Contemporary Fiction Speculative

     “Why am I wearing this shirt?”

     “I thought maybe it reminded you something important, birthday, anniversary. It has a certain sentimentality attached to it; it suits you. ”

     “Nice of you, but it really isn’t my style. Chartreuse? I haven’t seen one like this since the eighties.”

     “Everything that goes around come around. I’m sure you’ve heard that. And besides its your color.”

     “I didn’t know I had a color, but if you say…what is this hole, here by the pocket?”

     “Oh that, I wouldn’t worry about it. No one will even notice it. Actually I think it adds a bit of mysticism to the shirt, and therefore to you.”

    He is not the type to be concerned about me, or anyone for that matter, so it got me to thinking that there is more to this shirt than what he’s letting on. Could be it belonged to a mob boss or gang member. The hole looks like a bullet hole. I guess anyone could mistake it for, what? Maybe a hole poked through the pocket by a pen or something, but I ain’t buying it. He’s up to something.

    The last time he gave me anything, it was a bike. He said he found it by the trash. Too small for him, but it looked like a good fit for me. I took it out for a spin, felt good, smooth ride until I hit the hill and found the brakes didn’t work. He claimed he didn’t know about the brakes, but he was smiling that twisted smile of his when he was telling me that.

    I know there are a lot of people who take pleasure in the adversity of others, but had never met one before. I can’t help but wonder at times if he’s not one of those dual mind types who doesn’t remember which one he is at times. I have no idea why he’d want to hurt me, but then it could be the other guy who shares his mind.

   I have been trying to figure out the shirt though. A bullet hole in the pocket. Can’t see how anyone could survive that. It looks like someone did a good job getting out any stains. Wish I had one of those lights you can shine on things and it tells you if there is blood there you can’t see. I suppose I could take it to the police station and ask them to do that forensic stuff they do, and know for sure. But then, all the questions, and what if it is blood, then what? Did he murder someone like he tried to do with me and the bike?

    Funny, you think you know someone and then they try to involve you in a murder. Probably was going to pin it on me. I knew he was devious at times, possibly psychotic, neurotic for sure, but pinning a murder on someone, especially me, is going too far.

    He also is one of those people who try and get in your head. One time he convinced me we were being followed. I got so involved in his theory I lost seven pounds and injured my neck thinking someone was following me. Turns out there was, him. He’s like that. He plants that idea of possibility in your head and then likes to hang around, unobserved of course, to observe the reaction he’d caused.

    He dragged me once to the mall where the girls scouts were selling their cookies. He was convinced that they didn’t even like the stuff they sold; even the peanut butter ones that everyone likes. 

    He was right. We watched after they closed up shop for the day, took down the banners and tables. They left and went across the street to a pizza place. All he would say is, “see, told you they don’t eat their own poison.” I think he is one of those people who believe everyone has a trick up their sleeve, but him. He seems at times to be afraid of everything, even himself. 

    And in my opinion he’s the worst of all the people I know. I’d never seen a vegetarian who claims that hot dogs aren’t really meat; “lips, ears, coloring, and chemicals can’t be counted as meat,” he says. I asked him why he always chose the beef hot dogs and all he said was that he felt a connection with Jewish people. I have no idea what that was about.

    The shirt with the hole in the pocket began to worry me. It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if there had been an exit wound in the shirt, but there wasn’t. Whoever got shot, the bullet never exited the body, and I had the proof. 

    “Why don’t you tell me where the shirt came from. I know you like to crawl around in my head for your amusement, see how the other half lives.”

    “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

    “I have the feeling you know that it came off a dead guy and you think it’s funny watching me wearing it. I know you have a weird sense of humor, but this time you’ve gone too far.”

    I waited for a while, but there was no rebuttal. He just continued to look as if something was wrong with him. His skin began to take on the color of faded green walls in the men’s room at Tito’s Tacoria. The pupils in his eyes began to expand as if he were watching the lights fade as the final act comes to a close.

    “Don’t you remember?” he asks, as if it is I who is losing my mind.

    “What am I supposed to remember?”

    “Remembering you are dead would be a good place to start.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “You don’t remember I shot you? It was my job. You knew what I did. Can’t believe you’d be surprised that regardless of our friendship, we are what we are. We do what we do.”

    “If I’m dead, what are you doing here?”

    “Think about it? You don’t remember our credo? You can run but you cannot hide? Now you are not only dead, but senile?”

It has begun to come back to me. The dark street, raining, and then out of nowhere a flash of lightning. But it wasn't lighning, it was that place you go to rearange your life as it flashes before your eyes. The Dinsney Land in the sky, where the life you are watching is someone elses. 

May 11, 2022 17:30

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