Page 14

   Jiminy Cricket, I’m tired.
   I have a brief image of how and what I shot. I had no idea a pistol would do what it did, kick so hard. I’d fired past this kid, and he’d been so angry. We’d been thrown together but in effect apart since I’m still walking and he’s out cold.
   And fuck me, I’ve come out even this far to get away from them. Here the air smells harsh and scoured. Under that frozen clarity there is a strain of burning – not unpleasant – but also an undertone of spoilage. I suppose that’s a good sign? In summer it’d be a whole lot worse. Right now the snow has put down a lot of the stink, mashed it into the ground and laid down on top of it. And left all the dull colours sharpened. Corners and walls have edges now.
   I could be glad to be alive but there is also gasoline in the air and I’m tired in my body. It isn’t yet overwhelming. And so that’s what keeps me standing up: that I’m not done yet. And what keeps me going is I soon will be.    Meanwhile, standing is hard and cold and I can feel the heat of fever. So fuck all that, I will go inside.
   But I stay where I stand anyway.
   Which is odd.
   You see, the doors to this place are wide open. I even have money. Inside someone’s turned a shopping cart upside down and left it beside the entryway. Maybe it’s been pushed aside already? And beyond lies very dimly the claustrophobic cornucopia of a tiny corner store supermarket. I think perhaps we are saved.
   Hello, says the kid, and I jump so far in fright I fall over.