Talk 23 – Action

short story about love and loss

Serial Fiction

Is dinner ready?
How is your brother?
I asked first.
You’re drunk.
He is not well. I have done everything. He cannot breath without the oxygen mask. We just tried to entertain him. That is the last thing we can do.
Who is staying with him tonight?
His ex-wife.
That’s nice. He loves her.
It is good.
You’re pouring yourself another!
I am losing my brother. If at any time brandy is justified, it is now.
I will bring the food.
Are the kids sleeping?
Yes.
We should keep them out of this.
You think they are too young to handle death, but old enough to steal and traffic?
And how was your day?
I made preserves.
What kind?
Apricot jam.
They love that.
They do. I hear a car approaching. Don’t tell me you’re working tonight.
I am not. Maybe it has happened.
Why are they honking?
This is trouble. Stay here.
This is the police, come out of the tent with your hands behind your head!
They are going to wake everyone. Why do they use the loud speaker?
Because they are pigs. Stay here. Keep me informed on my brother.
Come out of the tent or we will go in.
I’m coming out. Here I am. Leave my family be.
We don’t want your family. But you have some serious questions to answer.
I’m all yours.
We would be arresting your brother too, if he wasn’t dying.
Did you go there?!
No, we’ve been watching you for while. The doctor says he’s not likely to survive the night.
I am all yours.
Yes, you are baby. We’re gonna get real close, you and me. Get on your knees. Cuff him.
Off to the car princess.
He’s shy.
Don’t talk to him.
Hey, he’s fucked anyway.
Don’t talk to him. Just drive. Let’s book him and get some sleep.
So what do you take me in for this time?
There are seventeen tons of copper missing from a scrapyard and one of your men was caught sleeping in a car near it.
He smiles but he doesn’t speak. Anything else you need to know big guy?
Your address.
Why would you need that?
So I can rape your wife.
Don’t hit him. He’s trying to provoke you. You hit him, he’ll get off.
You are a sneaky bastard!
Don’t talk to him, it is for the best.
Thank you for not trying to carry out my brother.
He’s thankful now, is he?
I mean it. He is not likely so live more than two days.
Well, I can’t say I feel sorry for him.
He is one of the good ones. He civilized the business.
You’re stealing and trafficking! What’s there to civilize?
Human interactions. Removing violence from the equation. It is illegal but it doesn’t have to be violent. Also dealing with your sort, the law. He instituted your royalties program that kept you out of our way.
What royalties program? Are you talking about dirty caps?
The brilliance of the royalties program was that we sponsor each of you separately, so the collective doesn’t know, and you don’t know who’s dirty among the others. Everyone thought he was the only one taking royalties. And if he kept it to himself all was well. And it worked. Look at your faces. You don’t want to admit it even now. I know we pay both of you. So do us all a favor. Drop me off at the train station. I will make sure you get an arrest that makes you look good.
We can’t drop you at the train station. It has to be the woods.
Drop me off here. I have an office within walking distance and can get a ride. I will be gone for a while. Here is a cherry each. That should carry you over whilst I am gone.
We didn’t know you have an office around here.
You don’t know everything about our organization.
Not yet.
Just take the gold and go.
We’ll need am arrest soon.
I will arrange it.
Someone big that we’ve heard of.
I will arrange it. Go now.
Sweet dreams.
Lost men are those officers. Hungry for gold and brandy. Sweaty inside that filthy car. I will sleep well tonight. Her house is not far.

 

next chapter: TALK 24

previous chapter: TALK 22 – DREAMS

all chapters: TALK

more by PETER ODEON

photograph by Blake Wheeler

 

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