The Good-Bye


The side not facing the barrel, naturally.

Of course things were much simpler; we didn’t have to kill anyone to stay alive.
Playing Cowboys and Indians never prepared us for the reality.

This is a complex world, Sean. This ain’t the Dragnet you always liked.

The cops can be bad to be good.

You were never ruthless enough. This business isn’t for bleeding hearts like you who operate on outdated moralities. It’s amazing you’re not dead yet.

Sometimes children need to see a parent or two to die. It builds character. It creates stories, spawns revenge dramas the public drinks up. The stuff of life.

The karma balances up, one way or another, ha ha.

Don’t take it too hard, Sean.

Julian stands up and looks down at his unconscious friend. A gauze bandage is a thick white helmet on that pale-faced head; its jaw is missing, along with part of the nose. Sean’s lungs rise and fall with machine-assisted breath. Julian shakes his head. “You were never a good shot,” he said before leaving.

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