March 31, 2008

She stood completely naked in front of me except for the little pair of white panties in her hand. “He used to pay an extra five bucks to take close-up polaroids of my pussy afterwards.” I turn my back on her and carry on rooting through her medicine cabinet. “I’m not him, sweetheart. I’m not him.” Fuck. No more of those damned horse pills. She walks towards me and places her hands on her hips. Simultaneously sweet and threatening. “Whose blood is that on your shirt, Queenan?” I glance down at my ruined shirt and shrug. “No-ones.” More blood – my blood – throbs in my temples. I take two aspirin and wash them down with a cup of Mexican water. “You shouldn’t drink that water, Queenan.” I shouldn’t do a lot of things, but I still do them. I walk through to the bedroom, remove my wingtip shoes and lay back on the bed. Wordlessly, she joins me. I smoke one of her brown cigarettes but my head still feels swollen with disaster. The hum of the air-conditioning unit soundtracks my torpor. I can’t afford to breathe in this town. Next to me, she lies naked, at peace. Her feet are gutter-grimy, her psyche is a vague smear informed by airport novels and narcotic over-stimulation. I close my eyes, but my memories are just like scars. Her platinum wig lays askew on the pillow. I can see the brick-coloured hair underneath. I reach across and then pause. In the corridor I hear canned gunshots and slurred obscenities. The gun shivers in my hand. The door-frame cracks. Her drugged smile disintegrates. The end is suddenly beautifully inevitable.


Bio: Tom Leins is from Paignton , UK . His short stories have been published in Texts’ Bones, Open Wide Magazine, Orphan Leaf Review, Interlude and Front&Centre + online at 3am Magazine, Dogmatika, Straight From The Fridge and Muzzle Flash Fiction. He works as a film critic and is currently hard at work on his first novel Thirsty & Miserable. Get your pound of flesh at www.myspace.com/tomleins


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