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Endings to stories I've never written, nor have any intention to write. Maybe that'll be your job for one of them.

Some call it closure, some call it sadness, still others call it the end all, be all. Me? I just call it another day here on Alpha Centauri.

I still don't understand it. The grace wasn't amazing. It wasn't a sound, and if it was, it sure as hell wasn't sweet. But the fucked up thing is, it was there. You can find passion and faith and God in whatever you want, and it'll be was as real as the snares and toils that I sure as hell found a lot easier than the rock. Then I found heroin. That was halle-fuckin'-lujah.

And as the last wisps of crisp sunlight receded back over the horizon, releasing the land they once held into the sweet embrace of dusk, Clarkson looked out and he knew, as sure as the sun would rise and the rain would fall, that this would be the last time he ever rang up another sale at that goddamn Piggly Wiggly.

He hopped up over the guard rail onto the cushy black leather of his fire apple red Mustang and mashed the accelerator, hearing the sound of 600 horses tugging at their reigns. That sound took him back, back beyond the flatfoots and newsies chasing after him, beyond the crushed up dreams sitting in that fucking pipe that always rode shotgun, beyond the bullet wounds in his shoulder, and in his heart. He threw the car into reverse and sped out of that neighborhood, going West. Because he was a young man, and that's what young men do.

Steel grays and brilliant sparks flashed all around the bi wing, as systems started to fail, slowly starting from starboard and moving port. The Skipper, with all the strength he could muster, swung his turret around, and with it took out two more of the incoming fighters. The Gunner was dead, his soul sipping whiskey sours back in Jersey. The Skipper looked down and saw fate moving towards him, as fast as a .36 caliber Gatling would allow it. And his only regret was that he never did get to see Teddy Ballgame with his father; if only his old man felt the same way.

"I'm sorry, that's all we can offer you at this time. Your cashier's check is waiting for you."

She fluffed the pillows, on both sides, if only to feel normal again. She always made two table settings, but threw away the leftovers. Driving the car was strange for Clara, his hands having made the slightest of grooves at 10 and 2. The house still smelled like motor oil and scotch, that perfect mixture of blue-collar hands and a white-collar heart. She missed his laugh, his jokes, and, Godammit, she even missed the tip of his belt and the flat of his palm. Because no matter what the fucking support groups said, he loved her; he just didn't know how to show it.

The phone rang. Once. Twice. He picked it up halfway through three.
"Trent, please. I got this one. For once, let me just prove I have what it takes!"
"It's not you I'm worried about. But you know damn well what it is."
"I haven't had a slip in three weeks, asshole. I mean shit, I already did the job! Give me some credit for Christ sake."
"Fine. But if it turns out you fucked this up, it's your ass."
"Yeah, well fuck you too."
Bridger hung up the phone, and turned towards the beauty laying on the bed next to him. Shapely curves with that deep golden color he loved so much, smelling faintly sweet, a smell that took him back. He held her gently, savoring every minute.
"Fuck it. I've earned it. It's been 6 months, dammit."
With that, he unscrewed the lid, took the biggest drag he could muster, and then laid back on the bed. He had 3/4 of a bottle left. Cirrhosis doesn't even do it justice.

Created: Dec 29, 2010


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