We had been riding around in the suburbs and when we came back into the city we spotted a mutual pal. I pulled up on the sidewalk and he leaned into the window and started yammering. It was a Saturday and everyone else had a collection of criminal intentions in their nostrils. Not me. I’d left that behind. The argument of having nothing to say proved too much and I had to quit.
Now and then he scratched at his waistline until I realized there was a gun jammed in his shorts. And there was that moment where I reveled in its symmetry, where the blackness of its materials and the precision of its shape held me. And then I remembered where I was and who I was.
That night, I went out to an electric tower I used to climb as a youth. I stared at it until a couple rode past on bicycles festooned with beads and streamers and baskets. I didn’t want to be them, like I might have five years back, but I watched them from underneath the buzzing fluorescence of the tower until they disappeared.
by Hank Cherry