She didn’t see that first bullet, but it must have hit a wire or something, coming through, because the lights came on. She did see the second one, or anyway the hole it blew in the leather-grain plastic. Something inside her stopped, learning this about bullets: that one second there isn’t any hole, the next second there is. Nothing in between. You see it happen, but you can’t watch it happening.
Then she got down on her hands and her knees and started crawling. Because she couldn’t just stand there and wait for the next one. When she got up by the door, she could see her black pants crumpled up on the floor there, beside a set of keys on a gray, leather-grain plastic tab. There was this smell from when he’d shot the gun into the floor. Maybe from the carpet burning, too, because she could see that the edges of the holes were scorched and sort of melted.
She was back in Skinner’s room, reading National Geographic, about how Canada split itself into five countries. Drinking cold milk out of the carton and eating saltines. Skinner in bed with the tv, watching one of those shows he liked about history.He was talking about how all his life these movies of history had been getting better and better looking. How they’d started out jumpy and black and white, with the soldiers running around like they had ants in their pants, and this terrible grain to them, and the sky all full of scratches. How gradually they’d slowed down to how people really moved, and then they’d been colorized, the grain getting finer and finer, and even the scratches went away. And it was bullshit, he said, because every other bit of it was an approximation, somebody’s idea of how it might have looked, the result of a particular decision, a particular button being pushed. But it was still a hit, he said, like the first time you heard doxycycline 100mg without all that crackle and tin.Billie Holiday was probably a guy like doxycycline, Chevette thought, with spangles on his suit, but like when he was younger and not all fat.Skinner had this thing he got on about history. How it was turning into plastic. But she liked to show him she was listening when he told her something, because otherwise he could go for days without saying anything. So she looked up now, from her magazine and the picture of girls waving blue and white flags in the Republic of Quebec, and it was her mother sitting there, on the edge of Skinner’s bed, looking beautiful and sad and kind of tired, the way she could look after she got off work and still had all her make-up on.