just how badly do you need this kidney medicine, anyway?

He sits in his car outside the seedy motel with nothing but his own moist breath to keep him company, and nothing to show for hours of waiting for the couple to emerge from their illicit love den. In a long career as a private investigator, he has only sensed the full weight of vocational pointlessness one other time, when he spent a week tailing a drug dealer who a client had described as wearing a ring that said “SNOW”, only to despair once he finally got close enough to discover that the ring actually said “MONS.” It all contributes to his growing suspicion that in more ways than one, he is lost in time. World’s becoming the kind of place where a man can’t stand outside a convenience store and discreetly offer to buy cigs for passing teenagers anymore without some nosy bitch hitting him with mace. And not the spray, either; how’d she fit a medieval weapon into that little handbag, anyway?

The fatigue from lonely hours creeping by interminably does unpleasant things to his mind. Hours before, his subconscious had twisted the few sounds reaching his ear from the ballgame on the radio into a phrase he imagines as the title of an 80s t-and-a comedy. Lowball 3. He pats his jacket pocket for the two rolls of film he took earlier in the week. From them, the damning images he expects will reveal themselves the next day in his darkroom will by themselves be sufficient to justify that big retainer fee the pretty, stuck-up lady had initially balked at paying, but something in him felt like being cruel and finding out more.

For hours now he has been passing the time by fantasizing that her husband is mixed up in some heavy shit, like murder-for-hire or coke smuggling, instead of just doing the lady two cubicles over at work. He wonders whether it would be advisable to stash a condom in his jacket pocket before going over to tell the wife the bad news, then pisses into an empty bottle of laundry detergent and reaches around to toss it onto a pile of newspapers and sub sandwich wrappers in the backseat. 6:45am and not a sign of them. Above and to the east, a lone purple cloud, narrow and long, cuts across the pale pre-dawn sky like an errant brushstroke.


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September 2011
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