A Bad Ending (Ginger Man 9M)

The Sleeping Jaywalker ran forward, catching his captors (who assumed he was still sleeping) by surprise. The man in the leather jacket did not see him coming, and fell quickly at the Sleeping Jaywalker’s tackle, the knife falling from his hand and clattering against the concrete floor.

The fat man in sweats and muscular man in jeans pounced on the Sleeping Jaywalker as he wrestled on the floor with the man in the leather jacket.

Charlie remembered asking why none of the thugs had a gun. “I don’t like guns,” Mike had said, and wasn’t impressed with Charlie’s reply that thugs usually didn’t share his opinion.

The Sleeping Jaywalker used his experience as collegiate wrestling champion — Charlie muttered an apology to his memory of Mike as he wrote — to subdue the men, and free the woman tied to the chair. Minutes later the two of them ran out of the warehouse.

Charlie put the pen and notebook down on the sofa. He’d written enough, he thought, had completed Mike’s story in rough outline form. The clock in the kitchen read 4:30, and a stifling yawn ripped through his body. Maybe he’d come back to the story the next day, explain why the thugs had killed the nurse and fortune teller, why they had faked the cop’s death. At least come up with a better ending. As he walked back to the bedroom of his parent’s trailer, where Maggie continued her deep sleep, Charlie remembered bad endings always seemed to be a problem with Mike’s stories. “Your stories don’t end,” he’d told him once, “they just stop. It’s like you give up or something.” Mike hadn’t liked that comment, in fact hadn’t liked much of anything Charlie had said to him the last couple years, as they graduated high school, as Mike went off to college. And came back from college. And died.

Charlie collapsed on the bed, threw the blankets over him, Maggie stirring quietly then coming back to rest. Mike, Charlie thought, darkness coming over him. What the hell were you thinking? And then lost consciousness.

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