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IF IT WILL NUMB THE PAIN by ROOTFIREEMBER

We sit at the bar, sipping bitter and home-made drinks from glasses that donít match; a hodge-podge tribe of liars. Weíre all trying to look human, all trying to look like we survived the great big fall from heaven unscathed. And itís all bullshit.

The new guy says he hitched a ride over, as if anyone would pick up a guy like that and just give him a ride. He seems to believe if he wears enough clothing itíll hide his rotting from the world; but you canít hide the scent of your body turning against you and decomposing as your cells go crazy with a thick coat and a gasmask, and the gun-waving doesnít hide your fear. The guyís on the run, and anyone can see he wonít make it much farther.

He sips beer from the bottle, hardly removing his gasmask, trying to look like he knows everything, but you can see blood beading from colorless and cracked lips, and pale skin starting to sloth off at the point where the mask would rub the most.

Heís not the first to come in here like that. Dead but not knowing it, speaking too loud, moving too fast, as if you can cheat your fate by merely throwing a big enough tantrum. They leave before the sun comes, and usually by noon you find their corpse on the road towards the mall, dead by disease or bullet, corpse looted before it grew cold.

The traveler tries to cloak himself in mystery, but took a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up getting misery instead, and seems slightly confused as to why the girls no longer flock to him for a fuck, and why the second-genners have stopped listening to his every word as if it were spoken by the Lost God Himself.

Those of us who remember tell tales of how it was before the End of the World, painting the world beautiful with sugar-coated recollections that are no more help to us than the new guyís pretending heís all alright helps him. But we do it all the same, and drink our bitter dregs.




In response to:

Have Another Drink, Survivor by Robin Le Blanc


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