The Notary

"My bride," Phil said, motioning toward the bed. The rich girl's skin was sallow, tight, and Barrett guessed she had lost thirty pounds. The EKG machine beeped. She looked like a sleeping child but for the respirator tube down her throat and the IV lines in her bruised veins.

"You know, I wish it didn't have to be this way," Phil said, taking her hand. His eyelid twitched. For once, he seemed to doubt himself. "I never set out to be this way."

Barrett looked away from him to the EKG screen.

"Let's get out of here," he said.

Phil stared at him, then through him. They stood quietly, as if there might still be time for a different ending, for kindness. Then the moment passed. When Phil produced a veil, Barrett handed the license to him and left.

Blair Oliver

Blair Oliver's greed has never been about money. From boyhood on, however, he's hid the store-bought cookies from the rest of his family.

If you've any comments on this piece, Blair Oliver would be pleased to hear from you.