You Were Never Really Here

A shocking novella from Ames, the beloved creator of Bored to Death. Meet Joe, an ass-kicking, psychologically tormented guardian angel who rescues others but refuses to save himself.

  • Fiction
  • Byliner Original
  1. Joe felt something behind him. It was the presence of life and the coming of violence, and that anticipation, that sensitivity, enabled him to turn in time and catch the blackjack on his shoulder, which was better than taking it on the back of his head.

    Also, it was his left shoulder and Joe was right-handed, and, turning around completely, he was able to grab the man’s wrist before the blackjack came down again, and they were face to face, the same height, and Joe immediately drove his forehead, like a brick, into the bridge of the man’s nose, shattering the bone, and the man, his eyes blinded by red pain, began to fall, and Joe brought up his knee, brought it up hard, without mercy, into the man’s jaw, breaking it.

    The man went down completely, strings cut, lifeless but breathing.

    Joe quickly swung his head to the left and the right. He was in an alley wide enough for a car. He’d come out of his flop hotel’s service entrance in the middle of the passageway, and no one was walking by or had stopped at either end. No one had seen. There was street light coming from the avenue, but the alley was mostly in shadow.

    Joe wiggled his left arm, trying to get life into it, the blackjack had numbed the whole limb, and he dragged the body behind a dumpster and quickly went through the pockets of the light coat, a blue windbreaker. The fallen was a pro. No wallet. No ID. Just keys and a money clip with about two hundred dollars. But there was a cell phone. So he wasn’t a total profe...

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