Strangely appropriate, this topic. I spent half a day last week doing gun research with my brother for my latest book, Dissecting Dallas, so it’s all fresh in my head.
Also, I must say I was inspired by Terrible Minds‘ Chuck Wendig’s comment, “Not a vignette but a complete story”. I know I’m guilty of quite the few vignettes, but that’s what comes with being a novelist, not a short story writer. But I did try to write a story this time, albeit it’s a little sarcastic on the vignette front :). Enjoy.
I remember the first time I held a shotgun. Nothing special, I mean, everyone owns one in the country, and I don’t even remember the brand. It was a 12-guage.
I also remember the first time I held a pistol. It was my older brother’s 1911 .45ACP with an extended barrel, kept as a just in case—protection, pure and simple. It was cool as shit. But it didn’t seem like a real weapon. It looked like a really good replica of all those I’d seen in movies. The only way to believe I held a gun in my hand was to shoot it off at the range. From then on, I was hooked.
I’d also like to mention that my life is mostly a series of vignettes. Not much has ever happened to me that could make up a story. You take any certain point in my life, you’ll not find a story, short or long, you’ll just find me living, trying to fend for myself in the only ways I know how. Like a wolf that scrounges for its next meal, whether by killing or scavenging.
I’m not interesting. I was born, I’ll live, and I’ll die. Maybe my death will be a story. My birth certainly wasn’t any different from most others. And my life was… well, I’ve already said it, boring.
I’m sitting here in the corner of a dark coffee shop, waiting to learn my next assignment. Even my assignments aren’t really stories. I can’t tell anyone about them, and even if I could, they’re pretty cut and dry. I’m good at what I do. I don’t have slipups or unusual things happen to me. I’m pretty sure I decided to be a hitman for the thrill, the stories… but it’s like they purposely elude me.
I can feel the weight of my Walther P99 .40 on my hip, in its unclipped holster. Most would think it crazy that I don’t have any of the safeties engaged on the weapon. Don’t worry about me. If I’m dumb enough to shoot myself, I shouldn’t be a fucking hitman.
My coffee is growing cold. Patrons glance at me out of the corner of their eye. Probably because I’m sitting so still, my elbows on the table and my cupped hands under my chin. I look like I’m watching them. Sometimes I do. Mostly, I’m waiting.
The bell above the door jingles.
I move only my eyeballs to glance at the entrance.
Arnett spots me and meanders through the tables towards mine. “How’s it going, Graeme?”
I shrug and glance at his face. “Forget to shower today?”
Arnett’s face slackens and he sits. He beckons for the waitress and asks for coffee. “More important things to worry about,” he says. “Things have taken a bit of a tumble.”
“What things?” I discretely pet my gun. I’m dying to hold the sleek, cool metal in my hand. It’s a part of me. Having to holster it is like someone asking me to come into town naked.
Arnett doesn’t miss a trick. “I gotta take a piss. I’ll be back.”
He gets up and crosses the coffee shop to the washroom. Five seconds later, I follow. I heave all my weight on the bathroom door and realize he’s locked it. At once, I know what he’s attempting. I hurry through the patrons and dash outside, only pulling my baby out of her holster when I’ve reached the backside of the building. There’s Arnett, falling out of the window into a pile of cardboard boxes and some aluminum garbage cans. I know it’ll take a moment for him to recover, so I take time to make sure the suppressor is tight. As Arnett is struggling to stand in the garbage, I pull back the slide to allow the first round to enter the chamber.
“Graeme… Please.” Arnett holds his hands up. “Don’t tell me you’re working for that louse, Finnegan. What about us? We’ve been friends too long.”
I shrug my shoulders. “Honestly, I don’t really have friends. You’re my boss. Finnegan pays more. I merely go where the money is.”
In my approach, I glance around to make sure no one is watching.
“You should have brought Carla,” I say.
“Yeah, well, I had to chuck her into the East River. She was an old hag anyway. Never reloaded when I asked her to…”
“Shame,” I reply. Arnett never has another chance to speak. I fire two rounds into his heart, the silencer suppressing most of the report, but not all, so I know I’d be best to hit the road.
I holster my babe (I still haven’t named her, just can’t think of anything suitable) and run around front to grab my car. I pull it through the side alleyway and pop the trunk.
Thankfully, Arnett’s lost some weight in recent days, what with worrying he’s going to be killed. So he’s nice and easy to carry. Once I’ve got him in the trunk, I’ll take him to Finnegan, who’ll verify the kill and dispose of Arnett himself.
And then I’ll go back to the regular assignments. Nothing special.
So, this is the only story I have, the one about how I killed my only friend. Sad, I know, but money can buy more than friendship can.
It’s not even a very good story. Kind of boring if you ask me. No car chases, no threats or pleas. Boring.
Anyway, stop by sometime. You may catch a quick vignette of an assignment, or hell, maybe just me on the can or having a smoke, or fucking some woman I just met—I don’t care. I don’t have stories, so don’t expect to hear one.
Not unless my life’s about to get muchmore interesting.
© Lindsay Mawson 2011