NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNDO FINE - JIMMY CALLAWAY
“Are you from around here?” she said. She smelled good. Clean.
“Yeah, originally,” he said, “but I haven’t been back in years.” The music was loud, but not so loud that he had to shout to be heard. All drum and bass. He could feel it more than anything.
“And what do you do?” she said.
“Um, I was a college professor, actually.”
“Really?” Despite everything, there was some innocence she just couldn’t fake. Her soft, brown eyes were naturally wide.
“Yeah. Physics. But I’m retired now.”
She gave him her flirty smile again. “You don’t look old enough to be retired.”
“Yeah, well. I took my pension early, and now I’m just traveling. Seeing the sights.” Smelling the smells, he almost added.
The song that had been playing ended, and she stood. Behind her, he could see other girls with other customers, young men gleefully parting with their money. And why not?
She took his hands in each of hers and gently laid them palm down at his sides. He knew the rules, but allowed her to guide him anyway. He leaned his head back on the sofa.
Nudging his feet with her own, she spread his legs a bit, giving herself more room to maneuver. And the next song began. All drum and bass.
She began rubbing up against him, her thighs, her belly. Her hands were on the sofa back at either side of his head. She brought herself up and forward, leaning in so her bra brushed his chin. He looked down at her breasts, the warm flesh, and inhaled deeply.
Up then, he’d smelled rivers choked with raw sewage.
Up then, he’d smelled the sweat of hundreds clawing through a grocery store.
Up then, he’d smelled human flesh roasting on a spit.
Back now, he inhaled deeply.
She turned and leaned over, hands on her knees, and she ground her ass into his crotch. It did little for him, but he enjoyed it anyway, smiling to see her so eager in her work. When back now had just been now, he’d never imagined how much fun a place like this would be.
Back now, he never wanted to leave.
She turned to face him again, and tears sprang to his eyes, startling him. Such caramel skin, such auburn hair, such drum and bass. He blinked rapidly. The lights were too low for her to see this. Thankfully.
Up then, he’d cried as his friends died one by one.
Up then, he’d cried as his parents killed each other.
Up then, he’d cried as the human race sat down to the table and consumed itself.
Back now, he was never going to cry again.
She slowly turned again so that her back was to him. She lowered herself carefully onto his lap, her hips twitching just once. She arched her back, and he felt the weight of her on his groin, on his stomach. She leaned to the right and rubbed her smooth cheek against his scratchy, deeply tanned face. And then she turned to him and blew a soft breath in his ear.
Up then, she was dead.
Up then, you are dead.
Up then, we will all be dead.
Back now, she is alive and he is here and there is soft breath in his ear.
The song ended.
She stood and said, “Do you wanna keep going?”
In his pocket was a double handful of bills from the valise he’d loaded up before leaving. There was little use for banks up then, and he’d walked right into a vault and walked out a millionaire. Back now, some of the dates on the bills wouldn’t match, but he knew it didn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter.
“Baby?" she said, “do you wanna keep going?”
“Yes,” he said, handing her a twenty and then another, “yes, I would like to very much.”
BIO: Jimmy Callaway wants you to know that he's still kicking and, as evidenced by the above story, still kicking ass. And, yeah, he would like very much to keep going.
Irish Times Crime Fiction column, February 2018
13 hours ago