Trepidation was in her as she shot an eye check to the old men. They were worn. Time has slicked their surfaces and hidden their edges and corners. You couldn’t get purchase on them–they were no longer individuals but things–all the special about them had been sanded off and they were just angry, opinionated old men now. Different once, they must have been different once but no longer because they had embraced the cliche’ and burrowed into the accepting safety of prejudice and broken hearts.
Was there a worse death? Occasionally they gently leer at her. She knows this. No touching, they know this too. Once a quintet they are now a quartet because Billy the Knife had heard about number 5. Words collided in the parking lot. Billy said everything without saying anything. Tone, volume, and word choice; so perfect and menacing and so innocent, The Knife was an artist with food and with words. Been there, done that, he had said to her. Won’t let anyone get away with that shit. No one, he said with a true hardness in his eyes. Somewhere back there someone had failed him. She could tell. The Knife was sharp and ready. Been there. Done that.