Achilles’ Last Stand

By on Oct 21, 2013 in Fiction

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A band from backstage

A minute later, the door to the dressing room opened, and Jeff turned, ready to face Billy again. But it was Port.

“I don’t want to hear it,” Jeff said as he turned back to me.

“I just want to get you out of here and be done with it,” Port said. “Stay put while I check for Trent.”

“What about Billy?” Jeff asked as I wiped at my eyes, half from exhaustion and half from tears.

“He’s taking a shower, getting the damn glass out of his back. Just sit down and shut up.” Port started toward the door.

“Sorry I couldn’t help, man,” Jeff said. His collar had drops of blood on it. Mine or his, or maybe Billy’s.

“Me, too,” Port said, and slipped into the hallway.

My head was clean a minute later, and I was asleep against the wall five minutes after that.

* * *

The gunshot woke me. By the time I had the presence of mind to get on my feet, Jeff was already running toward the other room. I couldn’t have been asleep more than a few minutes, but the world dragged as my mind tried to pick up speed. When I heard Jeff start screaming, I followed the sound. I remember it in bursts. Jeff on his knees, his leather jacket soaked beyond salvage. Billy in his arms, spasming, half-in and half-out of the shower, naked and bleeding. Scarlet water splashing on the carpet. The revolver covering the drain. The door of the dressing room busting open, Jeff and I pulled roughly away by security as paramedics rushed to Billy’s white body. Port frozen in the doorway. The music seeping from the speakers. Cobain’s harsh whisper, singing about fish, and how they don’t have feelings.

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Chris Drew's essays and stories have appeared in The Bellevue Literary Review, Big Muddy, Concho River Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and The Sycamore Review. He is currently a dissertator in the creative writing Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he has served as nonfiction editor for cream city review. Chris can be found on the web at