Six-sided cubes, ivory colored, black-eyed dots, tumbling, bouncing, rattling, futures and fates in the balance. The dice rock and roll in the alley, under the streetlights, reflecting neon red and blue and sometimes, once in a while, colored with flecks, hints, sticky drops of arterial or venous blood.
At the age of five, highly gullible Lewis Coughland had fallen prey to his older cousin, Vicki. She had convinced him that since he hadn’t been baptized that he and all he loved would go straight to hell upon the Second Coming unless he took “counselling” from a good Christian (i.e. Vicki) who had a direct line of communication with the All-mighty. Since it was “too late” to do anything about the baptizing (which “forbade” Lewis from shaping prayers of his own), nine-year-old Vicki had graciously volunteered herself to serve as Lewis’s go-between in all matters Heaven and Earth; all Lewis had to do in return for this service was become Vicki’s personal slave. The counselling had been big on tough love and discipline. A typical session went as follows: Continue reading
Nathan sat in the corner, in the lone chair of the hotel room, facing the door. An open pack of Marlboro Reds along with his cell phone sat on the end table beside him. Smoke drifted from a cigarette held loosely between his fingers. The ash had grown long and drooped down from the red cherry.
Jorge Mendoza was the last man to receive a call. As he picked up the phone, he was still debating whether to go to work or not. If he went, what would the other men think? If he stayed home and lost his job, no one in the valley would hire him. And if he got deported, he would lose everything.
David hadn’t been feeling up to doing a whole lot of anything as of late, so when his doorbell rang, he decided to just stay in bed. Whoever it was would go away after another try or two, and he could go right back to just staring at the wall in so-called peace. But after another dozen or so rings, it was obvious that whoever had come by his apartment wasn’t going to give it up.
“Jeesily H Christ, son of a bitch,” Addie muttered, not exactly under her breath, as she jockeyed her walker through the maze in the dining room. Why’d they have to cram so many goddamn tables into here, I can’t imagine. Heading for an empty one, she banged her walker into a chair, threatening to send both flying, pulled out another, aimed her butt in the general direction, and plonked into the seat with a thud. Sometimes she pushed out a loud fart on the way down, just for the fun of it.