| Dead Shot |
By Annie Solomon
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From the edge of the angry crowd, he watched the fat black limousine crawl to the entrance of the Gray Visual Arts Center. The place blazed, lights piercing the night like knife points. Flags celebrating the art museum's first anniversary flapped against poles in the night breeze, snapping like skins.
Someone bellowed a chant. "De-cen-cy! De-cen-cy!" The crowd joined in, fisted arms raised in time to the beat. "De-cen-cy!"
A protester broke from the police lines and rushed the car, attacking the windshield with a homemade placard on a stick. The man couldn't read what it said, but he could guess from the others around him: go home, sicko, no to death art, jesus is the true sacrifice. A phalanx of uniformed cops pried the scraggly man off the car and dragged him away.
Amid the swirlthe multitude of TV trucks with their satellite antennas, the angry crowd, the police trying to maintain a barricadethe man stood still, hands buried deep in his jacket pockets. The eye of the hurricane.
He inhaled deeply, absorbed the chaos through his skin. It leached into his veins and up his bloodstream, pumped hard and fast through his heart. The noise, the excitement, the energy of the night juiced him with a seething envy he could hardly contain.
For her. All for her.
The crowd pushed against the police line as the limousine stopped at the foot of the museum steps. He stood in the back, and from that distance, the four passengers appeared like tiny dolls climbing the stairs. But he imagined them. Wrapped in silk and glitter, six-thousand-dollar tuxedos, three-thousand-dollar shoes.
And her pale, white body, such fragile beauty, soft and perfumed.
A swarm of reporters descended from all sides of the steps and overwhelmed the four passengers. The shape of the swarm bulged and contracted as people shoved each other for position.
Jealousy churned into white-hot resentment. It should be him up there. Him in the newspapers, him on television. It should be his name the crowd chanted.
She was a liar, and a cheat.
He was the real thing.
She only imitated death.
He created it.
Excerpted from Dead Shot , by Annie Solomon . Copyright (c) 2007 by Wylann Solomon. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.Back to top