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Drunken Roses

Duncan put his gun down and slumped beneath a lamp in a large parking lot at the edge of town. Effulgent neons were winking and convulsing all around him; Lazy Jack's, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts and Voyages. It was as if there was a secret language being spoken that only they could understand.

They were probably arguing if anything.

"Oi I eat here, I'm better than you are”

“No. I am!”

“No. I am!”

It had started torain again. Lots of rain this year. Most rain that Duncan could remember.

Duncan looked up at the twilight sky. His head drooped again. His hair was becoming matted. He watched the neon reflections sparkling weakly in the dancing puddles. He had a bottle of bourbon clasped in his hand. He always kept one in his car for a rainy day.

Duncan smiled. The irony was not lost on him, even though he felt like he was in the pit of perdition.

His mind was fluid, little molecules of alcohol wandering around inside his head making his thinking random: playful, morose, self-pitying and occasionally logical.

Why hadn't my mother been considerate like most parents? Why didn't she leave her image behind like other people did, to ease his pain? Why did Pop hang himself? He was such a stoic. No. Unfair. He embraced life, he just didn’t want to tell anyone about it.”

‘My brother and sister don't even know yet, how do I do it? But why had Pop hung himself? I know he loved Ma. But, I don't know, to whack himself. He wouldn't do that, would he? Not like him. But that's it. He's done it now. Gone. Vamos. Disparu. Whoosh. Up to the computer in the sky. The big mind. More whiskey. God, tastes awful. Chrissy, God I want to see you, if only I could get up, keep falling over. Ought to go home, aware I need home. Need coke. Sobering Coke. Glove box? Coke can? Yeah, fuckin' Coke can...'

Duncan drained it and then hurled it into the middle of the parking lot. It bounced with a metallic ring. No one around. He was standing on a verge of chipped wood and peat, where they put nice flowers to make the parking lot look pretty.

‘Now why the fuck do they do that? Make the parking lot look pretty. I wonder if I can tidy it. Snooker the fuckin' Coke can into the trash bin. Used to be a good enough shot. Maybe if I give it a go. From the hip! Fuck missed it. Firkin' try again. Nice car over there. Fuck. Missed again. Third time lucky? Better explain.’

Duncan started towards the stopped car. He wavered. His feet gave way He fell shouting, blathering and wailing, face towards the glistening wet tarmac.

“Lights still fuckin' winkin' at me. Stop fuckin' winkin'. I said stop fuckin' winkin'”.

“Why did you have to go Mom, Pop? Why did you have to leave me to do all this shit on my own? No one else gives a shit. Why the hell don't I go away? Why didn't you leave your image behind?”

“Hope you are fuckin' listening up there. Remember when your best friend died, Dad? Hey, are you fuckin' listenin to me? You told me you were glad Lennie left an image for you? You said it was weird staring at someone in a screen who talks back to you like they’re Lennie, and keeps you company, but it helped you didn't it? Helped you get over Lennie. You could pretend he was there a while longer while, until you got used to the idea. But now you've both gone, together.

Fuckin' goddamn' inconsiderate that is. Like no image, and both at the same time. Hope you are having a good time up there. Watching TV? Playing ball? Saying hello to Lennie? Come on, come down and talk to me. Say, who the hell are you up there?”

“Say, who you lookin’ at man? I'm the Mayor. You got a problem with that mister? Why sure this is my car. Drives itself no problem.

You like the roses, mister, mister, mister. What's your name?

What police? No need, mister. I'm the police. But you go on ahead, if you wants to. I was just communin' with nature. Me and the roses. Me and that Lazy Jack neon over there. Me and Pop, me and Ma. You're my fuckin’ saviour mister. You're my fuckin' saviour. Think I'm going on out here...home."

The Mayor's eyes started to flicker.

The rain kept falling. Little bits of dye were coming out of the Mayor's suit onto his shirt and his trousers had long since lost their crease.

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