Always the Nice Ones
By John P. Barker
One brilliant flash and it was over.
I watched as the bald man poked at George's body with the steel tip of his boot. It jiggled slightly, like a water
balloon held in an unsteady hand. The bald man looked at me and smiled.
"Seemed like a nice fella," he said. He tucked the gun in the waistband of his jeans and strode toward me.
His feet crunched gravel. "Was he?"
"He was okay I guess." I shoved my hands in my pockets. I'd known George for almost three days.
"Huh. You're good at that, ya know? Findin' the nice ones. No grovelin'. Ever notice that?"
"Yeah."
He was right, I thought. Always the nice ones. We'd been doing this for a while and I couldn't think of a single
bad one. Even the newborn hadn't cried.
"Says somethin' 'bout the human soul," he said, patting me on the back.
“Yeah? What?”
He thought for a moment. “Dunno. Just makes you think. Makes ya proud to be a man, I guess."
I just nodded and we began to walk toward the truck. I glanced at George.
The setting sun gleamed golden through the trees and stark shadows folded around the body in a blanket of
darkness. A pinprick of light bounced off of the gold watch on his wrist.
"What time ya got," the bald man asked.
I glanced at my watch, a dollar store digital. "Six thirty-five."
He chuckled. "Plenty a’ time.”
Breathing deeply, he gazed up into the trees. “Minutes are just little, teeny tiny years. How many minutes we
got?"
"George was forty-seven," I said.
"Forty-eight, here we come." He smiled at me and picked something from his teeth.
I opened the door to the truck, slid behind the wheel, and aimed for the Interstate.