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Boyle looked at his knuckles, opening and closing his hands.

That little guy on the other side of the counter would go down in a second under these hands, thought Boyle. He could feel it, see it, the weasel’s teeth biting into the skin on his knuckles, then giving way like bowling pins, like marbles, like pearls around a woman’s neck, the bones around his eye giving, going soft. He knew how it felt to deliver a punch to the kidneys, to hear the breath foosh out of a guy, you watch a fight and it only takes a second, you can look away at your beer and it’s all over but when you’re in there it’s hours days years the sounds coming out of his mouth with the teeth and spit, he’s wound all around your feet and you’re standing it’s all yours, everybody knows to be afraid of you, they get out of your way when you walk away, the girls looking at you out of the sides of their eyes, their cheeks pink and you’re all of it, you’re everything in that moment.

It was almost enough just to know it, almost enough today for Boyle as he took the deposit slip from the little guy. Give him the receipt or take a shot, dole out the cash or go, launch across the counter and into the light, no going back.


Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California.  Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle.  Read more stories by Caitlin Myer


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