I sat on the edge of Carrie’s old twin bed. Weak sunlight filtered in through the opening of the pink curtains. I unsnapped the plastic case and took out Dad’s old pistol. It was a snub nosed .38. The chrome was worn in places, but the barrel was clean and the gun was oiled. The weapon was the very definition of a Saturday Night Special; compact and deadly. Dad used to keep it in his desk at the bank, I suppose in a misguided notion he could foil a holdup or something.
The pistol had a reassuring heft. I had fired it many years ago. It had a little kick for such a small gun. The hole it left in the paper target was serious enough. I held the pistol to my head and pulled the trigger. Snap. I opened the box of shells and counted them. There were nineteen. I fed five shells into the cylinder even though I only planned on using one.
I had never felt such…despair was not the right word…hopelessness. I was drowning in my very existence. For the first time in my life, I just did not care about anything. It was as if weights were on my legs, my shoulders, my arms, my fingertips, my lungs, and my heart. I was pressed down by the enormity and futility of it all. It was like that touch of panic claustrophobia you felt when you found yourself in a dark tight spot -- the crawlspace under the house, in a closet, or crawling to reach something that rolled under the bed. It was like that panic, only magnified – it was the claustrophobia of living.
“Not here,” I thought. Not on Carrie’s bed. I walked down the hall. I could never leave such a mess in the bedroom I shared with Sarah. I went outside to the backyard. I sat on a chair, cocked the gun, and held it to my temple. I heard the kids next door laughing and splashing in their little blow-up pool. For the next sixty years, to those children, I would be the neighbor who offed himself. I gently squeezed the trigger and lowered the hammer with my thumb.
I sat on the patio until darkness fell. I walked inside and unloaded the gun and returned it to its plastic box. I put the shells back into the carboard carton. I sat in my recliner and opened a bottle of bourbon.
I would read that book. It hooked me right away.
That was scary and believable.
It is not all dark and gloomy and depressing
The name's Cornelius Stalk. I keep the watch on Henry County...
Hits close to home.
A friend with consistent, horrible, uncontrolled migraines actually followed through with the attempt this way.
I understood, but was angry he deprived me of the smile he was able to show in spite of his pain.
That is awful, Greybeard. I am sorry for your loss.
Wow Joe--This is amazing work. I could feel everything the character is. Keep going!
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