The Hand Gun

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“Are you sure you’re okay?” asks A. as I step out of her car.

“No problem,” I proclaim, shutting the door and assuring her through the open window: “There’s a taxi stand right near here.”

I give A. a two-fingered salute as she drives away, then turn around to see a teetering man on the sidewalk, made buoyant by his drug-induced energy. The man trails a car into the street, mumbling some frenzied sentences into the driver’s side window, until the Tracker peels away into the lugubrious late-night traffic of Paseo Colón. The man stomps to his street corner, turns toward me, and forms a gun with his fingers.

“POP, POP!” he chants, jutting the finger-gun sideways, gangster-style.

I wonder what I’ll have to say to him, in garbled Spanish, as we pass each other. His body oscillates with mania, an uncoiling viper.

But then he marches away, attracted to some stray movement, and he vanishes down a thoroughfare, just long enough for me to hail a cab and drive off, satisfied to have been grazed by two imaginary bullets.

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