Blood Orange

Nicholas Charles Profito

Do y’all like pulp in your orange juice or nah? Personally, I ain’t about it. Little bits floatin’ around in there. It’s pretty gross, and it makes me queezy. One time, my lady made me a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice– blood orange juice. (She said blood oranges were healthier). Now, I ain’t particularly fond of blood oranges. I prefer the OG, but I still woulda drank the juice if there wasn’t pulp in it. That’s what it looked like, though. The ring was the glass, his blood was the juice, and the bits of his skin floatin’ in it was the pulp. 


The dude was dead– that’s for sure, and I think deep down, I knew he was too. I was just so rageful, so in the moment, that I kept sluggin’ the guy. My gloves were crashing down on his face like one o’ them guillotines you see in history class. My ears tuned out the shrieks of the crowd. My body was drippin’ in red gunk. I was gruntin’ like a damn pig. Shit was wack man. I usually keep my cool in my cage matches, but this guy, somethin’ about him just made me snap. I forget what he did, or why he did it, but I wanted to hurt him bad. Key word: hurt, never kill.


The only thing that got me to calm down was her face. My ladies face. I saw it in my head. I felt her lips touch mine. Her hand ran down my bloody cheek real slow-like. She said to me the thing she always says. 


“I love you Brand, more than the world.”


My arms dropped to my sides, and my muscles went weak. It’s as if she has one of those psychic voices that connects to me when I’m in trouble, like the force or somethin’. Whenever I’m in a bad spot, I always see her face, and it makes me cool again. I don’t even know why she cares for such a big stupid lug like me. I love her a lot. A lot a lot, ya know?


Anyways, my dream was interrupted by the blaring sounds of cop sirens. I didn’t even have time to process what I’d done, cuz I heard the sound of clomping boots runnin’ into the room. So I started to sprint away on impulse. The stands were empty, all the people probably ran out when they realized I was punchin’ the poor guy to death. It was an accident though, ya know? It was self defense! And I only did the fight to pick up some spare cheese. I got a girl to support, y’all understand. She doesn’t even know I did this, and I couldn’t rope her into it. 


I bolted outta the back door, and ran through the streets. The guy’s blood was flying’ off me. It was pretty smoggy that day, so it was kinda hard to see where I was going but I knew this block like the back of my hand. I was runnin’, and runnin’, and runnin’. I ran so hard that I felt like my heart was gonna flip outta my chest. 


I ran out to the bridge. Smog was surrounding me on all sides. I swear, I thought I lost them for a second. I actually thought I outran the fuzz. For a split second, there was a calmness I couldn’t describe. An unparallelled peace. I saw flowers, sun. That didn’t last though, obviously. Gunfire crackled through the cloud of mist. I couldn’t run anymore. I put my hands to the sky, and backed up. I couldn’t think. I just kept backing my feet up. I saw at least a dozen cops run outta the smog. I heard shouts, but I couldn’t understand what they said. It sounded like they said “No!” Or something scary like that.


I was feelin’ a lot of stuff at that time. I was scared, confused, mad, depressed. It was really somethin’ else. I kept backing my feet up, and up, and up, and up. I fell off the bridge. Thank god, the bridge was pretty shallow, so I didn’t kill myself. I swam to shore, and heard the cops say that I was prolly dead. I guess they couldn’t see me.


I crawled my body under the bridge. As I pressed myself up against the cement pillar, somethin’ opened up in me. Tears flooded down my cheeks. I started to shiver. I closed my eyes, and tried to see my girl. I wanted her to hug me. I wanted her to say she loves me, more than the world. I wanted her to say it will all be alright.


But I didn’t see her. I saw him. The man I killed. I saw him on a boat, I saw him fishing with his wife. His girl. I saw him singing on a stage, the audience was clapping, and cheering. I saw him with his son, and daughter. He embraced them warmly. I smiled at this, but tears were still pouring onto my lips. 


The man turned his head at me, slowly, and his beaming grin faded. Crimson blood started gushing from his face rapidly, covering his clothes. His eyes started to bruise, and fracture. His jaw unhinged. His face morphed into the one that I was familiar with. The one he had when I killed him. The shrieks of his horrified family pierced my soul. What have I done?


I screamed out. 




My weak, and tired body collapsed on the gravel. I fell asleep.


When I woke up, I was still on the gravel, right where I was. It wasn’t a dream. It was real. It was all real. 


I knew what I had to do, I hoisted myself up. I sprinted down the street. Until I stopped at the metal doors.


“Hey, can you turn these lights off now? They’re freaking me out a little.”


“Hahah, yes of course. You know, you have quite a way with words Mr. Brand. I asked you to tell me everything, and you certainly delivered”


“Yeah officer, I’m just doin’ my duty, ya know?”

“Yeah, I know Brand, I know. Look, I don’t think you’re a bad guy at all, but we are going to have to keep you here, to ask you a few more questions. Is that okay?”


“Yeah it’s cool. I just wanna see my girl again soon.”


“I understand. Hey, do you want something to drink? Water or something? You look kind of thirsty.”


“Yeah actually, I’ll have some orange juice. No pulp, please.”