Short Fiction – Robert Miller purchased a baby Glock 26 at the gun show on Saturday. He brought the gun home and set it on the kitchen table. Alissa, his live-in girlfriend of two years, walked by to start dinner. She confronted Robert because she did not like guns. She would always argue about the statistics in other countries with greater gun controls. He would always counter by pointing out the neighborhood, in fact the world, was not as safe as it used to be. Robert insisted it was for their safety. Alissa did not like how angry he became when they argued. They continued to argue off and on again for an hour.
A month passed and the two of them went to the park. Robert brought his gun as he just received his concealed weapon permit. Alissa was incensed. The day was warmer than expected and Robert took off his fleece. Alissa complained she did not like the gun bulging out from his tight shirt. Unwillingly, he took off the gun and the holster, wrapped the fleece around it, then set it on the bench beside him. They sat on the bench for some time. Alissa was still bothered and got up to walk down to the pond. Forgetting about the gun, Robert soon followed. Returning to the bench, Robert realized his mistake. The fleece had been unraveled and the gun was gone. Alissa was happy the gun was gone and they argued for hours. The next day, the argument persisted and Alissa left Robert for good.
Six months later, Alissa and her friend Rebecca walked to the strip mall to get their hair and nails done. Alissa had moved on and today’s salon visit was to prepare them for the engagement party. Rebecca’s two sons tagged along behind on their bicycles. The boys, Dean and Dennis, stayed outside to ride their bicycles in the parking lot. They notice a suspicious man toss something in the dumpster around the back of the building. They fished through the dumpster and found the bag. When they opened it, they were surprised to find a gun. Or, at least they thought it might be a gun. It seemed quite small to be real. Neither one had held a gun before and it even felt too light. They began to play with the gun. They were unaware the gun did not have a safety. Dean pointed the gun at imaginary robbers but never put his finger on the trigger.
Rebecca noticed her sons playing with what appears to be a gun. She bolts outside to intervene. As she walks toward them, she instructs Dean to make sure the safety button is on. Dean looks quizzically at the gun and cannot determine what his mom is talking about. Looking back at his mom with distraction he is unaware his finger is on the trigger. The guns fires. The recoil knocks the gun out of Dean’s hand. Dennis drops to the ground. Rebecca shrieks. However, Dennis was just terrified of the sound. She scolds both of them about the dangers of guns. Rebecca walks back into the salon. The stylist is on the floor and on her knees, bent over Alissa who is lying in a pool of blood. Alissa was declared dead at the scene.
Later, investigators determined the gun, indeed, was registered to Robert Miller.
I wrote this after being inspired by the movie Babel. Yes, it took me about ten years to finally watch this film! I think the movie could have a better and more dramatic ending. Would it not have been more interesting if Yasujiro and Susan were connected? Perhaps, they had an affair and that would explain Yasujiro’s wife apparently committing suicide? Then, Yasujiro’s rifle ends up killing Susan. This would make a stronger connection to the events in Japan. Yes, Susan dying instead of eventually living. Another poor point of the movie is one is lead to believe Susan died until the end. Almost as if the producer changed his mind about the movie’s outcome and never did retakes. It is still a good movie about small actions and their consequences.