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The Angel Sleeps~ A Serial Short Story Part #3
Miguel opened his eyes as she began to undo the button on his blue jeans. His forehead wrinkled, and his eyes watered, staring off towards the wall. Alice noticed, moving off and sitting beside him.
“What’s wrong?” Alice put her hand on his trembling forearm.
“I don’t want to go back.” Miguel began to weep. Alice pulled Miguel towards her and placed his head on her breast. His tears flowed freely. She rocked him gently.
Miguel began to tell Alice about the things that he saw at the Clara Vista projects. He told her about the baby that was found in the dumpster on the west side of the projects the day that he arrived. He told her about Candy, the prostitute who pushed crack for Willy Smith. He told her about the accidental shooting of Veronica Taylor, the Christian woman who used to stand in front of Clara Vista and preach the gospel to her neighbors.
Miguel sat up on the bed, his hands in Alice’s, shedding himself of all the images that lingered within. He told her about the quiet boy named Wallace, who played with rocks in the empty lot across the street. He said he could see Wallace’s future. He said that Wallace would never make it in the fast, city streets.
Miguel choked on his sobs. He swallowed them to speak. “What if I just don’t go back? I’ll just go home with you. I’ll never report back to CPD,” he pleaded.
“But what you are doing is a noble thing, dear. Don’t you understand? You are the hero. You need to kill him.”
Alice was talking about Willy Smith, the crack cocaine distributor that lived at Clara Vista. He ran a clandestine chemistry lab on the top floor of Clara Vista, converting cocaine hydrochloride into the cheaper and more deadly crack.
Miguel’s breath began to slow. His heartbeat sought its regular speed. “What if I told you that it’s hopeless? What if I told you that it won’t even help anything?” Miguel pulled himself away about six inches and kneeled on the bed.
“Say I do kill him. What will happen? The users will lose their supply. They’ll go crazy. Some of them will kill themselves. Another baby will end up in a dumpster. The men will seek crack somewhere else, killing for it if they have to. Eventually, another dealer will come in the place of Willy Smith. Don’t you see? It’s just an endless cycle. All I’m doing is killing someone, and starting it all over again.”
“Oh, honey.” Alice began to cry. She pulled trembling Miguel towards herself. She kissed the tears off of his face. He moved his head so their lips met.
She stripped his white crew shirt, the front of it moist from tears. She lit a lone candle, which sat on the bedside table. It gave an aroma of rain evaporating off of flower petals.
Miguel reached behind him for the thin white cotton bed sheet, and wrapped it around them like a cocoon. They made it in the faint flickering light of the candle.
It was finished. Miguel smoked a cigarette. Rain began to pelt the hotel’s single window, which overlooked the Mirror River. Lightning, like a camera’s flash, lit up the life-sized hotel paraphernalia. Alice lay on her side and looked at Miguel, who stared ahead. She fell asleep. Miguel turned the television on and flashed through the channels. More snippets of the war on the other side of the world.
Shi’ite fundamentalists a threat to peace effort in Baghdad.
U.S. Soldiers at Abu Ghraib face indictment for charges of torture to prisoners.
He turned the television off, and looked at Alice sleeping beside him. He put on his sandals and his shirt. He gently leaned over and embraced Alice with his lips on her forehead. She didn’t stir. He got up, took his truck keys, and went out the door.