​Remember I was real hungry and I shot him five times because he was holdin’ and I didn’t have the money and at first it was face to face then I pulled my momma’s gun got it from that Payless shoebox she keeps on the top shelf of her bedroom closet next to the scrubs don’t fit no more but if she got to work another twenty at the hospital sits right across from this courthouse (she probably working there now used to be called St. Mary’s ‘til it secularized to Kenneth Hall she always say a church is like a hospital so she just goin to church sometimes she drinks vodka and says it different says: I would tell you to go to hell but I work there and I don’t want to see you everday… funny ain’t it how the courthouse and the hospital have to use the same parking lot) anyway them patterned scrubs they might fit again someday the gun was inside some old snow boots a snubbed .38 she got her a permit for it after she divorced my daddy back when I was about nine and when I pulled it from the back of my pants on the stairs in front of Roger it wasn’t no face to face no more he was a couple of steps above me and he didn’t give it up he didn’t hand me the rock he turned to run and that’s when I shot him.  I guess since I had to shoot up he made it to the door.  To the exit on the fourth floor (we was at his baby mama’s tenement on Bond and that was her floor she was at the end of the hall by the broken elevator and if he had died if he hadn’t of made it there this would be a different kind of trial) and shit I didn’t make it down to the service exit before the po po had me on the ground by the dumpsters and mailboxes little black girls in the back apartment playground didn’t even stop swinging and the boys in the sandbox didn’t even notice.

Wish he’d just fucking say that… thinks Gary Kelevra.  He was in that parking lot sitting in his black Pontiac Sunfire.  Staring at the yellow engine light which had just come on.  Fucking jury duty.  At least he didn’t have to work and he worked at a hospital too—Touchette just down Bond Avenue a bit past the graffiti on the pawn shops and barred up convenient stores.  East St. Louis is just that.  It’s just the other side of the river, and the Mississippi wouldn’t call it a direction.

He had turned twenty-five last month. The furor of Y2K had worn off and he must have answered the questions right the lawyer’s questions the judge’s questions.  Gary had told the judge he was a writer.  The judge in his black robe had turned his head to the left to look down on him in the jury box and he smiled when he said he liked Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.  Gary wanted to wish a train could be heard going by after all the tracks weren’t far from the courthouse and the hospital either, but he didn’t and of course he didn’t hear anything.

The defendant’s name was Clarence…

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