Sunday, February 25, 2007

"When Gunpowder Gets In Your Eyes"

I saw him through the smoke, with something to as close as a smile that his grim face could‘ve ever managed. With all the bullets in the walls, ceiling, floor, flesh, and bone, I don’t know how I survived…or how he remain unscathed. There were six others in the room and I guessed that none of them were still alive, or they would’ve fired back at him by now. Or, maybe they were playing dead like me, hoping that he wouldn’t notice.

I was just here to play a friendly game of poker and get over on a couple of suckers…this was no way to celebrate my first natural royal flush. I had seen “Mr. Shit For Timing” before, but where? That’s right, he had been standing outside the last two poker games that I played, I couldn’t forget his grim face. He makes a gargoyle seem positively jovial in comparison.

All the smoke from the gunfire seems to be settling in my lungs, what the hell? I thought smoke can descend only so far. If only he could’ve waited another fifteen minutes, I would’ve thrown the next two hands after my flush and been done with this.

I have to keep my eyes blank and still…what is with all this smoke? Did someone fire a musket? That’s it, leave, you grim-faced dickhead. Go away. It doesn’t sound like he’s going over to the table, how could he pass up five large? No, he slid that tacky little table, he’s going for that odd-looking case in the corner. Oh, shit, I’m gonna-




“All clear, Sargeant!”

“What happened here?”

“I guess someone started a poker game and then a war broke out.”

“Holy shit, we got one that’s still alive!”


Great there’s the bright white light that I’ve heard so much about, I might as well move toward it I guess…okay, Saint Peter is a cop?

“Hey George, he’s up!”

“All right, give me some room, Sargeant.”

I guess I’m not done for, after all.

“No, no, look over here, please. Do you know who shot you? Can you give me a description?”

Oh, that’s not good-

“Get out of the way, he’s going into arrest!”


One minor heart attack, several hours of surgery and one short, medically induced coma later, I’m in the hospital bed, giving the police sketch artist a description.The sketch artist turns to the Sergeant who is just coming into the room and gives him a look at the sketch.

“Are you sure, this is who shot you?”

“Me and everybody in the room, yeah. It was like he was bulletproof or something.”

“You’re positive?”


“He bears a striking resemblance to my captain.”

“...No, I guess my memory is tainted from all that I’ve been through. Forget about it.”

“No, if you say this is the guy-”

“I said, forget about it! I w-w-w-w-as blinded, all that gun smoke and powder, you know? Just forget about it.”


The Sergeant didn’t forget about it and neither did I. But this was between the sketch artist and us, so none of us talked because I was still alive, playing poker. A year later, the captain got what was his, while he was trying to sell a jade statue to the very people that it turns out, were the original owners…or so I hear. Nothing’s for certain, unless you witness it yourself. I’m also guessing that very same jade statue was in the odd-looking case that was in the corner.

I still haven’t got a natural royal flush, though I’ve hit it with different wild cards. What the hell, which is better? The hand of a lifetime? Or your life?

Note: JJ's starter sentence was, "I saw her/him through the smoke…" This was my next to last Friday Flash Fiction piece. I turned into an attention junkie which is never good for a writer and I got mad because the feedback I was getting was from the same three people. In retrospect, as long at they are objective, that's a good thing.

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