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Detainee 717


Chapter 6

K13 has parked on the other side of a cartoon-orange commercial dumpster filled with tree trimmings in the parking lot of the strip mall, waiting for Salah to pull into the lot and open his shop, Neighborhood 99 Cents Store. No trees grow in or around the lot, and while the spark of his curiosity ignites a small speculative fire that idly attempts to shed light on the matter of the tree trimmings, K13’s thoughts are pathed by his emotions into a runnel of restless irritation. This is not observing, this is waiting, a claustrophobic tunnel of time he must pass through. He finds the black ski mask in a brown paper Von’s bag in the back of the van, along with a pair of black Levi jeans, a hooded black sweatshirt missing the drawstring at the bottom, a pair of old gardening gloves. He puts these on.

Thirty minutes after the “accident” on Chelan and Strand, K13 watches Salah pull into his customary spot in front of his store, slightly diagonal to the yellow verticals painted on the asphalt as parking guidelines. It is possible that this manner of parking may reveal something about his personality, though if you allow yourself to seek interpretations at bacterial levels of detail, you begin to see signs multiplying everywhere. The dumpster would obstruct any view of the van from Salah’s perspective. The Neighborhood 99 Cents Store’s façade is protected by a corrugated sheet of locked-down aluminum. After Salah removes the padlock securing the aluminum panel he keys the door open and enters the store, but not before standing and gazing for a few moments at his car with his bushy salt-and pepper eyebrows wedging his forehead down in a crinkle near the top of the bridge of his nose. His perplexity seems crystalline, pure, remote, like a snowy mountain peak seen through the window of a plane. It is as though without the bumper, what he sees in the Taurus is some imponderable allegory represented by the car. Finally he walks inside. K13 continues to wait. When he sees Salah bending to arrange merchandise in the plate glass window – flashlights, candles, batteries, bars of soap and incense – he leaves the van and walks into the store, identity blacked-out by the ski mask.

Next Chapter

Chapter 7

Article By: dglenn

Arts | Fiction | Novels

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