One of these days, old gun

by | Jan 2, 2011 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 4 comments

Here’s the third insallments of my weekly flash fiction project.

One of these days, old gun

By Laura McHale Holland

Katy slows her pace, despite the biting cold. Miranda and Carly are only half a block ahead. The last thing she wants is to be only a few steps behind the queen bees of seventh grade so they can turn, sneer and her and say something snide like they always do, that is if they even notice her at all.

Miranda and Carly stop at the corner, their silky light brown hair flowing down their backs. Katy wonders why they’ve come to a halt, especially since the thermometer has dropped 10 degrees in the last half hour. They’re supposed to turn right and walk to the old part of town where the trees are tall and and the homes spacious. Then Katy can turn to the left and disappear into her neighborhood of tract homes slapped together a few decades ago, two floor plans alternating block after block.

Katy thinks of crossing the street, but dismisses that idea. Since they’re all on the left side of the road, she has no reason to cross to the right since her home is toward the left. So she plods along, hoping Miranda and Carly will have  turned right before she reaches the corner.  No such luck. They swivel around when Katy is just a couple of feet behind them.

“Gee, Katy, where ya goin’ in such a hurry?” Carly taunts.

“Home,” Katy says, head down.

Miranda shoves Katy backward. “You don’t have a home, freak,” she says. “You’ve got a hovel.”

Carly rushes behind to rip Kathy’s backpack off. Miranda keeps shoving Katy, throwing her off balance. “Whee, lookee,” Carly says as she unzips the backpack and throws Katy’s papers and books up into the air. They land in the yard nearby. The books sink into the snow and the papers scatter in the wind. Then Carly throws the empty backpack down and joins Miranda in shoving Katy down onto the sidewalk.

Miranda and Carly run off, laughing. “Don’t ever follow us again, stalker,” Carly calls back to Katy, who is pulling herself up. “Yeah, stay out of our way,” Miranda says. And they run off.

Katy brushes off her coat, picks up her belongings and trudges home. She unlocks the door, sets her wet books and papers out on the table to dry and walks into her mother’s bedroom. At the dresser, she opens the second drawer, moves aside some underwear and picks up a handgun. It’s not loaded. She hasn’t been able to figure out where her mom hides the bullets.

She caresses the gun barrel, rubs it against her cheek. “One of these day, old gun. One of these days we’ll get even,” she whispers. Then she puts the gun back, tucks the underwear back over it, goes into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of chocolate milk.

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  1. Chris Predick

    Laura, I really enjoyed this haunting piece. Usually we face the tragedies of the world after they happen, not when they are being prepared. Wonderful!

  2. Lynmac

    Sadly, tragically, this scenario is all too common, both in middle school and high school. My son experienced it. There is some hollow place inside these bullies that needs to feel superior to those whom they see as “lacking” in some way. Somehow the only way they can achieve this feeling of superiority is by bullying and abusing the gentler souls among them.

    The whole thing is so evocative it is hard for me to read! The only comment I have is about the last sentence. For me it doesn’t contrast starkly enough with caressing the gun. Can’t really explain it… I guess this is the I-wanted-to-be-a-writer-but-never-did-anything-about-it in me (LOL). Maybe a new graph – Carefully tucking the underwear back over the gun, she shuts the drawer. Time to start cooking dinner before her mom gets home from work.

    I don’t know…I’m just thinking out loud, and I really don’t know what I’m talking about! You ARE an amazing writer.

  3. admin

    Thank you for the feedback, both in terms of your life experiences, as well as your thoughts on bullying and on the story’s end. These are drafts I’m posting, so I welcome thoughtful, constructive comments like yours. Some folks make comments based on the story they want to write, not on the work presented, or they offer comments based on some peculiar agenda they have. Those types of comments aren’t helpful. But that clearly isn’t the case with you. You’ve given me some honest feedback. Keep thinking out loud. :o)

    Toward the end of the year I’m thinking of picking the best of these, polishing them and publishing them in a little collection.

  4. admin

    Thank you, Chris. I was afraid people would think I’m demented for posting this, so your comment helps assuage my fears. It also reinforces for me that it’s good to take these kinds of risks in writing— to take yourself to an uncomfortable place and explore it. I hadn’t thought of the aspect you brought up about how we usually face tragedies after the fact rather than before. That is so true, isn’t it. Thanks again.

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