Come Light by Randal Eldon Greene

The acrid smell of her stomach juices hits my nostrils like a belly flop. The guy is yelling, all excited because the sun is coming up, rising from the city skyline. I am kneeling by Mabel, watching her nuzzle the gravel. We’re fifteen stories high. The guy yelling at us to look at the burning sun is the one who gave Mabel the shit that is making her rub her body on the rooftop. All I want to do is pull this gun out of my pocket. This gun with one bullet chambered inside. I have had enough.

Mabel at the bar, in the dimly lit corner, laughing with a man, leads to me grabbing her arm and us on the street, arguing under neon lights.

Sometimes Mabel is on the bed, a skin-colored chemise fitting snug around her ivory-colored torso. Her hair is dyed red or black. There’s always mascara running down her face in these moments. Mabel is a movie when I’m high. A tragedy. A romance. A porno streaming, but forever buffering, stuck right before the good part.

She says she can’t find the change. Mabel put it in her purse. I saw her. Just fucking empty it, I say. She’s digging through the purse with her long, red fingernails. The change is in there—I know it. I saw her take the quarters from the top of the dresser and drop them in her purse. So I get out of the driver’s side and walk around to the passenger’s. I open the door and grab the purse from her. I shake it out. Hold it upside down and dump everything into the wet, slushy snow. Even after I see the quarters fall, I keep shaking. Lipstick, gum, cell phone, receipts—it’s all on the dirty ground. I bend over, grab the quarters out of the snow, and pay the parking meter. Mabel finds me a little later. Her hands are red from the cold. There’s a run in her nylons and her skirt is soiled around the edges. Mabel doesn’t say what she wants to say. She stays silent. Maybe Mabel doesn’t want to say anything at all.

I do pull the gun out. I do. But whose head will I put the bullet in? Will it be hers or his or mine? Will this bullet fly through a skull, through a brain, through a life and straight on into the sun? Snuff our glorious morning? Dawn is past, the light has come, and I have had enough.

Randal Eldon Greene holds a B.A. in English and Anthropology from the University of South Dakota. His short fiction has appeared in various publications including VLP Magazine, 34thParallel, as|peers, and online with National Public Radio. He is a volunteer judge of fiction for Heart & Mind Zine. Greene is the author of Descriptions of Heaven, a forthcoming novella from Harvard Square Editions. More @authorgreene &