@ m|lE 0u+ 0f +oWn [orig] ©

r€@d b€$+ w|+h mU$iC //sEe be|0w

Each time he regained consciousness, the man cried, “I’m in hell!”  I slid my hand into my pocket for a cigarette and looked down at his wretched figure . His face was covered with terror. He slipped in and out of consciousness not having a minute’s peace left.

His pleads went unforgiven. “I can’t go back!” sobbing and gasping for breath. Whatever kindness I gave him would be his last.

He lay there on the hard pavement, twisting into grotesque shapes. I whispered a Hail Mary, reached down, and slipped his wallet from his backpocket. Eternity couldn’t come soon enough. Chilled by the fog drifting in off the bay, I flipped the collar on my coat but stopped. An acrid smell filled my nose. Something was burning.

“Come to bed Sawyer, I am lonely for you,” Fifi cooed. I’m Sawyer, Sawyer VanZant. The girl was FiFi Prideaux, no bigger than a minute and as shy as a butterfly. I wouldn’t have traded her for a farm in Georgia.

“I’m gonna cut your tail if you’re not careful.” I smiled.

“Woo, do you promise Sawyer?”

“Yes, maam.”

She jumped off the bed, “Do not tease me…”

The window was wide open. Fifi tiptoed across the threadbare carpet.

Her tits pressed against my neck. I breathed in her scent. Damnit. I had promised Ghost the packet would be ready in the morning. He was my best client. Fifi would just have to play quietly with herself until I finished.

As if.

I was an eraser and provided the means for someone to disappear. I didn’t ask about the whys. Take your pick. Wifebeaters, police, the bad guys. Just a roll of the dice. And people paid me well for this vanishing act. Was it Illegal? With a tail on it but in the words of Billy Shakespeare, “Fair is foul and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air.” Better crack another window.

Our government helps nearly ten thousand people disappear every year. These white rabbits are given a new social security number, money, and a carrot. They are snitches, class A pieces of S-H-I-tut who will never be able to shake the moment of hesitation each time they open a door or walk to their car and start counting down the last seconds of their wasted lives by the clockwise twist of the ignition key.

I had no contact with the end-user. I took orders only through brokers. Less headaches that way and I had no desire to slip into the night because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

I started doing business with Ghost about three months ago. His orders alone paid my bills with money to spare. I had heard he helped women in domestic situations, maybe a few runaways willing to get up on the pole down at Roxy’s long enough for a down payment. I know you can change your identity but can you be born twice?

I put a cigarette between my lips and thought back to when I first started smoking. Nicotine stained memories. Ever wonder what a man on death row is thinking when he stops, looks up at his executioner and says “Gotta cigarette?” I know now.

I know now.

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