Aiming for a creative life

I Am Santo

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Simon folded the letter into thirds, fished out his checkbook and an unused return envelope from his electric bill from the car’s armrest compartment. He then wrote his own address on the back of the letter so it would show through the plastic window of the envelope. It was how he sent his rent, repurposing these envelopes each month after paying bills online. He briefly worried he’d not have one for next month’s rent, then realized he soon would have enough money to own a home. Either that or he’d be sending mail from the state pen.

Simon sealed the letter inside the envelope, tasting the faux mint adhesive that he came to equate with a drained bank account. He then pulled one of his last stamps from where they lived in the plastic holding the checkbook register in place. These items were maintained inventory that would not longer have to be watched closely. No more strict adherence to serving sizes. No more buying second-hand clothes for the kids. This job, this risk, was going to change with the pull of a trigger. Simon stepped from his car and walked to a mailbox across the street. Without fanfare he dropped the letter to Jaimie into the box and hoped it would be one his friend would never open. He imagined Jaimie sorting a stack of unopened mail at the round, scarred table in the kitchen, discovering this oddity among them with Simon’s handwriting. The vision was so strong that his confidence wavered like crime scene tape caught in a strong wind. Adrenal imagination or premonition? Simon shook it off, stuffed his hands into the hoodie pockets, and marched down a thin side street, briefly glancing at a sign standing watch at the corner. Two lines in all caps whisper-shouted at him: ONE WAY. DO NOT. The third line, however, was caught in a trick of light, an anomalous drop of sun washing away shadow and allowing ENTER to appear an invitation instead of a warning. Simon heeded that last command, ignoring the larger message. In the hoodie pocket he gripped the ski mask as the pistol scraped against his thigh. He was at the point of no return, entering the one way out ahead before the sun could retreat again. (To be continued…)

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