Abierto 24 Horas

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"Abierto 24 Horas" is a chapbook written by Frank Ballast written in a pulp style. Ballast has alleged that the short was meant to be longer but he wrote it whilst eating a broccoli soup at a Panera and, having finished, never got back to writing the rest.

Story

Tin cans holding roses supported by beans. Dried beans. Of the red variety. On a windowsill. In a brown brick building of ten stories. This is where my day starts. Every morning I say hello to bean-fed roses and goodbye to my cat. Hit the pavement… not so much running… I’ve always been more of an ambler. I pack heat. I pack two pieces of heat actually.One shoots six, one is six shots. Smith & Wesson. Jack Daniel’s. One’s use generally heralds the other’s.

I fit my head in the fedora and lock the balsa wood door. As shade passes me as I throw the deadbolt.

“Comin’ through,” says the gorilla in a trench coat.

“Excuse me, pal,” I say. I can hear his contemptuous snort of a reply. “Fucker,” I mumble to myself.

The lift’s broken as usual. I’ll take the stairs. I open the door. Down the stairwell I see a dead cockroach. Just another tenant behind on the rent.

“Tough break, kid,” I say to the corpse.

On the street my heels grind the grit of the sidewalk. I need some more ammo so I turn into the liquor shop. No sooner do the door’s bells chime than Charlie greets me.

“Here for some breakfast, Frankie?”

“You got it. Load me up.” I put my flask on the counter and he fills it from a handle on the shelf behind him.

“Fuck these cold days in April,” I bitch. “What’s the winter words for Indian Summer?”

“Damned if I know.” He spins the cap into place and hands me my piece. I slap down a quarter dollar, tip my hat and take my leave. Not without a bracing swig to thaw the cold in my bones.