Archie’s Gone.

Bones idly drew a line with the heel of his battered boot in the dust of the floor in the derelict. He sighed. Looking over at his companion he broke their silence.

“The kid could never keep his tin lid Bert.”

“He don’t deserve this Bones.”

“I don’t think the cop had a choice. The kid had been on the sniff and juice all the day before Bert. “

“Bones ah seen him afore, that cop. He’s a big bruisy bastard, keen with the baton. I tried to get the kid away. Get the fuck here Archie I shouted! No use he was on fire. Dent on the back of his head you could have rested an egg in. I went down to see him. Morgue on 27th and 5th.  I walks in. There’s a princess sitting in the waiting room. I say’s to the guy at the counter I’ve come to see Archie, I started to fill. I don’t know his second name.”

“Rogers, says this princess from behind. Archie’s mouth, sister or mother, quite tasty. Hooking up crossed ma mind but I threw it out before it settled Bones. Ye know, dignity and that.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time it happened Bert.”

“Na Bones, this princess had class. Outta place down our end.”

“Archie never said much about anything really Bert. Did you ask her who she was?”

“Nuh!”

“Did ya get to see him?”

“Ye Bones I seen him. I seen Archie, just lying there peaceful man, shaved, in a white robe, looked like Gabriel, washed long golden curly hair. The man at the counter told me the funeral was Monday over on the Jersey side. I’m not sure how we’d get there.”

“We knew the kid over this side, best leave it at that Bert.”

“She was still sitting there, the princess, when I came back. She looked at me kinda, sad. Ah remembered ah still had his cap, it fell off in the struggle and ah’d picked it up. Ah fiddled with it a while in ma pocket not sure, but ah took it out. Ah turned and handed it to her, I told her it was Archie’s and that he was a nice kid. She took it, kinda smiled, but said nothing.””

“That was a good thing to do Bert, have a slug of ma juice, calm the nerves.”

“Ta Bones. To Archie!”

“Steady with the bottle Bert you snake, you’re not that nervous!”