RADIOACTIVE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS BY GABRIEL RICARD FROM LOVE AND QUARTERS
His brother’s gun hasn’t been in the glovebox for fifty years, and the car hasn’t been the hot rod that ate certain parts of Chicago in almost as long.
That poor pistol never got to rob a bank, or close in on the son of a bitch who shut the whole town down.
But he lives on, and he plans to stay young and deliriously stupid, until the supernatural finally remembers him, or until the tall, far-off buildings melt in that way that they used to.
Everything feels like the kind of Christmas decorations they don’t make anymore, and he considers one of the ex-wives who told him how dangerous it could be to live in an idea like that.
Not a drop of water for thousands of miles, she’d say, laughing like a celebration of lung cancer, and everybody stumbling around with the eyes of somebody else’s father. She was a sick woman, and she got worse when help went down for the count, and straight on into an extremely religious witness protection program.
He turns up the broken radio, and he marvels at the way his body is getting used to cigarettes again after ten long years.
Brother was even worse with them. Especially when he couldn’t even stagger to the store in the morning, to steal beer from the blind Chinese woman who ran the counter as though her shadow was enough. Too kind, too tired, well, it was one of those.
Eventually, there will be a way to tell him that a few things did eventually work out.
The imposter car climbs gently to 90 mph, and the blood coming out of his hands takes this in stride. He could do without it, but that would trying to figure out which of the old wounds is to blame.
And this is not that kind of day. Tomorrow looks awful, too.
He opens another beer, finally remembers the rest of the story he was trying to recall earlier, and assumes everyone is smart enough to get out of the way.