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Crumbling… ~ Part 5

7:54 AM PDT on July 1, 2008

    Serialized flash fiction by Rodger Jacobs… updated every Monday

    Crumbling Slowly Part 5: At the Philosopher’s Ball

    It’s funny how sound travels in a crowded room. There you are, engaged in your own conversation while stray bits of speech and white noise drip into your ears. “How is Artie?” someone says with a growl while the cue ball sinks the red number-eight into the right corner pocket with a bang, a thud, and a low roll as the ball travels down the ramp. Brenda Lee screeches on the jukebox; the amputee in the wheelchair must have dropped the two-bits in the box to make that happen. But the voices raised in argument are the voices that always arrest your full attention.

    “Only the dead know Buddha!” the black dwarf unexpectedly shouted. I tore my eyes away from Evelyn to consider the sharp voice.

    The tall albino jabbed his pool cue down to the floor. “I’m sick and tired of you polluting the universe with your abstract philosophy. Screw Spinoza and Nietzsche. You got a problem with me, motherfucker, you address it directly, and not in the form of abstract philosophy!”

    “This kind of talk always bores me,” Evelyn whispered into my ear. Her lips were so close to me I could feel the heat from the hot maple syrup she poured over her pancakes that morning. Something hard and cold and metal tickled my ribs but not in a funny way. She nearly took my breath away.

    “Let’s take a walk, sailor,” she said, thrusting the muzzle between two emaciated rib bones. “We need to talk about Spinoza and Nietzsche. Just the two of us.”

    I spun on the stool and grabbed the wrist that held the gun. I squeezed tight, as tight as I could, full of venom and fury and images of my landlord’s face imploring payment for the past due rent – three months now --- and I heard the frail bones protest and begin to break. Her face turned three shades of red in as many seconds. I seized the gun and held it at my side, not sure what to do with it, and walked briskly to the exit. I never walked so fast in my life.

    Part 4

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