Grim/Dark

It was always cold when it rained.

Atmospheric pressure changes, the mountains to the west interfering with warm western winds, the reasons were multitude. The Man never bothered to learn any of them. Today, he just hitched up the collar of his jacket against the rain and hustled across the street, past the fast food joint and into the alley behind it.

Where the drug dealer was waiting.

The dealer set up shop behind the restaurant six weeks ago. The Man observed it from his desk in the office. The dealer was wearing a white windbreaker, baggy white jeans that hung down near to his knees and mirrored sunglasses. He wore this regularly, the
Man noted with some curiosity. A type of business wear perhaps? The Man thought he looked like an idiot.

But the dealer was fierce. Being half a head shorter than most of his clientele made fierceness a necessity, the Man supposed. The Man once watched the dealer take down two large thugs who thought they could shake him down for his goods. The Man was impressed
as he ate his lunch at his desk.

Two weeks ago, the Man was passed over for a promotion. Again. His fury and rage shook the office. The manager calmly stood against it, even warning the Man against further public outbursts. Fuming, the Man returned to his cubicle.

“Who the Fuck does he think he is?”, the Man muttered to himself as he sat himself at his desk. “I DESERVE it, I EARNED it”. He bends a cheap, low quality company branded pen in two.

The Man’s suit is old and showing numerous signs of wear. He hasn’t purchased a new suit in five years. It was the suit his wife bought for him. Before the accident. Before she was taken from him.

To the rest of the workers in the office, he looks old, worn out. The Man doesn’t notice. He hardly notices anything outside of his increasingly small world. He stares intently at the dealer across the street.

After work that day, the Man crossed the street and talked to the dealer for the first time. The dealer was surprised. “Hey friend,” he says, sizing up his new customer, “I’ve seen you around. At the office over there.”

“You look tired. Do you need something to pick you up?”

The Man buys a small bag of weed. He takes it home and immediately dumps it into the toilet and flushes it. He does this a few more times over the next few days, getting into the good graces of the dealer. He pushes himself to be more jovial, all the while
setting himself up for the Big Purchase. Getting customers to like him was always his talent.

It is raining on the day of the Big Purchase, rain cold as ice. As the Man swung his jacket over his shoulders, he hears a sound that freezes him. A rip has appeared under his left arm of his jacket. He mutely fingers the gap where the fabric once connected,
memories of his wife flood over him. She made sure he was looked after with her life insurance, but their house is expensive and his funds are nearly exhausted. He cannot lose the house.

He will not.

The dealer is happy to see him. “Hey buddy!” He gestures with his left hand, “You uh, you got a hole in your jacket there.” The rain hardly seems to affect him. He pulls out a paper lunch bag, folded neatly at the top. “I got your Special Order here, just
need to see some green.”

The Man pulls out a folded envelope filled with bills and hands it over. The dealer smiles at the fullness of it and passes the Man the lunchbag. “Use it well, my friend, and wisely.” The Man smiles, and walks away into the rain.

The manager lives in an affluent area of town. The Man is soaked by the time he gets there. The manager invites him inside, “Are you ok man? What happened? Did your car break down?” He disappears and returns with a large, fluffy towel. “You’re gonna get pneumonia.” They both sit down at the dinner table.

The man smiles and pulls out his water-soaked paper bag. He opens it up, reaches in, and pulls out a revolver. Old, but still serviceable. A sleek chrome finish glints in the flourescent lights. The revolver has absorbed the chill of the rain outside, the grip
is so cold as to almost hurt the Man as he holds it. He cocks the hammer.

“Christ!” The manager jumps back out of his chair, the chair bangs off the wooden floor. His hands up, “Wait! Wait!”

“What is this about?” Is this about the promotion?” The Man nods. “Seriously?”

The manager is shaking, eyes looking about for a way out. “Look, I respect your years of service, we all do. But, you’re not QUALIFIED for the position, we explained that to you at your last performance review. You’d need to do a ton of skill upgrading. At
your age and how close you are to retirement, I thought you would prefer to just ride it out.”

The scream throws the Man off-balance. He had completely forgotten about the manager’s wife. She was shrieking at the top of the stairs. The manager, seizing the opportunity, grabs the salt shaker off the table and throws it at the Man.

“Susan! RUN!” He turns to run, heading to the back entrance.

The salt shaker strikes true, square in the face of the Man. The sudden sharp pain causes him to drop his revolver.

The gun hits the ground and fires.

The screams continue, clearly audible to the rest of the neighborhood. As is the second gunshot.

In the alley behind the fast food joint, the dealer is savoring a warm cup of coffee. It has been a good day, despite the weather. The Man lurches out of the shadows, the freezing rain has sapped something vital from him. His breath freezing in the air as he
pulls out his revolver and hands it to the dealer.

“What the Fuck Man?” You don’t just bring it back! What’s wrong with you?” The coffee, forgotten, slips from his cold fingers. “Did anyone see you?”

“POLICE! FREEZE!” Suddenly, the alley is awash in strobing red and blue lights.

“God damn it!” The dealer, seeing no way out, pulls out a sleek handgun and sprints off down the alley. He blindly fires off a few rounds, hoping to stall pursuit enough to get away.

The Man, numb physically and emotionally, barely noticed the arrival of the police. But the gunshots provoked a reaction. He throws his arms over his head, the revolver slips from his hand and falls. And fires.

Of the two police officers that exited the patrol car, one drops, a spray of blood erupts from his throat. The other officer ducks behind the door of the cruiser, and screams into his radio, “Shit! Shots fired! Officer down! We need backup!” He draws his service
pistol and returns fire.

The Man turns to run, but stops and retrieves the revolver first.

Nearly frozen, exhausted, mentally confused, the Man takes the first corner and the next corner. He finds himself in front of his office. His passkey allows him entrance. He doesn’t notice the pursuit. Does not care anymore.

He takes the elevator to the top floor, then walks the steps up to the roof. The rain has not let up. He looks up to the sky, hoping to see some sign of cloudbreak. There is none. Looking down, he spots multiple police cars surrounding his office. He misses
his wife.

He stares at his revolver. It glistens in the rain, vaguely beautiful, still cold as ice. He raises it to his head and pulls the trigger.

Nothing happens.

“God Damn you, you Accursed Thing,” the Man whispers to it.

He throws it over the ledge and follows it with himself.

Some time later, the rain stops. The police come and go. Life returns to normal. A Boy, hiding in a bush from his bullies, who seem to be everywhere, spots a shiny object nearby.

It is a revolver. Fully loaded. Sleek and chromed.

It is ice-cold.

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