Continuation of Ely’s from graymatter-com

by hpetterson

About midday the rain stops, the clouds disperse, and the sun leaks through in all too brilliantly visible of rays. If I didn’t know better I would think things are looking up. But natural beauty has a way of blinding us to the darkness hovering behind its mask. Or so I’ve learned through years of frightening observation.

I glance toward my watch and find that I have approximately four hours twenty three minutes and nineteen seconds remaining of my life. Eighteen seconds. Seventeen. Sixteen. The countdown began only this morning, a mere six hours ago when my reality came head to head with my dreams. Really, I knew this day was coming long ago. I had seen it clearly and repetitively since my thirteenth birthday; the city illuminated with the shine born from streetlamps and puddles of rain and my body, bloodied and cold with death, slumped against the Red Panda’s dumpster.

I can’t claim that the absurdity of my gift has not plagued me since its arrival—the question of why—why be given such impeccable foresight if you aren’t meant to change the outcome? Truth is, I know why, this morning’s meeting only proved my theory correct.

“Have a seat there junior.” He said as I entered the booth.

“So…are you the guy?” I said looking at the guy who was dressed like a bum, unshaven and smelling like whiskey.

“For your needs…yes I am the guy…but not I’m not the…the big guy.” He brought up a pint that was wrapped in a paper bag and took a sip.

“I was expecting someone more…more…ah finished looking.”

“Listen up Hemmingway I got all the time in the world…you got what four and a half hours?”

A waitress walked up and looked at the guy across from me and said. “Excuse me sir…you can’t drink that in here…you’ll have to either leave of throw it away.”

“Listen Lisa…your two kids are cute…leave me alone, and I leave them alone…you don’t want little Tommy breaking his left arm again.” He looks at me and smiles.

“How did you know…” She turns and scurries off.

He was here to bargain for my life and I was holding jack shit.

He must be from the nether regions…for every action there is an equal reaction…the fact I had  been dealt four and a half hours to live must mean that there was something just as powerful working for me.