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Sun, Feb. 26th, 2006, 08:25 pm

An open sign buzzes its neon red and blue in the twilight. It hangs on the window of a broken down old building. No one knows what it used to be, but here it is in the middle of the desert--rotting, falling wood and cracked windows alone in a vast world of dust. The sun has set and still two old, dusty pickups are parked outside the building. A cold wind blows tendrils of sand around their tires as if to pull them North with the wind. It catches the ankles of a man with a tilted cowboy hat leaning against the building, smoking a cigarette. The wind pulls his smoke north too, perhaps in hopes to drag the man to better things.

He hasn't yet noticed the cold air. He's focused, looking out onto the horizon as if in another moment all together. His clear green eyes glaze and putting the cigarette to his lips becomes automatic.

The moment--so close and yet so long ago--is burned into his memory. A cold wind blew in the twilight of that night, too. Stars shone as if to mimic headlights on a long, straight desert highway in the dead of night. It was that night he had dragged the drunk outside; the night he had hit him, hard, on the head until he dropped to his knees; the night he had taken his pistol and given the man just what he deserved.

What he deserved, the man mused. He'd placed his hat to one side, gotten a shovel from underneath the sign buzzing open to the rattlesnakes and the tumbleweeds. He'd buried the man that night, next to the old wooden building with no one inside. Once he'd finished, he put his hat back on his head, stood on the grave, and smoked a cigarette.

This night, he remembered the shallow grave, as this cigarette burned down to the butt. He smirked at it slyly and then threw it to the ground where it was quickly covered by sand blown from the South. Suddenly, he noticed the cold wind and brought his hands together. He rubbed them, then blew on them so they might bring back some feeling.

After a few moments more of standing under the headlight stars, he back walked inside to ignore the shallow grave and instead focus on the buzzing of the open sign and his cigarettes.