Life Sucks Then You Die Part IV

Part IPart IIPart III

He tells me to wait here and goes into the corner store for cigarettes. I think about running, but he would have anticipated that. The effort would likely be futile. Besides, I am full from the big breakfast I just ate. It’s not time to move. It’s time to sit. Sit and think. So I stare down.  I look silly in my new, size extra large, Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt. I look like a fucking tourist.

I scan the interior of the Subaru.  A few days ago it was clean, but now it was littered with fast-food containers, sandwich shop wrappers, and empty cigarette packs.

In the centre console, I spot his cellphone.  Weird that he left it behind.  It looks the same as mine – the one that I smashed yesterday… or was it two days ago?  Fuck.  Was it me or him that smashed it?  Fuck.

Regardless, I pick it up and swipe my finger in the pattern I use to unlock my own phone.  It unlocks.

The phone is set up in a familiar way, similar to my own, with a link to his news feed on the home screen.  I think about calling the cops, but instead, I decide to take a quick look at the news.

I think, “Maybe I have been reported missing.  Maybe the cops are looking for me already.”

The top story is about a shoe store fire.  There is a video link, so I click on it.  It looks like one of the city’s CCTV camera feeds.  I’m getting a strong feeling of deja-vu here.

The video shows a man walk up to the shoe store.  He’s holding what appears to be a jerrycan.  A lit half-cigarette dangles from his lips.  He sets down the jerrycan and walks toward a trash can in front of a convenience store.

It’s this convenience store.  The one I’m parked in front of right now.  The man in the video is him.

I look up from the phone.  He’s coming out of the convenience store, lit cigarette in his mouth.

I start to put his phone away, and as I do, I see another second or two of video.  Enough to see the man in the video raise the garbage can over his head and smash it through the window of the shoe store.

I dim the screen and shove the phone back in the console.

He’s beside my passenger door now.  Tap. Tap. Tap.  I roll down the window.

He takes a drag off his smoke, leans his arm on the doorframe and turns his gaze toward the shoe store, which I hadn’t even noticed until now.

He exhales a puff of cigarette smoke and begins, “See those beauties in the window over there?”

A pause while he takes another drag.  “Those are Golden Goose Deluxe Brand.  Special edition.  Made in Venice.  Totally uncomfortable.  Totally impractical.”

I can’t really see the shoes from this distance.

Another drag.  Another exhale.

“Do you know how much they cost?”

He doesn’t wait for me to answer.

“Five hundred bucks.  Unnecessary manufacturing at its finest.”

His cigarette is half gone at this point.

“Reach behind your seat there, partner.  Pass me that gas can,” he says, “Oh, and partner?”

Drag.  Pause.  Exhale.

“Don’t ever touch my fuckin’ phone.”


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