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accidentaldischarge.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2012

ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE

by Ryan Sayles

 

 

 

           I’ll tell everybody right now we was smokin’ wet.

          That’s the fancy name for PCP. Wet. Take your weed, soak it in PCP, let it dry and light that fucker up. It’s great. Or it’s the worst thing ever. And that’s the problem.

          Because for Lorenzo, lyin’ there bleedin’ out of every hole in his face ‘cept the new one, twitchin’ with that ridiculous gun in hand, pissin’ himself and moanin’ even though he should be long dead, it’s the worst thing.

          And then that twitchin’ – the kind you see on TV that comes with brain injuries – works its way down to his trigger finger. And then it’s the worst thing ever for me too.

*** ***

I sit down on the couch and see my used rubber, stuffed down in the cushion the way I left it last night.

          Lorenzo don’t know about this because even though he’s cool, he’s not that cool. I pull out my pack of smokes. I shared my lucky cigarette last night. But the jib is still in there. Wet.

          “Let’s get snowed, bro,” I say, pullin’ out the key to the magic kingdom. “And watch somethin’.” I use one hand to push the rubber down further into the couch, the other hand holds up the wet. Distraction.

          “You got Netflix?”

          “Yeah.” Lorenzo leans in, lighter in hand. 

          “They have cartoons on there?”

“I dunno. We’ll find out.”

We strike it up, smoke it down. Lorenzo swallows the roach and falls back into the couch. He groans like his stomach hurts. It might; I dunno why he swallows those roaches every time we smoke.

          “Tabitha’s been fuckin’ somebody, bro.” His words float outta the blue, right on the back of that groan.

          I grunt and look at him, meet his eyes, because I gotta play this right. Too big a reaction and he’ll know I’m tryin’ to cover up for what I’m doin’. It screams guilt. Too little a reaction and he’ll get pissed because he’ll figure I always thought Tabby was a slut. Which I did, but I don’t want him soundin’ off about it neither.

          “No shit? Tabitha?” I sit up. Proper reaction. “You sure?”

          “Yeah.” Lorenzo rubs his face hard, like he’s tryin’ to scrub away the thought. “I got a sinking feeling in my gut I know the guy.”

My ears perk to that. I left my gat in the car, which I never do but for some reason tonight I was only thinkin’ about smokin’ and now this. I still play it cool ‘cuz his sinkin’ feelin’ might be wrong and he don’t think nothin’ of me.

He just stares, all blank like. Might be the tough look, might be the PCP.

Here’s the two paths this thing is gonna take. One, he blames me for it and we throw down. Two, he blames somebody else and we roll over to that guy and beat his ass somethin’ fierce.

I wait for him to call it ‘cuz if he fingers me for it I’m boltin’ for the door and comin’ back with my heater. Settle this like men. He just stares at the wall. Ain’t like him. And then he turns and looks at me with a face that’s empty but happy all at the same time. I never seen him like that. Looks like he’s made up his mind ‘bout somethin’. Maybe he’s trippin’balls and just shit himself. Maybe he forgot what we was talkin’ ‘bout already.

But instead Lorenzo just starts cryin’. Even though I’m whacked, I’m almost sobered up ‘cuz of this. Weird. Lorenzo don’t cry. Lorenzo gets fuckin’ crazy and goes apeshit. And Tabby ain’t nothin’ to be upset about. I mean, I don’t care that she’s fuckin’ him. I ain’t cryin’ about that none.

“I asked her about it,” He says, grittin’ his teeth, his tone harsh. That’s more like Lorenzo. I should go for the door. But I don’t. ‘Cuz even with the tears, I’m scared of this guy when he gets like this. I don’t wanna move.

“Yeah? She tell you that you was bein’ paranoid?” I say with a forced laugh.

His gun comes out, smacks my forehead with the barrel. Just like that. “No.” he says, the cryin’ stops. “She told me everything I wanted to know.”

I stand up, hands up like I’m with a cop. He stands, pacin’ me, gun glued to my fuckin’ forehead. His eyes burn. His face is clear and for the first time I wonder where Tabby is. It ain’t like her to not be around in the evenin’.

“What-” but that’s all I get out.

“You hold a bitch’s face under scalding water long enough and she’ll squeal, bro. She’ll spill her guts about you.” He holds up his left hand and I see the red skin, angry and burned. Musta been the one he held her face with. I can see him with her, her long black hair wrapped around his fist as he stuffs her face in the sink and all the steam risin’, blurrin’ the mirror while he snarls and hears about me. The plump, swollen finger points at me.

This ain’t good. This ain’t good at all. “You’re high,” I say, a little more squeak in my voice than I’d like, “so cool it, all right? Just cool it. But don’t be hurtin’ your girl, now. That shit will land you back in jail-”

He hits me so hard with that revolver it nearly makes me shit my pants. That gun is a fuckin’ cannon. We gave him so much shit over the size of that thing, it’s like he was tryin’ to make up for somethin’. We ribbed him over it sayin’ he didn’t have the money to buy a fast car so he did this instead. Now he’s got it pointed at me. From this angle the barrel looks even bigger.

“Too late.” He screams, puts that gun right next to his head. “You wanna fuckin’ do this to me? Huh? You want this to happen? Cuz it is!”

Somethin’ snapped in his brain. Might be the PCP, might be that he loved Tabby and for whatever reason he’s not gettin’ over the fact I would borrow her now and again. Don’t know. But this is the kinda thing I seen on TV with people whose emotions are wrecked and they ain’t comin’ back.

“Dude, it’s the wet, man.” I say, talkin’ to him like he’s a retard. “Just crash out and tomorrow this will-”

“How about I just show you how much this AIN’T the wet, fool?” He hollers.

Surreal. Lorenzo just standin’ there, hand cannon to his skull, screamin’ ‘bout me makin’ him want to plug hisself over Tabby. Tabby. Cruel joke. I say no, but he drowns out my words with a roar from that gun.

Worst thing ever. He falls, pisses himself. I got brains on me. His face floods with blood. His toes twitch, his leg jiggles. Room stinks. Tabby must be dead somewhere. I gotta roll. I know the neighbors heard that. His arm twitches. His head flops a bit. Moans. On his back in the middle of his livin’ room with his TV playin’ cartoons as his face runs down the screen like rain on the side of a building.

Arm jitters. Finger on the trigger. No way, bro. No way-

The next shot is all reflex. His brain keeps talkin’ to his hand even though it should’ve shut up by now. Boom. Hits the couch hard. The shot after that and I don’t feel my foot anymore. I fall and think I got his blood on my leg when I see my shoe blown to bits across the room, and then I hear another shot.

 I don’t feel pain but I fell somethin’ that makes me want to start prayin’. I musta pissed myself. Scared by the gun. That’s natural enough, I guess. 

Hands are smeared red. I hear another shot and he hits his own leg. A piece of thigh flaps up, tears his pants. Holy shit this is really happenin’.

I look behind me and there’s blood spray across the wall. I look down, guts hangin’ outta my pants, dick danglin’ by a thread of who-knows-what. It smells. The whole thing smells terrible. I start to puke blood and cry ‘cuz I knows what this means.

Thanks Tabby.

 

 

Ryan Sayles is Midwestern. He's been published in Shotgun Honey, Nefarious Muse, Powder Burn Flash, Heroin Love Songs, Flashes in the Dark, and others and under the pen name Derek Kelly in Beat to a Pulp and Crime Factory. He's been included in print anthologies from SNM Horror Magazine and The Short Story Library.

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