Talk or Die


“You’d better start talking”

“Don’t suppose you’d fancy losing the gun would you? I get twitchy around firearms”

“Not a chance bucko. You’ve got five minutes to save your sorry skin and I’d suggest you spend them wisely”

“Well what do you want to know?”

“Let’s start with your name shall we?”

“Shamus Flanagan. I’m 27-years-old and grew up in…”

“What are you doing?”

“Telling you who I am”

“Did I ask for your age?”

“Well…no…but I thought…”

“Don’t presume. Not when I have the ability to end you right here and now”

“I don’t understand. What is it you want to know about me?”

“I want to know what you’ll do to stay in the game, not the name of your family dog and the exact time of your first daily bowel movement”

“But I don’t have a dog”

“Not the brightest are you Richard?”

“I’m sorry. I just don’t understand what all this is about. I mean, who are you anyway and what’s your beef with me? I’ve never met you before in my life so the chances of me having rub you up the wrong way are slim to nothing. You’ve given me no indication whatsoever as to why I’m being detained so I’m kind of pissing in the wind here don’t cha think?”

“How can I put this in a way that your tiny brain can compute? I have a loaded weapon in my left hand, and in a few short minutes, plan to redecorate the room with your skull if you don’t supply me some damn good reason not to. Plain enough for you?”

“Alright, keep your hair on. There’s no need to get your tits in a twist”

“I’m so close right now to unloading my chamber in your face”

“Listen, I’ve done nothing wrong and don’t respond well to threats”

“How about promises?”

“What were you thinking?”

“I promise to blow off both of your kneecaps just to see you squirm if you don’t start pleasing me soon”

“I give a good foot rub”


“Alright. Alright. Jesus you’re tetchy. Can’t you point that thing some place else? It’s making me nervous and I don’t do well under duress”

“Last chance”

“Care to watch me eat this ice-cream suggestively?”

“That’s it!”


“Did I offer any indication that I didn’t mean business?”

“I didn’t think you’d actually go through with it”

“Never underestimate a redhead”

“I’ll remember that thanks. Now I don’t suppose you’d mind running me to the emergency room would you?”

“I can take you as far as the morgue. How’s that?”

“Do they reconstruct shattered kneecaps there?”

“No but they have a rather delightful embalming service”

“I may never walk again because of you”

“The penny dropping now is it?”

“If you mean am I now certain that you’re a crazy psycho bitch, then yes I’d say that one just crystallized”

“Good. Then carry on”

“I can tell you I’ve never before felt pain like this before and reckon I’ll pass out in the next minute or so without the appropriate medical assistance”

“Don’t be such a baby”

“Baby? What part of you just shot me don’t you understand?”

“The part where I’m supposed to care”

“So I’m just a whiny bitch, is that it?”

“Your words, not mine. Although they are pretty much spot on”

“Excuse me for being uptight. Must have something to do with the excessive blood loss”

“Yeah, about that blood loss. You may wish to tie something around it pretty sharpish. Just saying”

“Do you have a belt?”

“Yes thank you”

“Well can I borrow it?”

“Erm…no. It kind of ties the whole dress together you see”

“When I get up on my feet, I’m gonna…”

“You’re gonna do what Shamus? Strangle me with your bare hands until I go limp? Well here I am. Why don’t you give that the old college try?”

“You heartless fucking bitch”

“My humble apologies if I’ve acted at all badly?”

“Acted badly? Please allow me to tell you about acting badly. Acting badly is spitting in a fast food order because you despise your job. Acting badly is not washing your hands after taking a whizz and heading straight downstairs to prepare your four-year-old a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Acting badly doesn’t quite cut the mustard here”

“Are you done yet? It’s just, your time is running out before I shoot you in your other knee, as clearly stated on commencement”

“What do you want me to do?”

“I don’t know. Grovel? Isn’t that what one normally does when faced with an agonizing death?”

“I ain’t one for begging”

“Then you’d better learn to be as it’s the ony hope you have right now”

“Okay then, please help me”

“Insincere. Try again”

“I’d really be awfully grateful if you’d cut me some slack, pretty please”

“And that was supposed to be more heartfelt was it?”

“I don’t want to die”

“That’s more like it. Why Shamus? Why don’t you wish to die?”

“I’m scared”

“You’ll have to do better than that. What are you scared of Shamus?”

“I’m scared of dying”

“And why might that be?”

“There’s still so much I want to do”

“Go on”

“I’ve never been to Vegas. I’ve never done a parachute jump. I’ve never had a three-way”

“Is that it?”

“I’m still thinking here”

“Wouldn’t it kill your nearest and dearest to lose you so needlessly?”

“And why should that be my problem? I won’t be here will I? Anyway, I’m sure they’ll get over it”

“When you put it like that, I’m sure they will. You really are clueless aren’t you Shamus?”

“My I.Q. is 160, I’ll have you know”

“That just makes this all the more incredible to me. You really are a fascinating subject, although not necessarily for the right reasons I hasten to add”

“Since you seem to think you’re the big I am, why don’t you tell me where I’m supposed to be going wrong?”

“And stop you from using all those precious I.Q. points? I’d much rather you suss this one out on yourself”

“You’re saying I’m selfish and maybe you’re right. But I’m also honest and can’t help it if I’ve been wired that way”


“Oh, I’m sorry. Am I keeping you up?”

“I’m just sick and tired of hearing people blame their character defects on their childhood. At what point do you propose to take control of your own responsibilities and cease being such a victim?”

“Perhaps when I’m not staring down the barrel of a revolver”

“That’s where you’re wrong. You see, there’s no better time than this Shamus. If you’re searching for some clarity, then this represents your best chance of becoming the man you’re intended to be”

“And who am I intended to be pray tell?”

“You tell me”

“No you tell me. You claim to know what makes me tick so how about enlightening me?”

“It’s always someone else’s job isn’t it Shamus? Isn’t it about time you figure some shit out for yourself instead of expecting to be mollycoddled?”

“So you’re saying I need to grow up then?”

“Once again I reiterate – you need to figure some shit out for yourself. Is that really so hard for you to grasp?”

“I’m slowly bleeding out here. Is that really so hard for you to grasp?”

“Oh, I know that only too well. The average male holds between ten and twelve pints of blood, and I’ve done the math right, then you can lose around 40% of that before your body can no longer recompense. The good news is that there’s still time before you reach the point of no return. The bad news is that I’m finding it ever more tempting a proposition shooting you a second time”

“I give you my word I’ll grow up the very second I’m not suffering from a potential mortal wound”

“Your word is wasted on me. You don’t have to waste your vows on yours truly as I’m just as happy snuffing you out right here and now. It really makes no odds to me whether you live or die. Actually that’s not true. After spending the last five minutes in your company, I’m veering rather ominously towards the latter. Does that make me a bad person? You see how this works yet Shamus?”

“I think I get it now. You’re talking about self-improvement right?”

“Hallelujah. Praise be the lord”

“I need to be a better person”

“Sing it Shamus. Sing it loud”

“I need to stand up and be counted”

“You’ll beg yourself an amen at this rate”

“I need to pretend that I care more”

“Excuse me?”

“You know, hint at melancholy. Play the game better”

 “Almighty God, please give me the strength to pull this trigger”


“Thank you lord”

“I’ll kill you. I’ll fucking kill you”

“Uh huh. Knock yourself out”

“Why me? What have I ever done to you?”

“Nothing per se. But you have frittered your unique voice Shamus, used it only to better your on situation and spared not a solitary thought for those you have clambered over to get to where you want”

“And what makes you the judge, jury and executioner?”

“Well I’d say that’s obvious isn’t it? Did you know that I’d never before fired a gun until today and I’m finding it rather moreish”

“Kill me please. Just get this over with”

“Is that it? You ready to throw in the towel? Two shot knees and your life is over? Have you never watched the Paralympics Shamus?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Duh! It’s all about overcoming dummy. Learning life’s lessons, particularly the harsh ones, and putting that knowledge to positive use. You’re a smart cookie, surely you can work that one out for yourself and I’m fast running out of bullets to help spell it out”

“I’m not an evil man”

“Perhaps not intentionally but you are negligent and that simply can’t go unpunished”

“Do you not feel that you’ve punished me enough already?”

“I ould do if you had even the faintest intention of changing”

“I do. I will. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it”

“No you won’t. You’re just telling me what you think I need to hear to get yourself out of a bad situation. There may be plenty of people who would fall for that shit crock but I ain’t one of them sugarplum”

“I mean it. Never again will I take others for granted, never again will I act with only my own interests at heart. You have my word”

“Enough with the snivelling. Okay so here’s how this is going to play out. I’m going to take you on this word of yours and give you the benefit of the doubt, although heaven knows why I’m even entertaining it. Must be going soft in my old age. However, first I believe it only fair for me to enlighten you as to my interest in your affairs”

“Fine but please make it quick. I’m getting a little woozy”

“Do you recall the name Sandra Milton?”

“Of course I do. She was in my year at school”

“Indeed she was and do you remember what happened to Sandra?”

“She offed herself on the day before prom”

“Any idea why?”

“Unhappy I guess. I dunno, why does anyone commit suicide? A chemical imbalance or something like that”

“Sandra had her problems, but something else provoked her to take her own life”

“You’re not pinning this one on me. I’ve had therapy for this shit and her death has nothing to do with what I did”

“Tell me what you did Shamus”

“I told her I could no longer be her prom date”

“And how did she take that?”

“She was okay. A little disappointed but I made sure to let her down gently”

“Any idea what your words were exactly?”

“I think we should just be friends or words to that effect”

“You wouldn’t lie to me would you Shamus?”

“That’s just how it happened. But she’s not here to confirm it now is she?”

“No she’s not. You see, Sandra has been dead for a decade now and didn’t leave behind so much as a suicide note for her family to make sense of their loss”

“There you go. I guess we’ll never know then will we?”

“Yes Shamus we will”

“What are you a fucking medium or something?”

“Not quite but you’re actually not as far off as you might think”

“I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up with your charade. Kind of bleeding to death unless you’ve forgotten”

“Were you aware that Sandra had a sister?”

“No I wasn’t”

“Twin actually. Identical. Not many people knew that as she was home schooled because of supposed psychological issues “

“And that twin would be you I’m guessing?”

“Very good. Glad you sussed that one out, after all, I do look exactly like her. Or at least, I look how she would have looked now”

“So what are you saying? That you two shared such a strong telepathic connection that you can tell what caused her to take her own life? Gimme a break. Look I’m sorry for your loss, really I am. But it’s not my fault”

“Yes Shamus it is your fault. You see, Sandra had an idea that you were about to dump her and was too sick with worry to attend that little communion. So I did what any good sister would do and went in her place”

“I don’t buy it”

“No? Then what do you say I supply you a brief refresher course?”

“Knock yourself out”

“Sandra listen. I’m not going to be taking you to prom after all I’m afraid. Tough brakes I know but Melissa Dean asked me and I was hardly going to turn her down was I? No offence but you’re a little frigid. Look, I reckon there’s still time to find yourself a replacement. Perhaps just try loosening up a little. Just a suggestion. Look, are we still cool? Good, I’ll see you around”

“I didn’t say that”

“And still the lies continue. You know, I was actually considering letting you hobble out of here but I think I’ve just had a change of mind. It’s a girl’s prerogative don’t cha know. Tell me Shamus, head or chest?”

“Fuck you and the scabby horse you rode in on”

“And there’s my answer”

“Shamus listen. I’m not going to let you live after all I’m afraid. Tough brakes I know but the urge was just too strong and I was hardly going to ignore that was I? No offence but you’re looking a little frigid there. Look, I reckon there’s still time for your brain to register the pain, even though I just loosened it up a little. Just an observation. Look, are we still cool?”

“Uh huh. I guess”

“Good, I’ll see you around”


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