A Bullet in the Guts by

Things had gone bad.

I clutched at my stomach and tried to run.

Sirens and the maddened barks of dogs ricocheted through the damp darkness and off the rain-soaked streets.

I had known the idea was a bad one from the start. Could smell it. Taste it. I’d tried to warn my associates that things wouldn’t go to plan, and it’d go bad. They hadn’t listened to me and now things had gone bad and were quickly sliding irreversibly to the worst kind of worse.

I ran.

The pain in my gut was overflowing like sewer water. A bullet in the guts. I needed somewhere to drop the package. Getting caught with it wouldn’t be something I’d walk away from.

I found a dumpster next to an apartment building, the perfect place. A cop car swung into the street, I cursed, and I ran to a clock that was running down and out on me. I needed a safe haven. Some kind of refuge from the pain swelling in my abdomen. Two in the morning and in a part of a town I didn’t know. All I did know was I was in trouble. I wondered if the other members of the crew made it out unscathed? Surely, I wasn’t the only one to take a hit. Another bolt of pain ripped through me like a rusty switchblade. I grasped and gripped at a streetlamp. Doubled over. Trying to breathe. Fuck. I wasn’t going to make it. In this life you have to pay for all your mistakes. I was going to pay. I was going to pay big time.

No! I couldn’t give up. I could make it. I could fucking make it.

I ran. Holding my stomach in my hands. A man falling to pieces in a night of madness and mayhem. I fell to my knees. Clawed my way back up. I ran. Then I saw it. A golden mirage of amber security lighting. An alley. Sirens blasted like shotguns. I stumbled into the alley. A blessed sanctuary of trash bags, dumpsters and graffiti bricked walls. I twisted my head around one hundred and eighty degrees checking there were no witnesses, unbuckled my belt, fell against a garbage pail, and released my bowels. The curry flowed from my ass like the confessions of a death row criminal. I’d made it. I was safe. The package was dropped off and the pain in my guts ebbed and eased off. I swore to myself I’d never eat in that damn restaurant again. I pulled up my pants, buckled my belt and continued walking home, whistling without a care in the world.



Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. His novel Say Goodbye When I’m Gone will be released by Red Dog Press in October 2020 and another novel Always the Dead will be released by Close to The Bone Press January 2021

Punk Noir Magazine




Photo credit – Leon Rice-Whetton


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