I watch the kid, Dwight Peacock. He hands over the capsules to some lowlife in a jean jacket. Like every single night at this time for the past two weeks, the money changes hands. Peacock laughs, shaking his head like it’s on a spring. The lowlife in the jean jacket beats it, shrinking back into the shadows where he came from. Peacock turns and goes back into inside, stupidly counting his money in a wide fan and held in both hands as if no one’s watching. But, I’m watching. It’s from my second floor window room that looks out onto the expanse of green lawn that was spread out under the cover of night, intermittently interrupted by three cones of light coming from the path lighting spaced out at ten yard intervals.
The capsules are probably valium and ritalin, taken from the pharmacy or maybe even the tray tables of little old ladies here at the Shady Hills Rest Home For The Elderly in Pasadena; my home. Well, it’s been my home for a year at least. Continue reading
I took the piece of wedding cake out of the freezer. Then, I put it on a plate on the kitchen table. I put it there so that I could watch it melt.
Because, my wife has left.
When the burlap sack put over my head was finally taken off, I looked up into the eyes of Joey Bentz, the bankrobber. He looked a little older than the pictures on the wanted posters in Wichita, but I suppose he was only thirty or so. He had that same stare; black eyes, not brown, not hazel, but black. He had black hair to match that came to a widow’s peak on a wide, pale forehead. His looked like the face of death. Before any sense kicked in, I was sure he was going to kill me right there. But, when it did kick in, I figured if he wanted me dead, he wouldn’t have had his guy lift me off the street, bag me, and drive me out to the house where they were holed up.
And who was I to them anyway? I was just a scribbler, an artist who worked for a magazine in town. I was no Rockwell. But, I wasn’t too far off for a kid working for a local magazine. But, I guess I gained a reputation for realism around Wichita, and I’d got a job with the magazine there almost right out of high school because I had a good eye for detail, and a good drive to do good work. It was the summer of 1928. That was the thing at that time, not like now. You had to draw and paint as if you were capturing a real moment in time, just like a camera, and you had to do it fast by hand.
“What do you want?” I squeaked. I was pretty scared, and never a tough guy.
“You the painter?” said Bentz.
“Well, I’m one of them.” I said.
“Then you’re gonna paint me.”
I said “Sure.” Continue reading