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Mildew and Sawdust

The whole place smelled of mildew and sawdust.

You ever seen the way that old wood rots? It pulls itself apart with the help of fungus, bacteria, mold, and all sorts of insects.

That’s the normal process.


      In that abandoned fishing village, you couldn’t step on a plank without fear of plummeting into the dark waters of the lagoon. It was crude oil; the sludge would have acted as tar for the unfortunate soul to fall between the cracks for a moment. Some newspapers blow by the ruined pier with a headline exclaiming, “GET OUT NOW!”. Yes, it is that cliché. Nobody moved in that little town, the fish included.

        The village was sheltered from the winds and waves by a natural mass of land, preventing flow between the lagoon and the ocean. Three decades ago, Charlie Brooks was the last man to leave the place. He drawled over his final glass of whiskey before his flight from the village, “Damn town never gave me shit… Gave me TOO MUCH shit! That’s what I fuckin’ say, that’s what I fuckin’ say. Darla, you listen to me, you fuckin’ listen to me Darla, there ain’t gonna be no kind of business in this fuckin’ town. The fish are dead! They’ve been dead for a fuckin’ year! DARLA! DARLA! Come with me Darla! Love me baby!”.


        Darla finished cleaning a glass and turned around, effortlessly sending a foaming beer to a traveling vendor who had ordered the pisswater that nobody complained about; they knew it was all they were gonna get in that village. “That’s 50 cents on your tab, sir”, Darla spoke surely. “Listen Charl, you got another day in our port, so act like you have a backbone and pick yourself up. You don’t need me you fuckin’ cretin”.


        “No fuckin’ way Darla, you can’t just say no! I sank my life into lovin’ you and your ass—”


        “Yeah, me and ‘my ass’. Fuck you Brooks. Fuck you for having the money to get out of this place.”

        “Well LISTEN THEN! I got- I got insults for you, cunt. I’ll slather you in mustard and fuck your goddamn brains out. I’ll grab you –”

        “Get the FUCK out before I get the shotgun, Charl. I will blow your head off if you ask me to fuckin’ blow you again”, Darla railed as she reached beneath the table and grabbed a massive double barrel shotgun.

        The magnificent weapon gleamed in the dim light of the bar, the only clean thing owned by Darla or Charlie Brooks or anyone else in the village. 

        “DARLA! You wouldn’t fuckin’ dare; you know I got a life ahead of me, hell, I’d rather you love me than shoot me, baby!—”


        A gunshot rang out amongst the forgotten buildings of the port town, ripping planks out of walls and bones out of bodies. The blood coated the oily death that lay under the bar, mixing brilliantly as Charlie Brooks whimpered on the floor, guts hanging out of his wound, intestines dropping by gravity’s desire to brush the tar.


        The authorities collected the top third of Mr. Brooks and sent it along with the miniaturized steamboat that pulled up to the dock asking after its late customer. The boat puffed away as Darla cleaned her gun, seated on a stool in the dim twilight of a new moon.

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