Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The real killer

I stretched my neck away from my damp shirt collar
sweat trickled down my temple, across my eye
I absentmindedly wiped my eye with my forearm
also drenched in sweat
"I hate this friggin' heat"
"Hang tough. Once the punk comes out, we do the job and go get a beer."
Her tone said something else: quit bitching.
Even in the shade, the dogs sprawled out looking for cool earth
but there was none- no breeze, no rain, just heat
stifling unending heat and humidity
even the night sweats here
She perked her head up as a young man in jeans and a hoodie left the building
"Look at that joker. Christ, it's a hundred degrees and he has a sweatshirt on!"
She shook her head. The man lit a cigarette with cupped hands and exhaled gray exhaust
I leaned back in the seat and shut my eyes
My partner went back to the paper she was reading

Pow! Pow! Pow! I realized what the sounds were before I knew where it came from
My partners head rocked violently, then she sagged over her bloody paper
The second shot, fired milliseconds after the first, entered my right temple
ricocheted off an impossible angle in my skull, scrambled my gray matter,
and put me to permanent sleep before my head hit the steering wheel

The young man in the hoodie never had a chance
The killer fired his third shot a second after the first two,
an amazing feat of accuracy and marksmanship
The bullet shattered the cranium behind the kid's forehead, severing his brain before leaving a fist sized hole in the back of his head
He was dead before hitting the ground.

The last thing that ran through my head, prior to the bullet of course, was that we should be by his side, we should escort him to the car
We hadn't thought the plan through
It was too hot to think clearly
The damned heat had drained us, made us falter and fail
The goddamn heat was the real killer

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