Nothing ain’t Free
The Rolling Stone left the convenient store with two pistols, two rounds for each, a sawed-off shotgun from behind the Indian’s counter and all the buckshot he could fit in his pockets. His prospects were looking up.
He stumbled into an alley and rested for a moment. He could feel immortality flowing through his veins; he let it slowly take its course. He was feeling stronger now, less bruised and dashed.
The Rolling Stone was healing.
He’d made a pact many years ago, that was when he was young. That was when he was rich. That was when he was arrogant. He had everything and wanted more. He had want for naught, but coveted. He lived, but was dying and that bothered him. He wanted to live forever, to want for nothing. To have had everything, to have experienced all. To have knowledge of everything that was, is and is to be. His arrogance and gluttony knew no bounds.
Thus naturally, he jumped at the idea of immortality, “Yes. It’s what I want. Give it to me.”
“You don’t want it, Kid,” the Elder responded.
“I know what I want,” The Rolling Stone responded, “And this is what I want. Now cough it up, old man!”
“Alright, Kid,” the Elder replied, “But you ain’t gonna like it.”
“I’ll be the judge.”
Nothing is free. Everything comes with a price. Immortality, turns out, was no exception. If you want to be immortalized, you gotta kill someone. Immortality is like mortality, it’s gotta be exercised and kept up. That means you gotta kill and you gotta kill often.
At first, The Rolling Stone was okay with it, but when he took his first life he changed his mind. That arrogance escaped him. Eventually, he got over the killing though. He reverted to taking out scumbags and therefore he could feel good about himself—he could sleep at night.
He had retired his immortal life for a simple one. He knew his age would catch up with him, and eventually he’d be mortal again. He could always get immortality back, but he was done with all that. He got a girl and settled down.
He stopped killing, stopped living and started dying. And then, he really began to live.
The Rolling Stone rose from the alley and he remembered his neighbor, Lucy in the Skye. He walked familiar streets to their apartment. He entered room 413, foot first. Startled, Lucy in the Skye dove from his couch and screamed like a girl, “Hey, man! What gives?!”
Lucy in the Skye was actually a dude, and was often attempting the overdose. His blonde hair came to his shoulders, his beard to his Adam’s apple. He was toke’n it tonight, as he did every night, “Hey, man, it’s you—been a while, man. Whatchya want, man?” he noticed the door, “Come on, man, give a stoner a break, man.”
Lucy in the Skye crossed his hippy-pad and closed the door, or at least tried. He tied it off shut with the cord of a curtain that hung over the closet door behind it, “Jacked, man, jacked.”
“I need clothes, Lucy.”
“Yeah, man, I can see that,” Lucy grabbed a drawer from underneath a pile of coats, he slung it into the middle of the one-room apartment, “Here, man, get some digs.”
After browsing the various shirts and pairs of jeans, The Rolling Stone spoke, “This all you have, Lucy?”
“Does everything have to be tie-dye?”
The Rolling Stone smirked, holding a shirt that read Team Player on it. He removed his tattered suit coat and button-up shirt, he stood in his undershirt, “You have any pants without holes, Lucy?”
“No, man,” Lucy responded, totting his toke, he puffed, “holes, holes, holes.”
The Rolling Stone slipped a pair of jeans on, after the shirt. There were two, large holes at his knees. The jeans were too loose around the waist, “You gotta belt, Lucy?”
“No, man,” puff, puff, “Loose as a goose, man, loose like a noose. Noose, loose, goose—I’m out of rhymes, man.”
“Tough break,” The Rolling Stone mocked, barely acknowledging Lucy’s existence, “You got smokes, Lucy?”
“Sure, man,” he extended his toke, “Here, man.”
“No, I need a brain, Lucy,” The Rolling Stone corrected, “Cigarettes.”
“Oh, man, yeah, man…” he grabbed a pack of cigarettes from underneath his couch cushion, “Here,” he pulled one cigarette out and extended it with the same hand that held the whole pack. The Rolling Stone grabbed the single cigarette and the pack with one hand, in one grasp, “No, man, not the whole thing, man—I gotta have my—”
The bullet entered the bridge of the nose, exited near the base of the neck at the back. It went into the couch, exited and entered the paper-thin wall. It lodged into the floor of the other apartment. Lucy in the Skye would fly no more, nor hug any more trees. He was out in a blink.
It took The Rolling Stone three and a half minutes to find Lucy’s lighter, he’d almost given up and had begun to regret being so trigger-happy. He knew it would take any cop twenty minutes to respond, so he sat and regenerated beneath his new victim. He sat there on the floor, his back against Lucy’s legs. He puffed on his first cigarette, then his second. When he started his third, he was done. He girt the curtain cord about his waist, serving as a belt. He got a glimpse in the mirror on the way out, he was looking better. Much better. He could feel it, too, especially in his bones. It didn’t hurt to walk anymore. The gray in his hair was fleeting, the black returning. The wrinkles were shrinking, his wounds were fading. The life was returning, his vengeance brewing. It was time to stir.