Referencing a personage from the third sector and inspired by a right arm I saw today at one of my neighborhood Starbuxes.
The man with the rifle told the girl with argyle socks that the man lying on the cot couldn’t feel anything below the rib cage. The man with the rifle told the girl that he needed to step outside for thirty minutes and that she needed to watch the man on the cot. If he stopped breathing or exhibited any sign of distress, the girl should press the bright blue button on the monitor that was hooked up to the man.
The man with the rifle told the girl that he would return as quickly as he could and that he was counting on her. “He’s very important to me,” he explained.
The girl nodded. As the man with the rifle opened the door of the dimly lit storage room, he wondered if that nod was made in acknowledgment.
When the girl with the argyle socks first noticed the man on the cot when they were in the rifle man’s truck, she stayed far away. The man on the cot smelled different from anyone the girl had ever encountered. She wasn’t sure if his smoky, basil-tinged odor was to be feared or ignored. By the time she was tasked to pay attention to his vital signs, though, she had grown accustomed to it. It had been dark in the truck, so the girl was unable to process fully his features. After scanning the walls, she saw a panel of light switches on the side opposite of the door.
There were three knobs, each labeled, from left to right, with a symbol: fish, sun, fire. The girl turned the fish knob first. Nothing happened. She then turned the sun knob. Again, nothing happened. She then tried the fire knob, slowly turning it clockwise. The room brightened almost immediately with a bluish light. The girl focused her attention back on the man on the cot, which was placed in the middle of the room and parallel to the door. There was a pale orange blanket covering the lower half of the man; he was naked from the waist up. The girl moved in closer and noticed that the man’s upper arms were covered in tattoos of very thin, red lines that encircled his bronzed flesh. When the girl leaned in to look at them, the smoky basil scent became stronger, more concentrated. She inhaled deeply, hovering over the man’s body, all six-foot-two-inches of it.
The smell was coming from the middle of his torso. The girl bent foward, inching as near to his upper body as she could without touching him. She looked at and then moved towards his clean-shaven face. He had very long eyelashes. The girl put her left index finger to the man’s nose and felt a faint flow of air. He was still alive. The girl exhaled and remembered how hungry she was and that the man with the rifle found her as she was rummaging through abandoned cars looking for food.
The girl with the argyle socks stood back up and set her eyes on the man’s right arm. Under the glow of the blue light, it appeared to undulate. It was a perfectly shaped arm. The girl gently put her hands on it. Barely touching the smooth skin, she moved her hands across lithe contours. Her hunger sprang to action when her fingers convened at his elbow. She got on her knees, clasped his arm, softly kissed the inside of his elbow, and sank her teeth into his flesh. The girl thought she saw his eyelids flutter and then his feet flex.
When the man with the rifle came back inside the room, the pale orange blanket covered the other man’s entire body from the neck down. The girl was kicking a football back and forth across one side of the room.
“What happened?” the man with the rifle asked as he noticed that there were also dark stains on half of the blanket. “Where did you get that football from?”
“I found it in the bag under the table,” the girl answered without stopping.
The man with the rifle cleared his voice and repeated his first question. The girl told him she was hungry.
“You shouldn’t have left me alone with him.”
The man with the rifle lifted the blanket up and shook his head. “I spared your life, took you with me when I could’ve left you to rot just like the rest of your kind, and you’ve—where is his right arm?!”
The girl with the argyle socks let the football bounce against the closest corner. She didn’t go after it; instead, she lethargically went over to the table, sank to the floor, and reached behind the longer side of the blanket. When she stood back up, she was holding what was left of the man’s arm in one hand and a machete in the other.