the change we carry

Featured on The Five Hundred

“Give me all you’ve got,” he said, his grainy voice choked by a life of sucking off the Marlboro man.

A similar addictive fix was the source of his desperation. He had spent time carving her name into his skin.

His yellow-stained, grey beard had started to align with his teeth and personality. Recently, he had started to feel like piss on the shoes of the black and white world around him.

The night air carried a city stench in it from all of the people that had eaten take out and taken shits before tucking their families into bed for the evening.

A streetlight flickered above. A shame that it’s last bits of life would be taken by a poor connection.

He glanced over at the bricks in the wall beside him and thought of how they build and break down lives.

Beneath his feet, a crack in the sidewalk created an uneven surface. Something so complete and concrete, splitting and losing its element of safety.

“Please don’t do this.” she replied, her voice quivering.

The pleading gave him an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach, then moved into his clenched fists.

“Give me all you’ve got,” the Smith and Wesson whispered into her ear.

Just below it, her earrings held up small bloodstone birthstones.

Her conservative blouse with flowers firmly planted in the fabric was being watered here and there by a tear or two. Her pencil skirt drawing conclusions of her new success for the rest of the world.

He looked down at her small hands. She had more in them than the purse she was tightly clutching. She had a family and friends and people who cared about her. She had a home and a yard and a dog.

She had so much more and there was only one way to take it, that he knew of.

“Give me all you’ve got,” he thought as he pulled the trigger and fragments of it all dripped down the brick wall beside them.

Her blood seeped into the crack in the sidewalk and metaphors seeped into his mind.

Nearby families would likely wake from the sound of the gunshot, but the bystander effect would put their minds at ease. He would have all the time in the world now.

He had spent so much time trying to be the husband she wanted him to be and then she’d left him behind. Took his life from him.

He bent down and picked up the small purse next to her body. 

Six bucks and a few pictures of their kids.

Should be enough for a pack of cowboy killers.