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A Slant Of Sunshine

Frail, collar-boned thing, your chest rising and falling like a spent tidal bore. Hairless skin, taut over skull. The fingers of nurse Betty's hand splayed across its curvature. They are all here, the family, surrounding the bed. Even Sam, the fucker. Slant of sunlight through the curtains pools itself around your shrunken feet. Television down the hall bellows Let's Make a Deal! You'd like to reach out and touch nurse Betty's calf. Some days, voices are industrial warehouse doors, creaking as they slide. Raylene's scratchy sobs float in from the waiting room. Dead a half dozen years now. Smell of the EKG machine makes you want to piss. Middle of the night. Or day. Can't tell. You wish they'd stop whispering. The reek of silent farts. Time for pills. Runes in your palm. Right hand on left. Will the mortician switch them? Jerking nerves, like a once frog, electroded. Here's a bag of liquid clarity. Eat up, yum. Blisters on your buttocks. Could be a song. Willie Nelson, maybe? Oh Betty. My Betty. Sweet Betty. Shut up, Raylene!

Thinking about final words. Like:

Bob's Yer Uncle in da toid.

A pox on your houses!

Here lies I'm not dead yet.

Kiss me, Betty.

It wasn't me that farted. It was Sam, the fucker.

Pour quoi pas?

Or nothing. Just a wheeze and a whoosh, and yer outta here. Leave it all behind, blisters and buttocks. Oh Betty. You and me and a slant of sunshine. How good is that?

Story by:

Harry Posner

7 March 2014