Open 24 Hours · Paul Negri

“When do you close?” He’s in a ratty raincoat, sneakers without socks, has an eyepatch, his one eye wild. Old, his hair moussed with dirt. 3:30 a.m. We’re alone. No one but the moon outside.

“We’re open 24 hours,” I say.

“Yeah? So, when do you close?”

I put my hand on the bat under the counter. “Never.”

He lifts the eyepatch and his eye – oh Jesus.

“You’re open forever?” he says.

“You could say that,” I say.

“Then this must be the place,” he says. Takes out a .38 and puts it to his head.

“We’re closed,” I yell, too late.

Paul Negri has twice won the gold medal for fiction in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition. His stories have appeared in print and on line in The Penn Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Into the Void, Pif Magazine, Jellyfish Review and more than 30 other publications. He lives and writes in Clifton, New Jersey.