Bleakly 1

by

 

It was a quiet night. At least, it was as quiet a night as this city ever saw; post-rush-hour traffic whispered raucously through the blinds, squabbled, honked, screamed, sirens occasionally shouting down the rest of the din… but at least no gunshots. Not yet.

 

 

Quiet enough.

 

The real problem, as I saw it, was that I had five problems.

 

The first was lead poisoning. In this particular case, it wasn’t the toxic effects of the lead but the fragments buried in my shoulder, waltzing lazily with the nerve endings they could find there.

 

The second was the city’s aforementioned mumbling, which seemed never to lessen or cease. I’d say you can get used to it, if that were a true thing to say.

 

The third was an acidic memory laced with garlic and bad coffee. Cheap cigarettes almost helped to overload my tongue enough to ignore the persistent aftertaste of vomit (or was that the coffee?)

 

Fourth: a bouquet of mildew, smog and mold. Not that I’d have paid to remove that smell from my office, since it would have just come back- and the point was moot anyway. I was broke.

 

Fifth was the sight of the ugly damn room surrounding me, and all the reminders of the man who’d lived there the last seven or eight months, not at the least the small mountain of bills and notices which could no longer hide effectively on the corner of my desk to which they’d been relegated.

 

Luckily, I’d invested in a solution to all my problems. I tossed back another slug of my universal solution and pulled my hat over my eyes to expedite the solution to problem number five.

 

It was at that moment that the night stopped being so silent and became a lot more holey. Gunshots, bouncing up from the street like firecrackers making popcorn. I consulted my one and only trusted friend Remington, and his counsel, while mute, was more comforting than a preacher’s sermon or a dame’s cool voice gone warm with desire.

 

As I hazily registered footsteps approaching my door, I deduced from the amplified, then disappearing bronchitic purring outside that the commotion hadn’t been the expected gunshots but the backfiring of a poorly maintained taxi. Nonetheless, I kept two fingers on the revolver after clearing a few inches for it on the bill-cluttered desk. I used my free hand to pour another shot of whiskey.

 

Despite my strange abilities to take almost anything in stride, and their assets in the booze, I almost choked when the door opened.

It was a fucking robot.

 

 

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