The Sixth Thing That Never Happened to Sheldon Jeffrey Sands

A Pink Dormouse Production


"You have only seen too much," Barillo said, "we are going to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Sands stared at the hypodermic in Barillo's hand. Then Ajedrez stepped forward and placed a hand on her father's arm.

"Wait," she said. "I think I should be the one to decide his punishment."

Something about the way she smiled chilled Sands more than anything he had seen so far today. Or ever, come to think of it. He tried to move his hands, but the straps restraining them were good, strong leather. Same went for the straps holding his ankles fast to the legs of this - what was it, a dentist's chair?

Ajedrez took the hypodermic from Barillo and stood in front of Sands. 

"It's been a while," she said, "but I think I still remember how to do this." She reached down and unbuckled Sands' belt. "You," she turned to Guevara, "find me a scalpel." Then she wrenched Sands' pants open and drove the needle into his scrotum.

***

Sands staggered out of the building. Obviously being made an example of meant that they wanted him to be seen in this... state. Well, not if he could help it, mister. Blood was soaking into the crotch of his pants and running down the insides of his legs. Why the fuck had he called her every name under the sun? Maybe if he had kept quiet she would only have taken the one, then he would still - 

'You're still a man,' a voice in his head pointed out, 'medical science can work wonders -"

He told the voice to shut up, which scared several passers by away. Must be shock setting in already, he told himself. Now if he could just find himself a nice alley to crawl into and die.

This would do, he decided, almost falling into it, saved only by wrenching his hand away from his crotch and grabbing at the corner of the building. He made his way to the end and slid to the ground just as gunfire started up in the distance. That would be the coup d'etat then. Pity he was going to miss the show.

Sands wondered how long it would be before the anaesthetic wore off. Then his mind decided it had had quite enough to think about already and shut down on him.

***

He faded in and out of consciousness, each time waking to longer shadows and the same distant gunfire. Until the time when there were no guns. Just voices, one of which he recognised, speaking Spanish. Arguing in Spanish. Which made sense, this being Mexico, except that the voice he recognised had always spoken English, heavily accented English sure, but definitely English, when he had heard it before.

"He's down here," the familiar voice said, ending the argument.

"How do you - oh, I see now."

"Tell me again, why are we bothering?" a third voice, slightly slurred chipped in.

"Because," the first said patiently, "if we just leave him here, then it is one more unnecessary death. And no one deserves to die like that. Not even -"

Great. Just great. They knew what had happened to him and they were coming here to gawp and pity. Sands curved his head down onto his knees. Which hurt. Christ but moving anything hurt. Except breathing, which just took too much effort, damn it. He was cold, he was thirsty, and if those voices would just go away - instead of getting ever closer - then he would go back to sleep and not bother waking up next time.

"Maybe he bled out already," the second voice again. See, even in this state, Sands could distinguish voices.

"I don't think so," the third voice. "He's still breathing." The toe of a boot nudged Sands' ankle and he yelped. "What did I tell you?"

"Easy." One word in English and Sands knew exactly who that was. Damn saviour of the people. Well Sands was not 'people' and he did not want saving, thank you very much.

"I think you do."

Fuck, he had not meant to say that aloud. Hands grasped his elbows and pulled him to his feet, ripping blood-soaked and then dried fabric away from his wounds. Blood started to trickle down his legs again. He caught a glimpse of the mariachi's face before falling forward against the man's warm, oh so warm when he was so cold, body. 

Sands tried to pull away. He was still a man, in spite of what Ajedrez had done to him. But those strong arms held him in place, and that hypnotic voice was telling him that he did have something to live for and it would be all right. Both lies, he told himself. He was going to die here like a man. He was still a man. He was not an example for anyone. Bad enough that these three should have seen him.

'Still a man,' part of Sands' brain told him over and over again. But it was slowly drowned out by other thoughts, telling him that being saved actually felt quite good. Then everyone, inside and outside his head, shut up.

Dormouse



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