Monday, September 19, 2011

Big thanks to the quite stellar, and lovely,  fiction crew at The Nervous Breakdown, and we do hope the descriptor "lovely" is not pejorative, much less a diminutive, or what have you, is it fiction crew, for running a new piece of ours titled The Angel of Death, which is one of a series of Chicago stories we have been working on that have been popping-up in a variety of stellar literary locations near you, including the Metazen, Fix It Broken and Smalldoggies. Please do take a look and if it works for you, maybe have yourself some excerpt as well.

“Hey!” someone behind me screams.

“Jesus Walks, God show me the way…”

I am lost in the newspaper, headphones in place and walking along the platform at the Damen Blue line stop in Wicker Park.

“Jesus Walks with me, with me, with me…”

“Hey!” they scream again, followed by a playful shove to the back.

I remove my headphones. It’s her and she’s all smiles. I’m still conflicted about whether I think she’s attractive, with her buzz cut, crazy angular features and harsh cheekbones. She could almost pass for a dude, a boy really, but for her breasts which are swelling under an ancient Smoking Popes T-shirt, those hips, just climbing above her baggy jeans, and that ass, that golden ass.

“Where’s your head at, man?” she says smiling, but intense, hungry.

She adjusts her T-shirt. Was I staring at her chest? I need to watch that, but can it really be avoided? I don’t know. I don’t even really know her. I once knew her, sort of, before I was married, though you wouldn’t call it a friendship exactly.

We worked at the same agency and she had been hired to oversee this huge grant, AIDS stuff, before protease inhibitors and before anyone could manage the disease. People died then. That’s all. I don’t even remember what kind of program she was running, what anyone ran back then, hospice and support groups mostly. It was horrible. They called her the Angel of Death. It was mean to be funny, escapist, black humor. But she couldn’t deal.

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