11:34 PM by Jamie Avery

It begins the way most things do, meaning you are late. When you fluster into the bar your stomach is growling and the honeybees in your chest buzz with nerves. He buys your drink. You say, Thank you. There are gaps. Pauses. You are both treading lightly, but the beer is helping and soon you are talking about academic elitism and Christopher Owens and the suburbs of Las Vegas where he grew up and suddenly it is ten o’clock and you are leaving the bar and walking to his place for wine or tea or chocolate. The moon is full-bellied and the sidewalk swells to greet you. When he asks if he can kiss you, you say yes. When the lights dim in his quiet Cole Valley apartment, you say yes, again, and while you are falling into something, down Belvedere and two blocks to the right, on the corner of Haight and Ashbury, there are shouts. Two men, then a third. One man has a gun. The man with the gun wears plain clothes. The man with the gun shoots the third man, twice in the stomach. Then the man with the gun pulls out his badge. There is silence before there are sirens. From his bedroom, you hear them wailing.

Jamie Avery (she / they) is a writer, editor, and plant parent living in Berkeley, California. In 2020, she graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Creative Writing. Her work can be found in Forum Magazine and Hey I’m Alive, and her digital avatar lives on Instagram at @jamiejacquelineavery.

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