By Gay Degani

Little brother Trev died at the clinic. Mom sprawled over his still-warm body. I know who did it. She told me no, but I run home, dig under the mattress for Dad’s nine and rage over to the avenue.

Hate this neighborhood. Hate gangstas. Living round the corner from poor black don’t work. Breathing hard. Bulge in my waistband digs ribs. Young Russell not on his corner.

Can’t see for the purple flood in my eyes. Trevor dead. Trevor shot. Get going, can’t stop, feet bossing my head, my head nothing but fog. Got to make it happen. Sweat pours. Breeze hits hot cheeks. Can’t swallow my own spit.

Legs make me trot. Down Old Russell’s block. Dogs bark. Baby wails. In someone’s house on someone’s TV, gunshots pop, cars screech, music thunders. Porch lights burn in darkness. His flickers. Yanks me to it.

At Old Russell’s metal gate, hand on latch, weeds at feet. My purple-red mist swirls. Trev. Mom. Heart splits. Chest blooms. Slam through, gate hits chain link. Pound up Old Russell’s steps. Pull out the nine. Break door window. Black and white movie on this TV. Old Russell shuffles around a corner from his kitchen, balancing a bowl of soup, blowing on it, eyes coming up. I spy the shotgun leaning against the wall. Holler “Motherfucker.” Fire. One Russell is as good as another.

Gay Degani, a resident of Los Angeles, has had three flash stories nominated for Pushcart consideration, a full-length collection, Rattle of Want, (Pure Slush Press, 2015) and a suspense novel, What Came Before (Truth Serum Press, 2016). She blogs at Words in Place.

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