(Finale of six-day series — Sympathy)
I wake up on a table. It is cold. I am cold. I look down. I am naked. The door opens. A woman walks in.
“Hello,” she says with a peaceable smile.
I cover up as much as I can with my hands. I frown at her.
“Who the hell are you?”
The woman shrugs. It’s a beautiful shrug; soft, careless, confident. Why the hell am I naked, I think.
She has a gun strapped to her side. She leans against the wall.
“You are a mess, huh?” she asks.
I look down at myself.
“I haven’t been to the gym lately,” I mutter. She laughs. It sounds like an alarm.
“I meant, the mess you’re in, to be fair, you’re taking it all rather well.”
I make a face. “Things have gotten a bit weird in my life lately.”
She nods. “I can see that,” she says, looking at my stomach.
“Who the hell are you?” I demand, feeling a burst of emotion.
“Golem, or, well, part of it,” she says, “Gentiles for the elimination of Hitler in every manifestation.”
I frown. “That doesn’t make sense.”
She shrugs, “oh well. It doesn’t have to, as long as you get the point.”
I nod slowly, “you kill Hitlers?”
“In all dimensions?”
She nods. “You’re clever,” she pauses, frowns, then adds, “enough.”
“And you’re here for, my —“ I cough, “the Hitler, inside of me.”
“What about Slick? And Butch and, wait, Larry? He is Hitler too!”
The woman only nods.
“Do you have my cigarettes?” I ask.
The woman reaches into her pocket and pulls out my pack and a lighter. She tosses them to me. I light one and sit up.
“I suppose a don’t have a choice?” I say.
She laughs. It goes on too long to be real. It stops too suddenly.
“No,” she says simply.
“And my friends?”
“We have them. After we remove the abomination, you’ll all be sent home.”
I smoke the cigarette to the filter. The woman watches.
“What if I won’t let you?” I ask, more out of curiosity.
I immediately regret it; I’m tired of getting hit in the face. Oh well.
I wake up around the kitchen table back in my apartment. N and M are talking about Radiohead.
“The hell?” I mutter, scratching dried spit from my beard. They turn to me.
“Hey!” they cry. I stare at them. They are both blind drunk.
My head hurts, my stomach, worse.
“It was so messed up,” M slurs which N nods. “They, like, dude, they like killed all the Hitlers. It was sick. An not like good sick, messed up sick.”
N nods, slowly.
I reach over and take what’s left of the whiskey down in a gulp.
N stands up and walks to the spot between the sink and fridge. He waves his hand in the open air. He shrugs and comes back to sit.
“You alright?” he asks.
I nod, slowly.
“No, not a bit.”
Then, a popping sound. We all turn. Slick steps into the kitchen from between the sink and fridge.
A bullet blows through his head like a car forgetting to stop.
Golem walks and stands over Slick’s body. She turns.
N waves with two fingers. M passes out drunk on the table. I throw up, just a little.
Golem nudges Slick with her boot. She chuckles.
I shake my head.
“I wanted to apologize.” She says the last word through her teeth.
“Your child was a girl so, it seems we made a mistake. She has been put into the body of a healthier host who will deliver her and she will become one of us. She will be well cared for. Thought I should come tell you in person.”
She looks again to Slick.
“Lucky I did, eh?”
I try to nod. Instead, my mouth falls open a little bit.
Golem takes a deep, first-day-of-spring, breath. She grabs Slick by the boot. She drags him back through the sink and fridge.
There is a pop. And that’s the last of it all.