I.

His ears were ringing, and there was blood on his shoes. The shoes that he'd so carefully polished with Kiwi and a damp rag the night before were dark and dirty, their mirror shine rendered matte in the space of a second. Now that is just never going to come clean.

You're obsessed with your damn shoes, Bolander had griped. Who are you trying to impress, anyway?

Hey, not all of us can pull of that rumpled old man look, he'd answered. Some of us like to show a little style, a little class.

Now Stan was staring at him with open, empty eyes. Most of the contents of his head were smeared across the door jamb.

Someone was making choking, gurgling sounds to his right. With great effort he managed to turn his head, but he couldn't be sure if the awful sounds were emanating from Kay's ruined chest or Beau's ruined neck.

His shoes weren't the only thing that was ruined. There was a large red stain spreading across his shirtfront and staining his tie. He liked that tie. Gwen had given it to him on their first anniversary, right before ordering him to take her to dinner. That Gwen sure knew how to take charge. He'd really loved that about her.

There wasn't just blood. Where his tie had been pushed askew he could see an eruption of meat, like a second, violent navel. An exit wound, he thought with mild interest.

The gurgling had stopped. He wondered which of his friends had just died. No offense to Beau, but he really hoped it wasn't Kay. He was half in love with her, though he'd never told her out of fear she'd slug him. Now he kind of wished he had.

Then again, maybe it was all for the best.

He switched his gaze from the spreading crimson on his chest to his dirty shoes, the ones stuck on the ends of the motionless lumps of flesh that used to be his legs. Somewhere in the distance he heard the familiar wail of a siren, slowing growing closer. Slumped awkwardly against the wall where he'd fallen, Munch closed his eyes against Stan's accusing stare and idly wondered if the bus would get there before he bled out.

And whether he really wanted it to.