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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

It Was All Over Now And I Was Done
by Elton Kelly

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Walk slowly. Walking quickly implies you want to be somewhere (and unhappy with your current status). Walking slowly says you are headed somewhere, but content and enjoying the walk itself. Tonight I walked quickly in the dark in order to make it to the store before it closed. Maybe I should have walked slowly tonight.

I did want to call Mark at eleven though. I told him I would. I had tried to e-mail him, but the content was too personal.

The soundtrack to my short trip was Damien Juradoís ĎRehearsals for Departureí playing through my headphones. I rehearsed my words for the phone conversation as I went. Five minutes before eleven I crossed the street onto the Albertsons parking lot. I was still to the side of the building. No streetlights were on, but a pair of headlights from the other side of the parking lot lit my path. I continued across the lot without paying attention to them until I heard their tires skid a few yards away from me. An arm holding a handgun emerged from the window. It was pointed towards me.

I donít remember much from a few minutes after that. When I came to I understood what had happened. I was content. It was all over now. I was done.

From where my body rested I could slightly see the front entrance of the store. The lights lit the faces and backs of occasional customers as they entered and exited in the late hours of the night. Watching them felt like learning something new that made perfect sense. I did so for a while. I hate to say this after it has become so clichťd, but time became irrelevant, although I donít think I watched them too long.

To my surprise, Charles Ek became one of those glowing bodies exiting from the store. I thought of trying to get his attention, but then laughed at the thought. Charles has been, or rather, had been my friend for the last five years. I fell in love with his sister last night.

Charles placed his groceries in the back of his van. I realized I could hear nothing when I saw him close his door without a sound. I listened to the first silence I had ever heard.

The silence distracted me from seeing the Albertsons worker placing the trash in the dumpster near me. As he turned to return inside he saw me lying on the ground and asked me if I was okay. He waited. His lips moved again and he waited. He leaned down towards me and he touched me cautiously. I realized I had lost all feeling along with my hearing. I guess I expected that though.

I donít know why, but finally I started thinking of the consequences of what had happened. The guy huddled over me in the dark probably saw the bullet wound. I think thatís what startled him. He ran inside. I am sure that Mark assumed I went to bed early tonight. It has to be well past eleven by now I thought. I told him I might not call him if I was too tired. Heíll probably find out tomorrow. And heíll get my journals. We willed them to each other. Iím excited to find out what he thinks when he reads my honesty.

But what about Amy - the girl I fell in love with last night. I know it will be hard on her to lose me. I donít think she was in love with me, but I know she loves me. Iím content with that situation. Iím sure sheíll be okay. I hope Mark reads to her my journal entry from today. My last journal entry.

The police and an ambulance showed up. I ignored them. I thought of how people would react. Maybe tonight was the best time for this to happen. If I had kept on living I would have failed to keep in contact with my dad. At this point heíll just be able to blame my lack of contact on the chaos of all that has been changing. If I had remained alive I wouldnít have mailed Sarahís letter that I promised so many months ago. I hope someone finds my day planner in my back pocket where I have a note under today to send it off. Someone will call her and tell her that I would have done it if I had made it back home and that I must have been thinking about her. It will reconcile all I have failed to do. And the same with Janet. I hope someone tells her that her name too was written in my book under today.

My friendship with Amy was the most pure and ideal I had with a woman. Not only were we completely honest and comfortable with each other, we also had been able to go on as long as we had without falling in love. Oh, but last night I fell. I do not regret it, but maybe I would have if I had not died. At least at this moment I can leave it as just a romantic thought. "The one - the right one - the boy loved for a day." I donít know if she would have been the right one. I donít know if she would have ever fallen in love with me, but this is the first one that has ever felt right. I donít know if she would have ever fallen in love with me, and so maybe itís better that I leave her tonight.

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