Mud People, No. 16

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Mud People, No. 16 (2019). House paint on paper. Artwork and Text copyright Danny Grosso.

Sliver was sharp and pointy, like both his name and the stiletto he carried in his pocket. He learned to use a gun in basic training, but preferred a blade before and after he was discharged for using one on the base in peacetime. He was relieved to be out of there, though he did like the haircut. Took him right out of the 70’s and into the new decade, where, though times were changing, they still played disco in neighborhood clubs. That was fine with him. The girls liked that music, and that was why he was going out anyway, to score, wagering his small bankroll on his chances. He was swarthy but small, dapper but dangerous, the kind of guy that made you wonder why he always seemed alone, until you went out with him. I knew he had friends – I’d seen him hanging with them a lot on the street corner in front of the tavern – but I guessed he liked to work alone, when he was working at night, on his prospects at the club. And it was work, to him. He was not a Good Time Charlie, or a happy drunk. Seeing him at a club was like seeing a government lawyer in court. All business.

Just before the neighborhood changed he went away, alone. I heard he died that way, in some town outside of Vegas. They found Sliver in his apartment, in a chair – no T.V., window open – with his stiletto in his hand.

-Danny Grosso