A Boy With A Gun 7/21/03

This is another piece that came out of real life. It was written directly after the suicide of somebody very important to me.

How did it go?

What did it look like?

What did it feel like?

A young man holding a gun to his head. A bright shiny six shooter, containing only one bullet. I know the room that he’s sitting in. It’s dim back there. Hidden back in the back to keep those types away from the normal customers. The walls are yellowing with the smoke that gets held in the room and absorbed. The tables aren’t in any real semblance of order. The chairs are pulled into groups.
Being as late at night as it is, there are probably tables pushed together, memories of people sitting and having long conversations. Perhaps playing cards. Maybe even eating.

It’s not like anyone really goes there to eat. The food is bad. It takes forever to get to you. It’s only if you’re there and starving that you get something. No one really exactly seeks out this place for a meal.

And here at some god awful hour sits this boy, with the gun held to his head, and two of his friends. They had been laughing and joking before that. Talking like nothing was wrong. They had to have been the only people in there. The three of them. If there had been someone else, they would have seen, would have called for someone.
Would have tried to stop it somehow.
Because, whereas the two males sitting with him were his friends and thought he was joking, an outsider would have assumed correctly. An outsider wouldn’t have known enough to know that this boy jokes around in strange ways most of the time.

The barrel of the gun must have been cold against the skin of his temple. A cold little circle that he pressed into the container of his brain. I bet the handle was warm. He was the third person to touch it. It would have absorbed the body heat from the others. The trigger, I bet that was a little cold too. It might have gotten a little heat from their hands, but not much.

I wonder if he noticed any of these things.

When he was holding the gun, just the gun, I bet his only thought was if they’d give him a bullet. So as a joke, that’s why he asked for it.

He put the bullet in the gun, spun the cylinder and took it out again. It took him that long to decide on what he was going to do. He had the two things he needed to complete a promise that he’d made. He dropped that bullet. He dropped it twice. The boy was nervous. Not scared. Fear really didn’t mean anything to the boy. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t take from life. But nerves.

What if they stopped him?
He’d be put away somewhere for a while. Then no one would ever trust him with a gun again. He’d never get the chance again.
What if he only wounded himself?
Wouldn’t that life be worse than the one he was living now? Who would love him enough to pull the plug and let him die?

And what if it really happened?

So he sits there, and his hand clenches around the gun, and his elbow bends and his shoulder moves, and he’s suddenly got Death aimed directly at a vital point.

At this moment, I wonder if he sees his one friend, who the gun belongs to, sitting confused, and not knowing what to do. I wonder if he sees his other friend stuck in a half standing position, frozen, scared.
I wonder if he sees anything at all. I wonder if he’s thinking anything.

He’s got seconds to decide if he really wants to do this now.

His finger tightens on the trigger, slowly.

I wonder if he’s praying.
I wonder if he’s thinking of all the people that love him.

I wonder if he’s thinking of his mistakes.

I wonder if he’s silently saying goodbye to anyone.

I bet his jaw is set. Clinched tight. Anticipating the bullet. I bet his entire body is tensing as slowly as his finger is.

I wonder if he blinked right before he did it.

The loud explosion that sounds uncannily like the backfiring of a car fills the room. It reverberates against the walls. Again and again it hits the eardrums of the people in that room. It must have made the boy’s ears ring. They were so close.
A flash, too quick to think about it. The gun so close I bet you can smell the singed hair. Powder burns left on flesh.

The boy’s face goes slack. The brain is no longer communicating to the muscles.

I wonder if he died absolutely instantly or if he had time for a quick thought.
If he thought something, was it a word like “finally”, or “done”, or “goodbye”, or “haha”?

In an instant it all happens. His last breath escapes. His face goes slack, his thoughts/feelings/emotions/memories spread against a wall. On chairs. On a table. On the carpet. The gun falls to the ground, his body slumps over behind it. His friends are up and rushing to his side.

Does the boy hover above the action, looking down at his vacated body and his poor helpless friends? Does he see it all? Is he happy with this decision, or does he regret it?

Does he realize what he’s done to everyone?

There, down below, the last of his life seeping out onto the carpet of a dingy, unkempt room. Panic in the air. Despair. Chaos.

He’d convinced himself that he was nothing special. That all he did was hurt people and fuck up their lives. He’d spent hours trying to convince other people of the same thing. He never had any idea how much he touched others. How deeply. He had a great capacity for good, and he rarely recognised when he used it.

Did he watch over everyone as they cried for him?
Did he finally understand then?

Is that what he needed?

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