The seedy brick that covered the building before him might have once been yellow. Now it was a filthy brown, like dry shit, cleft with black spider-web cracks as though the building was about to crumble into nothing any moment, like a sand castle exposed too long to wind and surf. The four stairs that led up to the dented metal door were no better, gray near black with oil and vomit and piss. Blood, perhaps. Needles were scattered on the ground. Like pine needles in a noxious forest, hypodermics littered this neighborhood. Crunched on the ground under his heavy black boots. Stuck in the thick rubber sole before snapping off at the tip or falling away, having completing their odyssey. The man stopped in front of the door. Taking a deep breath and looking around clandestinely slipping the automatic .357 magnum from the inside of his heavy coat. He jacked the slide back with that unmistakable vorpal-blade snicker-snack of a large-caliber pistol. He knocked on the door, heavy thuds like minuscule thunder. After a moment, the door opened, revealing a dirty sunken chest man with a seven day-old beard scruff and filthy hair. Tracks ran up and down his arms like roads to some godless land. He wore a maroon t-shirt, with darker stains here and there. He stank. “What?” he said, irritation evident in his voice. He was no more than fifteen.The man raised the pistol quickly, leveling the barrel with the boy’s face. He squeezed the trigger. The bottle silencer on the muzzle muffled the blast only a little, and it still nearly deafened the man. The boy’s body flew backwards, head snapping backwards hard enough to break the neck, as if that mattered anymore. Blood and bone chunks and brain matter was ejected from the back of his head, spattering the concrete, carpetless hall behind him. His body hit the floor within a second and a half, no slow-motion fall like in a movie. No glory in death, no majestic death throes or last words. Just a frail, crumpled body, pale and dirty, lying on the concrete, blood and skin harsh-lit by unrelenting fluorescent lights, stark and flickering.