iii - the mint
I hold the gun up at eye level examining its manhood. Some people refer to guns as women, saying stupid **** like, “Isn’t she a beauty?”
I think a gun is all man. Hard. Cold. Deadly and uncaring. Mostly deadly.
All men have that urge to kill. That animal instinct to survive. Most just won’t admit it. They watch movies like, ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ and ‘Taxi Driver’ and their peckers get rock hard. They masturbate while watching war coverage on CNN like they are watching a porno. But the reality of their own feelings scares the **** out of them so they bury them…deep inside.
But there is only so much a man can bury before it starts to fester and rot and demand release. And when it does, all you can do is pray your not one of the unlucky numbers who just happens to be in-line ordering a Big-Mac or buying a stamp or walking across campus to your next class…because there’s a very good possibility it will release in the form of bullets spraying randomly from the barrel of a legally purchased firearm.
Every man is a natural born killer.
I know it’s in me.
I know it’s in Kirt.
It’s just a matter of how you process all the **** society feeds you.
Swallow, digest and ****…like a good little citizen. Or spit it back out into their faces and become a social outcast.
I hold the gun in my open palm, like it’s a set of Chinese stress balls. I do feel somewhat relaxed. After all, what are the odds of losing on the first pull?
Even so, I’m not really into odds. I don’t take them into account when I bet on football or horses. I don’t factor them into my poker play and each time I light up a smoke I think nothing of how the odds of me developing lung cancer just greatly improved.
I believe in luck. And a certain amount of skill.
Kirt argues that skill means knowing the odds.
I believe skill is based on instinct. Killer instinct.
I gaze for a moment out the dingy cracked window. The two candles I lit on the filthy windowsill flick and pinch the air, dismembering the spew of headlights that litter the expressway beyond.
I think about all those ****, stuck in their daily routines.
Perfunctory maggots, wasting their lives slithering from one garbage bag to the next…just waiting for that one day when they will sprout wings and fly away in search of their heaping mound of **** future.
They will never know the lines they could cross. Never understand what life is really all about. I don’t pity them really. I hate them.
I could kill.
I look back to the gun. I like its feel, eternal. I like its shape, fluid…yet solid. I am falling in love with its direct silent power. I could get used to holding one of these.
I study it a moment longer in the lighter kaleidoscope shadows that are being thrown about by the candles. Lovely.
I look back to Kirt and he too is studying the gun. I wonder if he is romanticizing about it as I am. I wonder if he is having second thoughts. After all, he has a family to think about. Even though Madison already decided to leave him, it wasn’t too late to get his **** back together and become a real dad. He owes his two kids that much.
But **** him anyway if he is! This was his idea. I was content to give him the title of winner.
But the truth is, he is not! I am in the lead and he knows that and it’s killing him. He knows that I know these facts even though I say I don’t and he knows that it matters to me even though I say that it doesn’t.
Yea, this was his idea!
“Ready?” I ask in a playful voice.
The air shifts as my words bend through it like light through a prism.
His concentration is broken and his stare falters from the gun to my hand, up my arm and eventually to my face. He looks sad. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of me.
He smiles and it’s no longer meaty. It’s rehearsed.
A person’s smile can be so telling. Not only can you generally decipher their true mood from it but if you look closely enough you can usually unravel their whole nature.
This one looked like it was practiced hundreds of times in the bathroom mirror, yet still never fully perfected. Not real.
I once met Janeane Garofalo at a comedy club called the Mint out in Los Angeles. She showed up late for the show and was working her way through the crowd to the stage when I accidentally bumped into her and nearly knocked her over. As I stammered an apology, trying to explain that it was my birthday and I was slightly intoxicated, she placed her hand on my arm and smiled. And I mean…she smiled!
My heart danced like a butterfly in a windstorm. I was floored at how genuine and amazingly gorgeous it was, and I thought to myself…now that’s a smile. A real smile.
“Your first mutha ****.” Kirt gives me his best Samuel L Jackson. “Question is…are you ready?”
I answer the question quickly enough by maneuvering the barrel to my temple and without hesitation, I pull the trigger.
I watch as his mouth opens wide and I am reminded of that time so long ago when we had first met. The white teeth island surrounded by a black sea of lips and face. Difference is, now I hold the gun.
“Man, that was intense.” He proclaims.
“Just do it, right.” I quote Nike.
“Yea…just do it.” He repeats after me slowly and not so deliberately.
I set the piece back down on the table. With my palm forcefully upon it, I jam it down and across the table toward him, once again making the chalkboard noise.
This time he does cringe again. Followed by a slight shudder.
I smile. Unrehearsed I know.
Janeane’s smile, Kerplow!