Street Men

Theo buys pills from his brother and sells them on the corner. Theo’s brother is Ted. Ted has small glasses and a round paw print on his right shoulder. I was in jail, Ted says. I was in jail and I told them I didn’t want to play their games, Ted says. The paw print looks odd when it is summer because the paw print is red.

Lance drinks beer in the bar. The bar is called Ray’s. The beer costs 75 cents a glass. The beer looks like apple juice. The bartender is a white man who killed his wife. The court said he didn’t kill his wife. But when the bartender is drunk he smiles and says, I killed her.

Theo tells Lance that he is going to kill his brother, Ted. Lance tells the bartender that Theo is going to kill his brother. I didn’t know you had a brother, the bartender says. Lance shakes his head. I don’t have a brother, he says.

The pills will be cheaper if I kill him, Theo thinks. He is on the street. His hands are hot and he thinks that he is cold. He smokes cigarettes and walks up and down the street. He is nervous. Maybe I should practice, he thinks. Maybe I should practice so that I don’t mess up. It is dark and it is cold because spring has not come.

Lance has small hands. He drinks his beer and pays 75 cents. Lance is a Capricorn. He was born in a barn and his mother looked at him and said: oh. Lance looks at his fingers and says: oh. The bartender cleans pint glasses and smiles. I killed my wife, the bartender thinks. Ted has a tattoo on his right shoulder, Lance says.

I know, the bartender says. The bar is crowded because there is an important sports game on and the two players that are playing in the game are tall and do not look like real people. The bar is loud and Lance thinks that he is going to leave. Two men in the back begin to yell at one another. They are angry about the game. The bartender gets his shotgun. The two men stop fighting when they see the shotgun. We can resolve this outside, the men say.

The other people continue to watch the game. The bartender puts the shotgun back. Theo walks back and forth on the street. I need to practice, he thinks. Now his hands are red and cold. Ted will be home soon, Theo thinks and Ted comes home. Ted sees Theo. Ted says, Hi Theo. Hi Ted, Theo says. Do you need more pills, Ted asks. Ted is tall and he looks like he could have been one of the men in the game on the television.

I need more pills, Theo says. Theo starts to cry. Don’t cry, Ted says. Jail is not that bad.


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