(Excerpted from the forthcoming Balloon Heart, by Tom Andrews.)
“Hombre, I haven't really had a reason to say anything until now, so I just been lyin' low. Death is funny like that – mostly you get the chance to chill and not do much. Sometimes it becomes obvious that you gotta' say something or get something done.”
“So, what you gotta' get done now, Ed?
“Slow down, muchacho. I've got a lot to tell you, but I ain't gonna' tell you all at once. It might freak you out.”
“Like you just showin' up here don't freak me out enough?”
“Point to you, my friend. Nonetheless, we're gonna' take this a little at a time. Too much truth and it hits you just like too much cheap, oily gin. You know how it is. A little bit...just enough...and it works just fine – you go away feeling a little elated. Too much at a time and it hits you hard – just like your PG hit those women and kids in the concrete womb back there.”
“Women and kids?!” I cried, “What the f**k you talking about? Those were Threats...!”
“Well, paisano, maybe you should forget I said anything and just take heed of my earlier advice to you this fine, fine day. Happy Hanukkah, boychik.” With that, Ed's ghost dissolved into thin air. I stood there, staring into the mist, half expecting him to reappear at any moment. All I faced was a gray, gray sky over a pock-marked landscape, strewn with concrete rubble and here and there a little bit of circuit board and wire.
(Please keep on the lookout for the release of this very strange work of fiction.)