Gunshots

She was quite drunk that night as we reached our cars. Turning to me, she queried, "Do you want to walk around the block and finish this conversation?" I wavered, then assented, and we turned left down the brick street. What should have been the white traffic lines on the road instead appeared as uneven and crooked lines connecting large unrecognizable symbols, and she began skipping and dancing drunkenly up the icy street in her white high heals. I followed, worried that she might fall. Concerned as well for my own stability, I tried to stay on the dry pavement and determined to make this a short walk around the block, choosing to go right at the first intersection and head quickly back to the car.

Turning the corner I was somewhat surprised to see the three police cars and the people milling about, but it seemed that whatever attracted them had been contained, as no one acted unduly excited. As we passed through the scene I overheard the story of a series of gang-related shootings on the roof of the single-story brick building past which we walked. Apparently one man was shot, then someone else shot the first shooter, and finally another person shot the second shooter. I walked into the parking lot adjoining the building and climbed the rough masonry stairs which led to the top of the building’s wall. Standing on the landing at the top of the stairs the wall rose to chest height, and over the wall I saw the few people remaining on the roof, one being the final shooter. With the high-powered rifle I shot this young man dead. A gang member standing next to me on the stairs took the rifle from me and shot two others as I walked down the steps. When I reached the street I raised my hands and began shouting, "I arrest! I arrest!" as I walked towards an occupied police car. Exiting his vehicle, the officer and several other police converged on me. I was wearing no shirt, and they frisked me, making me lean on the car. Internally I questioned the wisdom of turning myself in, which quickly led me to wonder whether I should have shot that man in the first place, but I decided I was making a statement that it’s better to kill than to deal with a lengthy trial.

This all reminded me of the last time. I had been riding a cross-country train when I overheard a man talking with someone about a murder he had recently committed. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but the general topic was quite clear to me. I jumped from my seat, yelling at him, "Kill me! Kill me!" He reached into the breast pocket of his suit jacket and withdrew a small single-shot pen gun, cocked it, and pressed the barrel against the center of my chest. Taking his hand in both of mine I moved the gun slightly to my left and said to him, "Right in the heart!" He looked at me questioningly, and I repeated, "Right in the heart!" He fired the gun and I heard the report, but I felt nothing. Looking at my chest as he pulled the gun away, I knew that I would see no blood at first, but that the bullet had pierced my heart, and that a deep crimson stain would quickly form on my shirt in the back, and that I’d very soon be dead.