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Danine, Part 13
by joseph   September 30, 2005

stripper Jack and I drink and wait for Rebecca to come home. The sun keeps sinking. Glasgow Airport doesn't have good radar and so they don't fly past ten o'clock. Eleven o'clock comes and goes, then midnight, and neither of us says anything. But we're both thinking the same things; both of us have got a million thoughts running around in our heads. Jack tells me to get some sleep, but I tell him that I'm awake anyway. The phone rings and Jack's up and has got it on the first ring. He doesn't say anything--no one calling at four-thirty in the morning really needs a "hello," anyway. It's about thirty seconds later that he comes back in. He sits down.

"You awake?" he asks me.

"Yes."

"Davidson's got her. He and that short cocksucker've got them both," he says.

"What do they want?" I say.

He leans forward and runs his hand through his hair. "The tape."

"So we give them the tape. Look, I don't give a rat's ass what they do out there. Let 'em run coke, let 'em run M-16s to the fucking militias, I don't care. Let's just give 'em what they want," I say. My hands are starting to sweat, and I'm starting to feel sick.

"It's not that," he says. "They want the tape, but they want more than that. They want you." He lets that sink in. "And me."

"Fuck."

"After all, there won't be many people who'd miss us."

"Except us," I say. Jack almost laughs at that. He gets up and goes over to the hall closet, opens and pulls out his boots, then reaches in again. "So what are we gonna do?" I say.

He stands up, and he's got a .12-gauge in his hand. He looks at me with that somber stare of his. "Get them first."

I'm in the bathroom waiting to leave. Jack's in the bedroom getting dressed. I splash some water on my face. I feel my beard and realize I need a shave; I need a shower. I think of Calvin, for a second, back in high school. He made a career out of mooning the opposing football teams; it was the thing he lived for, driving up in his Fury and sticking his hairy white ass at their school bus when they were just about to leave. He did that whether we won or lost; we usually lost. The other team, they'd usually get mad and yell things at him, and sometimes they'd run out of the bus to get him, but he'd just drive off. I guess it was a big insult, having a guy like that moon you; to me, it seemed more disgusting than anything else.

I wish I could think of more. There must be more that I have to be thinking. Of Jenna, I know. I need to call her, to tell her what's happening. But I'm not so sure of that myself, so I tell myself I'll call her later. When I figure out what's happening to me, to everything around me. When I can stop thinking of Danine. And I do want to stop thinking of her. At least, that's what I tell myself right then.

I look in the mirror. My eyes are black. I lean in. I don't have any iris, any white space, just a huge black pupil, shiny like a snake's. It hardly surprises me. I rub my eyes but it doesn't help. I can see myself reflected in my own eyes. I run water over my head and pray that I can sleep soon.

We park at the bottom of the hill and walk through the field just south of the house. I've got Calvin's pistol tucked into the back of my jeans, and I'm carrying my .38 in my hand. It feels heavy, and it feels like every source of energy in my body has been exhausted, that my legs are only walking because they don't know what else to do, because I've got no other choice. Jack's in front of me, shotgun in hand, walking stealthy and silent like a panther. He didn't say anything in the truck, and for a second I feel guilty about everything, like everything is my fault. In a lot of ways, it is. Someone's going to get killed because one night I couldn't sleep and went to a titty bar. I just hope it's not us.


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