Gregory sat in his car, riding the massive wave that came out of two lines of cheap cocaine. In a world that was awash with uncertainty and built on a bedrock of bad decisions, packing his sinuses full of drugs that made his brain play drum solos was clearly a good idea. It had motivated him to drive over to John’s house, park at the corner and talk himself into talking things out with the boss. Clear the air. Know where he stood. Gregory’s thoughts wouldn’t crowd a bumper sticker, which was part of his charm.
John had not reassured Gregory that this was all GOING TO PLAN and Gregory needed to know what was going on. He envisaged prison as a concert with his asshole being the VIP section, which was a projection of his own fears and behaviours that resisted analysis. Gregory would think ahead, but in the way a moth questions it’s flight path as the candle flame grows larger before it.
The gun in his hand was for his own protection. He had no intention of using it, but he felt safer with it on him. That, and John would smack it from his hands before he could pull the trigger. He looked out the windshield, waited for John to come out.
The delivery guy was a surprise, not unexpected. Mary brought a lot of shit online, she was ‘creative’ which Gregory associated with the fags who went away to college and never came back. If Gregory had known that a lot of them had left because of men like him, he would have been proud of it. He looked odd, like someone too patriotic to wash with soap and water, that fluoride was a tool of communism so his teeth fell like autumn leaves from bleeding, stinking gums.
Holy shit, that was some good stuff. Greg got out of the car slow as he could manage with the gun by his side. He could have called for back up, reported it and drove on, but the John in his head would be grateful for his bravery. A pat on the shoulder, an approval in his eyes that Gregory would pledge his soul to see. He roadie ran into the neighbouring garden, noted that the car was out of the driveway and he darted into the back yard.
John and Mary valued their privacy, which was reflected in the high, wooden fence that loomed before him. He looked around for something that would give him a foot or two to help him look over, a bit of reconnaissance to see if he’d read the situation all wrong. His tongue tingled with apprehension, and he wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead, chest rising with each harsh breath. He found a lawn chair, picking it up and taking it to the fence on tip toe. He stood on it and strained to look over, but the patio doors were closed. He tucked his gun into his waistband at the small of his back and scrabbled up. It took an effort that made him gasp when he reached the top of the fence and swung his leg over. He had managed to press his scrotum against the top of the fencing which sent a dull ache up from the pit of his stomach. He swallowed vomit but managed to get over and land without hurting himself any further.
He was skinny, but had no endurance to speak of and he breathed hard as he crept to the patio door with his gun in his hand. He peered around the edge of the frame, squinting to make sense of the two men stood in the living room. He saw John with his hands up, talking to the man who had his back to Gregory.
Who was holding the gun.
Gregory took the safety off with his thumb and racked the slide, as he aimed and squeezed the trigger. The glass shattered and the man fell forward with a grunt of annoyed surprise. Gregory lowered the barrel and fired until the magazine was empty. He was not aware until he stopped firing that he had been screaming.
John stood there, face white with shock and hands up by his head, shaking with shock.
‘ Why’d you shoot him? ‘
Gregory stared at him, mouth slack with surprise, like something had broken in his brain that controlled motor function and reaction.
‘He had a gun on you, John.’
John gritted his teeth and walked forward, shoved Gregory hard enough to make him fall backwards. The floor rushed up and punched him in the tailbone but he clutched his gun.
He’s got my wife, you fucking moron.’
His right hand came out, caught Gregory hard on the cheek and made his eyes water. Gregory asked him to stop, but John kept swinging and calling him all kinds of names. He could see that Gregory was crying but it didn’t stop him slapping him over and over, screaming what a fucking idiot he was, what an utter disappointment he was and that flipped a switch in his head. Plunged Gregory’s mind into pitch black.
He swore after that he never even figured the gun was still loaded.
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