by Walt Staples -
The Bourbon was expensive.
But this is an important occasion.
Hefts the ship pistol.
Probably the most important of my life.
Opens the magazine loading gate.
Poor old man. Trying to stop a knife fight at his age.
Maurine choosing cyborg so she could be sure I'd see her from time to time.
Sets the bottle down and picks up the ring.
Her version of revenge from beyond the grave.
Light picks out the engraving of the two names on the ring.
Betrayed by me for the sake of my mistress, the Law.
The ring makes a “pling” as it lands on the table.
A cold lover, my mistress.
Picks up bottle.
Fourth one this week.
Liquid sloshes around in bottle as it is set down.
So many dead people.
Removes cartridge from box labeled “12mm Shipload.”
Some launched into Ceti in coffins; some walking around.
Pushes cartridge through loading gate.
So much blood everywhere.
Hand stops while removing second cartridge from box.
At this range, I'm pretty sure of a hit.
Picks up bottle and holds it to the light.
You and I have become all too good of friends since the trial—lovers, almost.
The light through the bourbon casts reddish reflections.
But my other lover, the Law, is the jealous one.
Liquid in bottle becomes agitated.
This ends tonight.
Bottle shatters against wall.
“Hello, Father? We met at my wife's trial. You said to call you if I ever needed anything...I-I need help.”