Aiming for a creative life

I Am Santo

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He knew the answer before his best friend’s proxy spoke shakily and told him that it was a week ago when he first talked to their puppeteers. The gun was steady as the man talked in clipped sentences, sniffing blood back into his nose and gasping as clots passed down his throat. Had he known Simon killed his lover, the man wouldn’t have been resigned, beaten. He would have fought harder, bled more, teeth gnashed and rage spilling in growls. This was a man doing a job, a man unaware of the theater of terror and happenstance that swallowed them both the way nightmares did reason. Simon’s mind reeled as his attacker, confused and apprehensive, confessed that he received a letter with a phone number inside. Simon nodded, telling the frightened fool on the floor that the letter contained a single word. Work. The man’s eyes widened, as if Simon’s knowledge of the word carried voltage, and Simon battled the urge to cry, steeling himself against a tear torrent welling up from so far within him that he felt he was an abyss of immeasurable death.

“You killed her,” he said in a voice lacking hardness or concern. He was the voice on the phone; cold, matter of fact and dead. He breathed as if an anvil were sinking into his chest. “You caused the whole thing.”

He’d lost track of who he was taking to. The collapsed man on the floor became Jaimie. The traitor. The best friend with the brighter future, the better job, the new house. The man entrusted to raise his kids if this gambit ran aground, a pirate’s galleon stolen of its crew by scurvy. Simon recalled the letter he sent and felt the hairs on his neck rise, his spine chilled. He thought of his fingernails raking the hardwood floor of his marriage home when he fell to the ground upon Jaimie’s confession, the way he felt the nails might tear from each digit as they caught in the creases between floorboards. Jaimie caused this. He had set it all in motion through his own greed, and suddenly Simon’s fingers felt a new tingle, a new itch. He stepped forward. The quivering man’s words turning to mumbles. Simon slipped his finger around the trigger and felt the weight of yesterday pull hard on his need. (To be continued…)

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