Bichos (Creatures)

The brown-haired man rolled himself up into a ball in the bloody bed and took the last swig of cheap brandy. The sheets were sweaty and so was he. It was getting late, but that didn’t matter anymore. He had gone too far this time. The night sky was riddled with white points. He thought about rolling out of the bed, but couldn’t find a reason to. He put his lips to the bottle again and sucked air. He pushed himself up onto his arms. His head hung in between his shoulders. His hair hung in front of his face. He was naked. He looked around the room for something to wear.

He found a set of keys on the floor and tested them in the door. When he was satisfied that the keys would let him back in, he left, locking the door behind him. The night air was beautiful. A terrible insult to him. A terrible reminder that he could never be who he had been ever again. He didn’t regret it. He had already reconciled with the fact that he was not much longer for this world. In many ways, he was happy about it. When he got to the liquor store, he went straight back to the overproof rum without even a glance at anyone else in the store.

A shrill voice rose from near the counter. “Just let me have the beer, man.” A young woman was complaining. “I’ve been here a thousand times!” she shouted. It seemed that the clerk disagreed with her, but he didn’t say much about it. Her face was agitated, and for a moment it made her look older.

The brown-haired man waited for her to move out of the way. When she did, he placed two bottles on the counter and took enough cash from the wallet.

“Hey, mister,” she said, letting her frown twist up to a straight line.

The brown-haired man knew what was coming, but he didn’t care.

“Hey, mister? Hello?” she said with a wavering inflection as she waggled two fingers in his face. When he looked at her, she cringed for a moment, but quickly switched to a smile. “Yeah?” he said, with barely any breath in his lungs. “Ugh, god. Never mind,” she huffed. Then she left. The brown-haired man shrugged and looked at the clerk, who cringed for a moment, but quickly switched to a smile.

The brown-haired man left the liquor store. Behind him angels’ bells rang. He looked around the night streets and looked to the sky. Stars winkled at him. He cracked open one of the bottles and tipped it back, looking at the sky until his eyes teared up. He looked around again, took another swig and cringed for a moment, and quickly switched to a smile.