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by GJ Hart

The blackbird is too slow, the blackbird is dead — commuted to pizza topping by the front tyre of John’s Hyundai Sonata. He pulls over, breathing hard, drops his head to the steering wheel and waits for the shakes to pass. Once composed, he drives on, scanning the tarmac ahead as the honeycombs of his radiator fill with sticky shredded exoskeleton.

John returns to his mean little flat, greedy little flat — munches up his wages — and which, despite the air fresheners he bulk buys, mocks him, refuses to smell of anything save piss, shit and rotten tweed. Damp, he blurts to those who, on the rarest occasions, he invites home.

John is evil, pure, undiluted evil — he hasn’t “fallen” or strayed or become polluted by suspicion and desire. And to corroborate — he isn’t bothered by conscience or plagued by impulses to do good which, when sublimated, manifest themselves as behavioural compulsions or verbal or physical ticks. Simply put, John is EVIL, intractably EVIL: he understands this just as he understands if he submerges his head beneath water for too long, he will drown.

However, contrary to expectations, you’ll never catch John out after dark, jacking cars or mugging citizens (he considers these good people’s evil anyhow). Just as, John would argue, you won’t find good people out night after night, community policing or handing food to the unfortunates under Waterloo Bridge. Instead, John spends his hours watching TV, cooking and compulsively seeking out internet clips featuring elephantine insects and volcanic boils.

Occasionally in quieter moments, he recalls how, as a child, he spent hours examining his crown in the bathroom mirror. Of course, he’d never found those three curling, uncanny numbers. “Perhaps,” he considers with a smile, “things would be different if I had.

GJ Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, Jersey Devil Press, The Airgonaut, The Harpoon Review, The Jellyfish Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.