Fiction by Leonard Pigg
There was a passive yet annoying knock at the door and I knew it was her. I had never liked her because she was a user. She was a lamprey who clung to his back, feeding off of him because she was too weak to fend for herself. I told him not to answer it but he opened the door anyway and let her in, knowing the world would soon be coming to a sudden and violent end. She asked him how he was doing so he gives the typical lie: “I’m fine.” He reflects back on the 1,001 regrets that have plagued his all-too-short existence but he just can’t seem to help himself wait for the next regret to occur. The two of them sit on the couch sipping bottled water and going through the usual pleasantries. I stand in the background hoping things go right this time. I know his heart —at least what’s left of it. In my mind, I tell him that he should just keep quiet and preserve what’s left of his sanity.
He prefaces his story with the fact that they’ve been getting progressively closer over time and that she has come to mean quite a bit to him. She interrupts him, which is a bad idea, and tells him that he’s simply a good friend. I advised him to just tell her to get out of his life once and for all. He ignored me and clung to the idea that love would win out. I told him that only works when both parties feel the same. But she? She’s a void. Still, he lays it all out on the table, explaining his undying love for her, how he wants to take care of her, grow old with her and that he would die for her.
She sticks to her guns of friendship, shooting him down in the proverbial street like a wounded animal. His eyes well up with tears and you could hear his heart breaking like a dropped mirror. I wept for him because he was my only friend and I had failed to protect him from this foul temptress. She remains stone-faced and gets up to leave, turning her back on him. He calls to her one last time as she goes to the door. When she turns to him, she is shocked to see he has a gun pointed at her.
Suddenly she begins to see the light and tells him that he is right and that maybe things can work out. I know the words of a desperate liar when I hear them and so does he. He smiles at her. She thinks that everything will be okay; she tries to calm him with the compassion she only had when she wanted something. A single shot fired. Then another shot and another ring out into the night. She slumps to the ground, a crimson rag doll. Before she dies, I pray for her soul as she murmurs like a newborn. She looks right at me for the first time and locks eyes with me as she gives her final breath. He goes to the opposite side of the room and huddles in the corner, unable to process the deed he has done.
A seemingly endless amount of minutes go by and I hear sirens in the distance. I lift him to his feet as he turns into a stammering idiot. I convince him that he was a good person once and that he could never make it through prison. He argues with me a bit but finally realizes the error of his ways. I told him that I was sorry my help was never enough. I have failed him as a guardian angel. In actuality, I have known good men and women in my travels and those two were a far cry from such an idea. I think that there are many good people in the world. Some just aren’t good enough. He shoots himself dead and I float out the door.
My work here is done.