The restaurant in full view when D opened the door.
Sitting in the back as if they hadn’t moved since the last time they were written about. They were all fat, they were all hungry, they were all white.
It was just them. Them, and what looked like a company man, and a man wearing a paper tiger mask nursing a highball.
D curled both hands into fists like a child because, in the final analysis, she still was one.
She closed in, they paid no mind to anything else but their own business.
The crowbar dropped to the floor. Blood followed.
Styx’s arm hanging by his side. Between gritted teeth his laughter turned into strained wheezing.
He pushed on ahead.
A back section. Colder. Frozen products. More suits standing by a large metal door.
Styx fired before they saw him. Their final breaths visible in the air.
He stepped over the bodies. He tucked the gun under an armpit and put his good hand on the door handle. He was biting his tongue when he pulled the door open.
Hades dark, Cocytus cold, Styx peered within.
Meat hanging on hooks. Blood and bone. Clean cut and commodified.
They were huddled in the back corner, pigs feet hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles.
She was there between them. Shivering in the cold. She saw Styx and in a slit of light that caught her lips there was a gap in the teeth of her smile.
The lights were on her like a stage. D unfurled her hands and set one finger on her neck, through the ring of the pin.
D’s pulse—-beating like Morse code to a telegram.
Styx pushed the door open wider. They all got a good look at what was left of him.
She rushed out first. She wrapped her arms around him. She hugged tight and then hugged tighter.
Styx put his working hand on her head and fixed her beret. She pulled back and saw the damage it took for him to get there. Her eyes were wide.
The other two got up and joined them. Faces unfamiliar. He nodded.
A shot rang out. Styx fell.
The other two shrieked and split just like that. She stayed with him for a moment.
Styx caught the gun from under his arm and fired wildly out from the freezer. He paused and there was no return fire.
Styx chuckled and checked his side. The stitches broken, the blood pouring back out. The bullet lodged inside.
Styx was on his knees. He would not be getting up again.
He felt tugs at his leather jacket. He heard cries. He was losing his other senses. He was running out of thoughts to have.
The man called Styx pushed her away. He collected his gun and crawled into the freezer in order to feel something.
A blurry haze of her standing over him. Either he blinked or he didn’t but the haze was gone.
SHAKE IN YOUR SHOES RICH PEOPLE STOP THE POWER OF THE YOUTH AND THE WORKERS WILL SOON WIPE YOU OUT STOP THE FUSE IS LIT THE PIN IS PULLED STOP THE FIRE EXPANDS AND THE COMBUSTION IS SUDDEN STOP THERE WILL BE NO MORE OF YOUR CRIMES STOP
The man once known as Styx—-cold as a corpse in the freezer. Suits standing at the door, ready but staying put.
A faint breath visible between partly open lips.
The police came in. James Gomez watched his step.
He saw the body. He saw the gun—-a Colt 1903. He pried the gun free from frozen fingers and checked the clip.
The pigs and the suits all gave him nods. James Gomez nodded back. He aimed the gun and finished the job with a cautionary bullet through the spent body’s head.
Thus concludes a long poem of discouragement.