Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fiction - Starter's Pistol

Michael sat on the beach. In his mind he was completing the equation between his life and the vast emptiness of the Atlantic Ocean. He was cross multiplying the endless breakers with the endless futility of his efforts. College, job, girls, getting up in the morning.

x = Ø

In September the beach was still empty at this hour of the morning. Students were back in school, tourists were back at work. Nobody else was there to see the .22 automatic in his lap. He thought briefly about how he had acquired it. The guy he got his stuff from brought it to him when the pot stopped being enough. He had offered other drugs. Worried about losing a good customer Michael thought without a hint of emotion.

Typical of his current situation he sat there. Having gone to such effort to rise, dress and catch the bus he now sat in damp sand, lacking the slightest motivation to get on with his chosen task. Didn't matter. A few minutes or a few hours before he found the energy to raise his hand didn't matter at all.

"Hey thar mister, d'you know whar I kin take mah girl out fer sum lobster? I gotta fly back ta Texas tuh-naht 'n I wanna treat the little lady tuh- hey watcha got thar?"

Michael spun to see who it was, his hand going to his lap to cover the gun. He stammered at the tall man in the tight jeans, cowboy boots and hat, completely out of place in New England.

"Lemme see that thang" drawled the Texan as he casually reached into Michael's lap. Michael made no move to stop him, feeling like he had been busted with a toy at his desk in the third grade. He sat with his chin on his chest and waited for what would come next. The Texan was fiddling with the gun. He heard pieces sliding and clicking back into place.

CRACK!

Michael jumped and flailed back in the sand, winding up spread eagle with his feet facing back up the beach. The Texan stood over him with the gun pointed into the air out over the surf. His left thumb was hooked casually in his pocket. Behind him twenty paces was a woman looking amused and shaking her head at her left foot.

"Mah Daddy shot himself when he lost his herd in a flood. After that I had tuh get movin. That shot was like a starter's pistol tuh me."

Michael continued to stare as he tried to calm himself and comprehend what the hell was happening to him. His heart was racing even though the shot hadn't even been as loud as a door slammning.

"That shot right thur was yours. Yuh better git movin." He switched the gun to his left hand and dropped the clip deftly into his right. As casually as if he was throwing away a match stick he flipped it into the breakers. "Only one shot in thur, no big loss." He said and dropped the gun between Michael's knees. "Sorry if I scared yuh, think yuh needed it though. Now about that lobster."

Michael shook his head, now suddenly clear, "Seafood Sammy's" he croaked. Clearing his throat he stuttered, "I c-can take you there."

"Well that's raht kind of yuh. You yankees ain't as bad as they say." He offered his hand and pulled Michael effortlessly to his feet.

"Thanks" Michael mumbled, not knowing what else to say with the adrenaline still making his heart pound and guardian angels swirl around in his head.

"Aw hell. I couldn't let sum city kid go an' hurt hisself playin' with a gun now. I 'spect yuh got all manner uh brainy stuff yuh better be after anyway. I'm Mike and this here's Jean." He said, heading toward the woman.

"Michael. Sammy's is a couple blocks this way." Starter's pistol. Damn.

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1 comment:

  1. goodness, I don't know what to say.

    ReplyDelete

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