Brian Francis Slattery is as much musician as he is writer, which you can tell from how his prose just sings. It also shines through in his depiction of these two down-on-their-luck musicians. Sure, aliens have conquered the world, but a gig’s a gig, y’know?
~ Julian Yap, February 20, 2022.
“Our money. Where is it?”
It’s another red morning thanks to the volcano. We can see it through the window at the end of the hall. I’m standing in the doorway to our apartment. Ferenc has his gun on me. Blue’s doing the talking.
“We don’t have the money on us, Blue,” I say. “But we will tonight, after our show at the Striped Leopard.”
“Striped Leopard doesn’t pay,” Blue says.
“They pay enough,” I say.
“We’ll be there right after the show to collect,” Blue says.
“We’ll have it,” I say.
Because I’m not putting up a fight, Blue doesn’t have a lot of rhetorical options. He nods toward Ferenc.
“If you don’t,” he says, “we shoot Clyde first.”
Ferenc nods. I close the door and glide to Clyde’s room. He’s still in bed, the cheap plastic blinds filtering the volcano’s light.
“Who was that?” he says, without opening his eyes.
“People wanting money,” I say.
“Mine or yours?”
“Did you give them any?” Clyde says.
“No. I told them we had a show tonight.”
Clyde sighs. “We need that money.”
“They’re going to kill you if we don’t give it to them.”
“So they say,” Clyde says. “We still have enough to get our instruments out of hock, right?”
Clyde opens his eyes and squints at the blinds, tinged the color of match heads.
“The volcano’s always erupting,” he says.
* * *
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