The Gentleman Grey
By Brendan Detzner
"What the hell are we going to do?" Jim said for the fifth time.
Eddie could only barely make out the voices from the trunk of the convertible. He had listened to their conversation for an hour now. They were all scared out of their wits. They were idiots. They had screwed up the robbery, and they didn’t even need the money. Nobody that owned a car like this was starving to death. Ugly (His name was Jack, Eddie discovered,) had gotten it as a gift from his father. He could probably look forward to the college of his choice. And he was robbing a drug store for a sick thrill. Idiot.
At the moment, most of Jack’s friends seem to agree.
"Why did you shoot?"
Jack looked at his interrogator with disgust. "Had to shoot, asshole."
"Yeah, but couldn’t you have shot somebody?"
"Could still shoot the ass in the trunk."
"No, we’d get caught."
"You’re scared. Why the hell are you always so fucking scared..."
"Shut up, I know what I’m doing."
Eddie could hear them shuffle closer to Jack.
"I’m going to find a dumpster and some gasoline, and I’m going to burn the bastard." Jack tried to sound cool, but the words were lodged in his throat before he could expel them- he nearly threw up.
Eddie’s breath stopped. He began to think. How could he get out? He groped around, looking for an object to use to get the trunk open, or as a weapon, or something. Nothing. The trunk was empty. Eddie began to shake. He tried to calm down, but it was no use. He assembled all the adrenaline he could and threw his body up against the roof. All he did was make noise.
"Getting active in there?" Jack said. He wasn’t sure where he got that; he thought it was some Stallone movie, but he wasn’t sure. He stopped the car.
Eddie could hear the car door slam shut. Jack cracked open the trunk. The light blinded Eddie. After blinking a couple times he could see Jack. They were both sweating like pigs.
Who were these people? Where was he? He became convinced for a moment that gravity had never existed, that he had been fooled into what was up and down all his life. The light through the trunk had cleared his mind, emptying it, sucking the life out of it. He wasn’t sure where the ground stopped and the sky ended, and which he should be falling to. He looked down a little, then felt himself getting hoisted up over the dumpster. Was this gravity?
No, it was just some poor, stupid, scared asshole with no better way to kill time. Eddie’s skull split inside his head. He could feel the pieces push out against his skin. Blood seeped in through the pores of his eyeballs. Everything was red. He was blind. Laugh at me, crash my face in the sand, clean me up and be shocked at my reaction. Bugs, acting, reacting, never seeing, continuing the god damn clockwork, when They’re standing in the shadows, laughing, and suddenly everything became clear…
He hit the dumpster hard, jarring his skeleton out of sync with the flesh. He smelled the gas as it hit the rusted metal. The sunlight died as the spark from the match was born. The spark was everywhere. The flames were everywhere. Eddie burned. The convertible sped away.
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