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“He’s not on.”

They’re lying. “He told me to come back tonight. He said he’ll be on after 3,” I say, smiling like I like them.

Fuck them. Fuck them all.

“He’s not,” says the fat one with the droopy mouth. She rechecks the papers.

“No, not tonight. You’ve got it wrong.”

I shrink under her gaze. I take out the package. I show it to her.

“I got this for him.”

The package is tired. I’ve been carrying it around. I got it squished under my arm so many times it’s shaped like my armpit. It’s still white-like, but the bow’s about to fall off.

It looks secondhand. It is. I found it in a garbage bin. It smells it too, like smoke and booze and sweat.

Never mind, the knife inside it is sharp. I checked. I sliced through a tree branch with a flick of the wrist. It’s an old hunting knife shaped like a fish, its scaly handle growing into a long, smooth, solid blade thick enough to cut through ribs.

I’m the hunter. I’m gonna get my kill.

Tonight or tomorrow, I’m gonna get him.

I make myself small. They like it when you’re small. Makes them feel big and strong.

I bend my good right knee a bit more and slump my shoulders.

“Got it wrong then. Sorry. When’s he on?”

She looks at me, her sharp eyes getting soft. I don’t matter; I’m nothing to worry about. I’m small and old and dirty. She’s sorry for me.

“I can’t tell you,” she says. “It’s against the rules.”

I rub my left eye, the one with the infection. It tears. “I just wanna thank him,” I say. “He helped my son; he’s a great doctor.” I look down and make myself smaller. “I have a gift for him.”

I show her the box again.

She breaks. She looks at the papers and says, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow at 9. He’ll be here.”

I rub my eye and thank her. I leave slowly, limping on the left like I always do.

I don’t rush until I’m out in the dark and I know she can’t see me. They can’t see me.

Tomorrow at nine.

My knife and I, we have a date.



Spider is an excerpt from my novel OVERDOSE, An ER Psychological Thriller, now on Amazon.