There was something about the way the sunset ensconced Gilbert’s head in a fiery halo that made Maryannsuellen think of the stained glass in her church, and how she was always afraid that the colored panes would come crashing down around her; the crudely created depiction of The Crucifixion vivisecting her, unfurling her skin into flesh ribbons which the paramedics would likely chuck out the back of the ambulance for sport as they barrelled past Feck Farm, leaving the local pigs to feed on skin suey.
Maryannsuellen gave a little chest pop to ping the paranoia pressure away and hugged Gilbert a little tighter, a bit more desperate than she tended to embrace someone. Just in case.
Gilbert scraped her from himself and laughed nervously. “Maryannsuellen, please.” With one last uncomfortable chuckle, Gilbert saw himself out of Maryannsuellen’s brownstone and began his walk home.
A Newport hanging from his bottom lip, and a cowlick in his bangs, Gilbert rummaged in his slacks for his lighter. Realizing he must have left it on Maryannsuellen’s night stand after their post-coital smoke (which he mostly partook in to combat the awful glaze of funk she left on his tongue), Gilbert made an impromptu stop at Calvin’s Corner Club for Cheap Crap. He didn’t typically patronize this particular store of convenience, as it was located at a crossroads known for amateur ninja violence. He saw it on the news nearly every night. But he really wanted a cigarette, and also to possibly see what kind of naughty rags they had behind the counter.
So Gilbert really shouldn’t have been surprised when, getting no further than the threshhold of the store, his carotid artery was stabbed by a Kohga ninja throwing star.
The next morning, Maryannsuellen read about Gilbert’s murder in the paper. She was still sobbing in her grits hours later when her cat began rubbing against her ankles, a hint that he would like to be eating his lunch now, please.
Snapping out of it, Maryannsuellen’s gaze lifted from her now-congealed grits to the scratched Zippo laying on the crest of piled porno rags from Calvin’s and the bills for her oxygen tank.
She picked it up, twirled it around between her thumb and forefinger and ran a ragged fingernail along the etchings left by too many meetings with the asphalt. “At least I’ll always have this small part of him,” Maryannsuellen said fondly of the stranger she brought home the previous afternoon from the furry convention. And the impatient beckoning of her 3 o’clock john distracted her from any more thoughts about Gilbert.