EDMUND FICTION BY STEPHEN MORAN EXCERPT FROM SERVER
Scott walked along the boulevard with head hanging low as if he were staring at his own shoes. His fingers worked fast with energy, picking at his cuticles and cleaning the dirt from under his fingernails. As he passed the liquor store, the clock tower on the front side of the arts came into view. It was ten minutes to three. He shook his head and quickened his pace, all the while mumbling under his breath.
Edmund. He pronounced the last consonant hard with great distaste as he wrung his hands together. I’ll catch up with you one of these days. I promise you.
He continued walking with hands in constant motion. He ran fingers over his shaved head, feeling the bristles of short hair tickling his palm. Lifting his gaze to the sky, he laughed.
Of all people to cost me my job. He smiled, indeed, through his fit of laughter, which caused him to sway off course. I’ll get that man if it is the last thing I do. I just need to talk to her before I look for him. I need to tell her about last night.
He turned the corner at the coffee shop, leaving the boulevard behind and stepping out of the afternoon sun, happy to escape the sun’s glare. He passed along an alleyway. The shade a welcome relief, and his hands came to a rest. They hung limply at his sides, and he slowed his gait. Closing his eyes, he let out a sigh.
Stopping next to a dumpster, he lit a cigarette. He took a deep drag and scanned the alley. A smile parted his lips, softening his features. His shaved hair revealed scars on his scalp, and his dark brown eyes were ringed with the black circles of sleep deprivation.
He sat upon a milk crate and rested his face in his hands, talking to himself in a quiet, hushed tone.
Some might call it madness, and I agree there may be a hint of it, just a slight whiff, in this incessant hatred of him. For all these years passing does nothing to dampen the seething constant bile in my mouth I feel when I think upon his visage. Edmund! I wish to strike thee. I wish to call upon the many powers, terrible and wide to do thee harm. I will be revenged upon thee, Edmund. Wounds may heal, but indeed, memory does not fade. My hatred will not abate. But of her, but of her, that is something I shall not relish. She attempts to soothe my anger, to lessen the bitterness of him, of that day, but it is in vain. I wish she could understand.
He stood up as if pulled or yanked, flicking his cigarette to one side, and began to walk. His face showed no emotion. His eyes were straight forward, not seeing or caring to see the vagrant lying on his side in the alley. The sun shone at the far end of the way as a palpable heat in visible color. He made for it and exited the alley, turning brisk and sure to the left, not pausing a moment for afternoon shoppers. “It’s what I must do,” he muttered, passing the bookstore with the Chinese restaurant in sight. He looked at the clock through the window of the bookstore: 3:05. Stylishly late.
I love you. I always will. I just want you to know that this isn’t about you. This is something I must do. You know how I feel about him. You know this will never leave me until that moment I see him looking into my eyes, staring up into my eyes, knowing the time is close at hand. Please understand.
He rubbed his neck with his fingers, kneading tension and doubt. He approached the door with his hands once again moving, picking at his cuticles. Pulling the door open, Scott stepped into the restaurant.
Black leather, maître de, and stained glass. Gentleman, fat, looking at his gray overcoat. Lady in pink with water in her eyes. Captain with paid smile, pouring wine. Three ladies, pretty, average, and unremarkable, chatting without sound, husbandry. Empty space at the next table.
Scott halted next to the fat gentleman holding his gray overcoat and screamed, smashing the silent, dumb show of pretty, average, and unremarkable.
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