July 4th: Amigos en Muerte
His shirt was torn and stained with blood and he had defecated in his trousers, but the most repulsive thing about Mike Heller was his smug demeanor.
"Yeah, definitely! Herbie Nichols is my all time favorite. But I also like that guitar trio album with di Meola, de Lucia, and McLaughlin. That's just jazz, though. I like some rock music too, like Mr. Bungle and Bjork."
Nicholas Maerk, also covered in his own blood but free of feces, looked at the man he was going to die next to.
"Jesus Christ, you jazz guys really do think your shit don't stink don't you?"
"Very funny. Your turn, big guy." Mike replied.
"Well, for me, my favorite would have to be Led Zeppelin, followed close by King Crimson. The Dropkick Murphy's are up there too."
Nicholas shifted from lying on his back and bracing himself on his elbows to sitting almost upright. He let out a pained, wet grunt and coughed up a little blood. The dime-sized hole in his lower left chest was visible now to Mike, who cringed slightly at the sight. With every breath Nicholas took, a little air sucked into the hole and then bubbled back out.
Mike was sitting in a wooden chair. He was slouched forward and had his left leg crossed over his right, which was missing from the mid-shin down. A makeshift tourniquet was applied just below his knee and the stump was beginning to turn a purplish-grey.
Both men were dying. Their tomb was a small coffee shop in downtown San Francisco, just south and west of the Haight. The air inside was think with dust and dark grey and black smoke. Maybe three bodies of the less fortunate lay toward the front of the store, but it was hard to tell exactly how many people had been in the shop because the number of limbs didn't match the number of torsos and heads. A small fire was leaping up the walls near the front of the store.
"How can you listen to that noise? There's nothing to it. King Crimson was alright, but most of that was just tripped-out nonsense. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer were way better."
"You take that back you fruity fuck! I've killed men for less, don't think I won't do it again!" Nicholas said with mock-enthusiasm in a pronounced, old movie actor style.
Mike feigned a terrified look and withdrew to an almost upright position in his chair.
He looked down at his amigo en muerte. The large man was breathing softly and his narrow-set, brown eyes were almost closed. Bubbles were still coming out of the wound in his chest but they were small now, almost like carbonation leaking out of a shaken soft drink.
"So," the man on the floor was interrupted by a small, moist cough, "You like any bands I might have ever listened to?"
"Well, I tend to listen to a lot of smaller jazz artists and obscure, experimental bands. Have you ever heard of Drive Like Jehu?" Mike replied, his voice was becoming slurred as he descended further into shock.
"Nope." Nicholas replied.
"Hmm, what about Fugazi?"
"I checked them out. I prefer Minor Threat.