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Tue11212017

Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

Thursday, 06 October 2011 18:19

Passersby

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He waits. Chewing on the inside of his dry mouth and flicking his tongue across his teeth as if digging out a piece of pork. Hands deep in the coat pockets and shoulders raised to his jaw as smoke trails across his yellow face. The cold bites his ears. He waits.

His eyes give him away. Anyone who walks by can’t help but notice. Eyes shifting back and forth from the street to his shoes and back to the street. The thin, sepia colored light casting his long shadow across the front door to the strip club, conjuring an apparition. His eyes give him away.

Another man is coming. Long, purposeful strides, his legs like a crane. A grim figure nonetheless, his silhouette suggesting an image from the late Victorian-era as his coattails flap like a cape. About 20 yards away the man stops, his feet skidding on the damp walkway, shouts “I am with you in Rockland...,” turns right and crosses the street. His eyes give him away.

The inside of his mouth starts to bleed from his incessant chewing and flicking and dabbing of his tongue, the liquid metallic and copper-like. Moisture at last. He has a headache, directly behind the frontal bone of his skull. In his left hand is a baggie with crushed Xanax which he pinches between his right thumb and pointer and snorts, licks the tip of his finger, shoves his hands deep into his pockets without wiping his nose. He lists to the side.

He waits. Grips his right hand around something hard, tinny. He fingers the metal piece, cocking and un-cocking the hammer; bound to pull a Barney Fife. The gun was picked up from a junkie at the abandoned church where he used to squat, he didn’t pay for it...at least not with cash. His eyes flutter and he feels dizzy. He waits for her.

Down the wet, dark street is a figure. Standing. Looking at him. Looking into him. Dr. Benway starts to move towards him, medical bag in hand, snarl on his lips. He loosens his grip on the pistol as a patrol car speeds by, siren pealing and fades into the sad, misty night. He flits his eyes back to Benway who’s much closer now, but it’s not Benway, it’s the nurse from Hudson River. He diverts his yellow eyes back to the street as the figure passes. His eyes give him away. He remembers the days in the Hospital. He remembers the treatments prior to being redefined, deinstitutionalized.

A familiar form walks in his direction. “Son, I never meant to hurt you. I was trying to help.” He waits.

He waits for what feels like centuries and split seconds at the same time until she comes out. He grips the gun and pulls it from his pocket. She steps down onto the walk, her short dress inching up her thigh as high heels click on the wet cement. He looks into her vacant eyes, devoid of recognition. His eyes give him away. “Creeper” the woman’s voice curses him. His stomach empties onto the front of his coat, his fingers slowly unwind from the gun one by one. It drops to the sidewalk with a clack. He does nothing. His eyes gave him away.




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Christian Williams

Christian Williams lives in Hyde Park, NY with his wife and three children and sells plants for a living. This is his debut online publication.

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