if I could recycle lives, I wouldn't do it at all

a shift in bodegas
where I learned
how to gamble
and drink beer

elias the general
manager ­­–
rotund hairy
worked late nights

elias and I were

we drank beer
in the back
and smoked
cigarettes in
the front after
drinking beer
in the back

we were pretty
good friends

he told me
'I never learned
how to swim'
and took a
drag from his
menthol cigarette

I shrugged and
said 'you
have time
just take a night
off or something
and we can go to
a pool'

we agreed that
was a good idea

he went back inside
and I left with
his pack of cigarettes
in my hand

the next morning
I woke up
and got dressed
and went to
say 'hi' to elias
because I am a
good friend

I biked five miles
to find out his store was
roped off
and I learned that
elias was shot
in the face by a
pistol and crashed
backwards onto
cigarette cartons
that we planned to
steal one day

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