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Death (the beginning of a novel)

July 8, 2011

Ervin Polgar shuts his copy of Kafka and fumbles with the buttons of his shirt.

Give it a rest, will you? Says the man sitting across from him, who wipes his oily fingers on his inner thigh, then picks up another fritter.

Ervin looks up at the man and smiles faintly, then returns to unbuttoning his shirt. There are nine bullet holes in his flesh. The highest is directly below the collarbone. Several holes cluster around his sternum, and others radiate outward across his chest. Another is located directly under the ribcage and to the right of the solar plexus. The lowest and most incredible hole is directly in the center of his naval, so that in place of a bellybutton there is only a puckered black hole.

Here. The ciphers of my death. Ervin gestures to the perforations. Thirteen years I have tried to read them, but Death is nothing if not mysterious. Thirteen years today. A firing squad riddled me with a riddle. He chuckles again. A riddle. Today, I drink to the riddle of death, and he raises a small, thick glass of Bikaver into the air.


© Trent R. Leinenbach, Ashen Apples, 2011

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