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by David Jaggers

It calls to us. The dark undertow pulsing through the dirty streets. A siren’s call to the degenerate legions living on the dimly lit fringe of the city. We are the untouchables, the tumescent growth quietly spreading in the shadows. We are the ignored, the stepped over, the junkies and the hookers. We all dance to the same tune, the electric thrum that is the lowlife serenade.

Our flag is our vice. The drink, the drugs, the unquenchable lust for flesh. The downward spiral into self-annihilation is the only path we know and it is well worn, littered on the wayside with the pitted bones of those who went before us.

It was into this world that I was born. The bastard son of a strung out whore who never bothered to give me a name. The man who took me in abused me daily. I have a half dozen scars that show and just as many that don’t. When I was old enough to lift a pistol, I shot him in the balls and sat on his chest as the life drained out of him onto the dirty linoleum. I was ten.

Now, twenty years on, I haven’t changed at all. Still the broken child, the throw away soul. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that life has a habit of coming full circle. Here I lay, bleeding out in the back of a derelict Chrysler as rusty as my conscience. I was no doubt conceived in a similar place, a quick twenty dollar fuck by a scumbag in a hurry to get home to his family.

The knife wound might heal if I can get the bleeding to stop, but I don’t really care. The Oxy I took off that pimp’s lifeless body has dulled the worst of the pain and the roll of moldy duct tape should keep my guts in place, for a while. I just need to keep shock from setting in long enough to finish what I started.


When I kick the rotted door in at Reggie’s place, dime sized drops of my blood hit the syringe littered floor under me. He’s on the couch, a bony, scab faced chick attached to the business end of his dick. I slam the plastic bag over his head and twist it so hard my knuckles crack. As Reggie sucks at the foggy layer keeping the air from his lungs, I look him dead in the eyes. It feels just like when I was ten; that last gasp before the lights go out for good.

I can hear the whore screaming from behind me, asking what he did to deserve this. The truth is he had it coming the day he was born. We’re all just skimming around the edge, waiting our turn to spiral down into the darkness. Some of us are just further along in line.

David Jaggers lives in fly over country, where he spends his days in the white collar world and his nights feeding the thugs, pimps, and enforcers he keeps caged in his basement. He has been published in Near to the Knuckle, Yellow Mama, Spelk, Out of the Gutter, and various other magazines and anthologies.