Saturday afternoon spring sun cast crisp light through the windows of the little house. The wiry teenager found himself home, alone, two events rare enough to be memorable although he had worked up a nice fury to keep him company.

She was to blame, of course. She always was. Power and control were her game and she only played to win.

He cast his mind in all directions searching wildly for a response to equal the injustices arrayed against him but he felt crushed by helplessness. He needed something to penetrate the fortress she had constructed around herself.

By any measure she lived a bitter, self-centered, envious life wherein she loved objects and used people. All were placed on earth to do her bidding and nothing else. On this gorgeous day he was alone because it suited her.

So the boy stormed around the empty house railing against a malice that held a a property he could not comprehend: that it was intentional. Every device of logic and persuasion employed against her had the effect of feathers falling on stone ramparts because she simply did not care.

In his expanding fever state the young man wandered into his parents’ room and in the dresser found the 9mm pistol kept in a drawer. He pulled out the heavy, black holster and sat on the bed.

The oiled scent of the cool blued steel carried with it a comforting familiarity. He had shot it many times – occasionally with permission – and enjoyed the smooth metal, the heft, the potential power. The clip was kept loaded so sliding it into place felt almost automatic. Chambering a round? That suddenly became a different matter.

His heart rate rose a bit.

He rested the end of the barrel on his thigh, finger off the trigger. Was this what he needed to do? Would pulling the trigger get the point across? What was the point?

The right index finger curled around the trigger, carefully assessing the amount of pressure it would take to fire the weapon.

He could move his finger just that much, depressing the trigger enough to cause the firing pin to release, slamming against the primer on the cartridge in the chamber, burning the powder in the round which, when the pressure built up sufficiently would force the bullet down the barrel at a speed exceeding the sound barrier, then into, and probably out of, his body.

Yes, he thought to himself, I could make myself do that.

He placed the phone on the bed next to him. He gathered up towels and a belt to make a constrictor. It was one thing to shoot himself and quite another to die from it. That would ruin everything.

After all, he had to make sure she got the message (whatever it was, he didn’t have words for it) and that would be pretty tough to witness if he was dead. She had to get it and he very much needed to see that she did.

While holding the barrel pointed into his thigh, carefully away from the femoral artery and the femur to minimize the damage and the risk, he began to contemplate the outcome of this dread action.

With clarity came the vision that the ultimate result of flexing the right index finger at this instant would prove far different than the boy hoped.

The flaw in using a bullet as a message-delivery system was complete lack of control over how the message was interpreted. In this case the recipient would conclude that: the boy is careless, he can’t be trusted, he shouldn’t be left alone, or (worse) he is unstable. It would be all about him and nothing about her and that was so backwards it could not be permitted.

The young man let out a primal scream of everlasting frustration that shook the windows. Then he put the pistol away.

Even in this, she wins.


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