No More Silverbells, No more .38s, No 401k

Brandon looks at the pill vial in his shaking hand. The orange plastic vial almost sticks in his sweaty palm. The label says it’s prescribed by a Doctor George Napel. He has never met the man but blesses him for being so naïve. Slowly, like the most scared ritual, he taps a single pill out and swallows with fluid and practiced motion.

The night is cold, dark, and clear. On a night like this one could see the whole universe if one felt so inclined. Brandon keeps his eyes to the ground, measuring his breath and footsteps. He feels his heart slowly retreating backing into his chest where it belongs. The sweat stops and turns cold on his face. He walks one step at time, shaking off hesitance with each step closer to his goal.

He hears an ambulance blaring down the street. Ambulances seem to exist on their own plane of existence. When an ambulance passes you by, it doesn’t see you. It knows something is there, but only cares if it is a direct obstruction and never really cares what the obstruction is. Isolated by tragedy and urgency it shoots from point A to point B never really interacting with the between; an emotional wormhole.

Brandon is isolated too, not by urgency or tragedy but by enmity. He walks through people like water through a seethe. The streets are packed with people gobbling up post-Christmas bargains. Where once there was vague charity, now there is just the busy shuffling of people paranoid of theft looking at no one and seeing nothing except what’s ahead of them.

Light falls from overhead street lamps creating circles between darkness. There is just enough wind and just enough snow that it seemed liked the light had a physical presence. Brandon reaches out his hand, only to feel nothing but wet and cold. Between light posts the bit of sunshine he ingested takes hold and he’s suddenly smooth. The vinyl gloves slip on. Inside his pocket, he fingers the cold grip of a gun. He knows he has to do this. He is not so young as to believe her an innocent woman but he still feels pings of remorse.

The silhouette of a woman grows taller making Brandon all the more lonely. He carefully walks between lamp posts avoiding any eye contact but observing as much as possible. Her legs are pitch black with just the right amount of heft. Her hands are slender with eight rapier shaped fingers and two strangely fat thumbs. Her face is long and tired with a scar on the left cheek that enters into a conversation whether she wanted it to or not. Brandon does not believe people to be a sum of their parts but these were fine parts.

His hood pulls over his head shielding his face from a quick glance. He steadies his pace making uniform motion and modest demeanor. People move about the busy sidewalk, unaware of anyone else let alone Brandon in specific. He wears his shoulders low and he slows. He is within ten feet; the two minute warning in play. His breath could been seen in the air timed to a ten second pattern. His eyes don’t leave her knees. Suddenly they are passing. Brandon speaks.

“Are you Alyssa Matters, secretary to an April Sail?”


“Mr. Stikes resigns.”

She blinks, registering the name. She breathes deep for a scream.

“Mrs. Matters, your family would miss you very much.” The barrel can be felt in her side.

She exhales. “I’ll tell Ms. Sails you gave me your two week notice.”

“I thank you.” He walked back into the night.

She shivers as he disappears; the only natural reaction when these people pass. For his part, Brandon likes the alteration to the old routine as it is much less of a hassle. He’s finds Good King Wenceslas coming out pf him in an ascending roar. The revolver drops into a trash can. It is a nice gun but Brandon can’t use it anymore.