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Under the Bridge

Here's a delightful tale from Rob Pierce that brought Tom and I back to our hobo days...

Say what you want about hobo living; there's a beauty in such a simple existence. And the black swan stew ain't bad, either. But in the Gutter, you always gotta watch your back...

Under the Bridge by Rob Pierce

There’s a place under the bridge, where the river’s still damp. Me and Charlie drink that water sometimes, just to get something in us that ain’t wine. The wine’s probably better for us than that muck, but a man’s supposed to drink water sometimes, right?

We woke up down there, the sun just coming up. My jacket wasn’t much of a blanket and Charlie’s was thinner, but we weren’t dead. So far, so good.

“Today,” I said.

Charlie nodded, spit, had a coughing fit and spit a whole lot more. “But you mean it this time,” he rasped.

“But I mean it this time,” I said. Maybe I’d told him this before.

We walked. The world wasn’t awake yet so it couldn’t see how filthy we were. We knew, but we didn’t; we were used to it. We only knew other people backed up when we got near, because of how we looked and smelled. We didn’t bother each other.

“He’s a dick,” I said. “No one will miss him.”

“They already don’t miss us,” Charlie said.

“They already don’t miss us.” I nodded in agreement. “We’re nothing. We can do anything.”

It was true, and Charlie nodded. Me and Charlie kept each other warm, even when it wasn’t the weather that made us cold.

“So we kill him and take his money and move him under the bridge,” Charlie said. “And we move out.”

“No one cares about the people under the bridge,” I said. “Living or dead.”

We were out in the sun now. It was awful. And Charlie was bugging me, saying half my thoughts before I did. I checked my coat pockets but I knew there were no bottles left.

“I wish you had money,” I said to Charlie.

“Then one of us would kill the other,” he said. “And we’d both sleep alone.”

Rob Pierce writes and publishes genre fiction that he considers literary, because he fails to see the difference. His writing can be found in various dark places. As can he. His fiction has been or will be published in Bicycle Review, The Literary Underground, Zygote in My Coffee, The Doctor T.J. Ecklesburg Review, and Monday Night. His editing skills are on display at Swill (