Dennis James Sweeney
Coyote, dressed as a beggar, sat outside Roadrunner's office holding a
smudged plastic cup by its handle. Roadrunner's generosity was famous:
Coyote knew he wouldn't resist the chance to show his kindness on the
stage of the city streets. He cackled. His plan was foolproof.
When Roadrunner came out at the end of the day, he paused, smiled at
Coyote, and pulled a brown bag from within his overcoat. "This is a bag
of money," Roadrunner said. "Here." Coyote took the brown bag greedily.
His ruse had worked. He stood as if to hug Roadrunner, although he
planned in seconds to bite his flesh and feast on the toned sinews
Suddenly, two police officers rushed up as if out of nowhere and took
Coyote underneath the arms. "What do you have in that bag?" one of them
asked. "Looks like crack to me," said the other one, opening it up.
They dragged him off to the waiting cruiser and threw him inside.
Neither of them even bothered to keep his head from banging the
Without money or social capital, Coyote was condemned to spend the rest
of his life in jail, reading the shitty novels that used bookstores
could not sell. A month after his sentence, Roadrunner visited him and
made as if to apologize for the mix-up. "That was my crack pocket, not
my money pocket," Roadrunner said, smirking. "It's terrible. They feel
so much alike."
Then Roadrunner pushed a half-empty pack of cigarettes across the
counter. Coyote, upon looking inside, spat at Roadrunner. His gob of
saliva hit the glass between them and made a tiny storm within the fog.
Roadrunner looked sadly at Coyote, shaking his head and breathing a
deep sigh. Coyote, looking inside the pack of cigarettes a second time,
pocketed them, stood, and kicked his chair. "Run, you fat fuck!" he
shouted as a guard pushed him to the floor and cuffed him. "Run, you
giant fucking bird!"
As Coyote screamed, Roadrunner approached the exit to the visiting
room. The sign on the door said, "Please limit your visiting time to
forty-five minutes." Roadrunner looked at his watch. It had been
fifteen. Outside, his convertible waited along with the sun of a spring
day. With a measure of relief, Roadrunner walked through the prison
door into the light.
Dennis James Sweeney lives in Corvallis, Oregon. He has work in or coming from Mid-American Review, alice blue, Fiction
Southeast and others.
Read DJS's postcard.
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