Cherry presses the .22 hard into the piggy forehead of the suit kneeling
before her in the alley. "So, let me get this straight - is it John Wise-ass?"
The suit nods.
"Can I just call you Jesus cause you're gonna get me some loaves and
fishes?" Cherry asks.
The suit nods.
"Now, you come four blocks West of Vine so's you can go to some deli and get
a ... uh ... what you call it?"
"Rueben." The suit sags, going limp. His hands are behind his head and he's
trying real hard not to cry.
"Yeah. That got corned beef and what else you say?"
"Sauerkraut and ... and Swiss cheese and Thousand Island Dressing," he
"That don't sound like no sandwich, Mr. Jeeeezusman. Sound like an airport
or somethin'." She pulls the gun away leaving a fresh red barrel ring on his
The suit coughs and gurgles like he's going to be sick.
Cherry steps back and stumbles over a chunk of asphalt. The gun goes off
like a firecracker.
The suit wets himself.
"Guess I put a scare into you, huh Jeez?"
The suit looks up at her, in-the-eye square, cause now he's real scared.
Cherry hates when they think she won't take their money if they look her
straight on. She studies his face. His mouth drops open, staring at
something over her head with his big wet eyes.
"You lookin' to Heaven, now, Mister Jesus? Well, don't bother cause the
Almighty has forsaken your ass."
"No!" he yells, lunging forward towards Cherry. She backs up as the suit
dives past her. A small boy drops from the sky like a heavy sack to land on
him. Cherry screams. "Tyrell!" The suit looks in the face of the toddler and
softly cradles his head. Cherry scrambles over, gathering up the boy.
"Funny man!" Tyrell laughs, pointing at the suit. Cherry starts breathing
again and looks up at the building. She sees an older child peeking over a
crumbling windowsill. "Marcus! You s'posed to be watchin' this boy!"
"I...I'm sorry Mamma. He just wanted to see you."
"You go on and wait for me. Go on!"
The boy nods. "Mamma? You gonna let that man go home now?"
Cherry turns and focuses on the spot where the suit had broken Tyrell's
fall. She catches his movement as he lumbers toward the alley's entrance.
"Stop, Jesusman!" she yells. "You gotta come back here and turn my chewing
gum into loaves and fishes!"
The suit glances back and sees the gun pointed at him.
"You won't shoot." his voice quavers.
"I will. I don't care."
The suit glances toward Tyrell. "I can see that."
Cherry's skin flushes rage. "Well Mr. Big-ass Jesus. Don't think you know
anything cause you don't."
The suit continues slowly down the alley.
"Don't do it!" Cherry pushes Tyrell behind her.
"I saved him," the suit says, cringing, but keeps walking.
Cherry steadies her hand around the gun, pumping a shot off toward the suit.
The bullet grazes his foot. He drops, whimpering. Cherry is on him, ripping
his wallet from his pocket, yanking out bills. "You dissed me for twenty
bucks?" She throws the empty wallet down on his face.
Jesus hadn't bought her much time.
Brenda Glasure lives the somewhat surreal life of a suburbanite. In the past 5 years, she has ditched her journalistic background for the beguiling
labor of writing fiction. She parcels out the remainder of her time between
raising two humans, tending a vegetable garden, and teaching grade-schoolers how
to read and write.