouldered city. You want to confess best find a priest (or priestess) preferably one that doesn’t speak your lingua. Leave it in the confessional where it belongs. A body can only waste so many years banking on that big lotto payout, anyhow. Those numbers are rigged. Might as well toss your wallet on the train tracks and let the wheels screech your dollars to a smoldering halt. And your driver’s license if you’ve got one. And that prescription card from when you used to have health insurance. Everything you carry slashed and burned to charred leathery strips. That’s a personal apocalypse, the destruction of the billfold self, one’s portable official record. Step right up and see actual human combustion. Watch as it (genderless) ceases to exist while the breathing persists before your very eyes (your very eyes). Any fool can tell magic from a trick. One takes finesse, the other your watch. You stick a pistol down the back of your pants, your shirttail better keep it covered or else somebody will hand it to you (barrel-first). Or worse. Best you back the hell on out of here, one foot after the other the rest of existence. Until your knees rupture or a hip goes bust and the welfare wheelchair breaks its welds. Raise the side-rails on the rented hospital bed and discover yourself a comfortable position because that’s what it’ll all be down to one day. Whether you get a decent night’s sleep. Whether your arm stays numb after you stretch it a thousand times and wriggle every last finger. Blame your youthful bad habits. Whatever didn’t kill the liver made it less lively these many years later. You’re yellow with envy having doubled your indemnity on a policy too leveraged to pay. Brown paper worn smooth by friction grown second nature. The always empty soap dispenser another reminder of your decay, signaling the world looming (large) up behind. Watch over your shoulder, but it won’t matter. What you can’t (or won’t) perceive can still hunt you down. Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean you shouldn’t practice good hygiene. Specific statistics aren’t needed to understand the vile reality of certain door handles or that every room entered won’t finally provide exit. That sucking sound is one of those jet-engine type toilets that purifies with the force of mechanical conviction. Not every gifted inventor (investor) gets their fair share of credit or wants it. Ask any creator (creditor) to distinguish satisfaction from guarantee, you’ll get a different answer every time. Then nothing but the same old rehearsed speeches forever thereafter, a world and a day without end. Until the burning flood of hail topples over the world’s wailing walls. Until the light which orbits this spiraling planet sets easterly on us its desperate (disparate) masses. This planet set to self-destruct a mere millennia or two from today. You, yourself & I. Me, myself & the few hundred million body-doubles who pass us (for us) on celluloid. All our motion pictures reduced to gray frameless montage. Our talkies turned silent (mundane). Our very Armageddon again and again wound down to cinders. Wounds stanched with white muslin faint yellow against turquoise (urinal cake) sky.
The armies we raised falling in on us (armies armed against Armageddon again & again, so forth & so on).
White muslin flags repurposed to stanch the wounds red against yellow sky. •
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