The Kid

You know you shouldn’t be holding a gun right now, right? Are you stupid? And what the hell are you even doing here in the first place? What’re you going to say if somebody stops and asks you why you’re standing across from this kid’s house like some kind of pedophile? You want people to think you’re a pedophile? Didn’t think so. It’s not like you can justify being here right now either, you know the rules. Students are only accessible during school hours, on school property, seven-thirty to two-thirty, Monday through Friday. It’s Saturday, ten P.M., so why the fuck are you outside the little prick’s house? This is stupid, man, extremely stupid. And you look even stupider standing here holding a gun, like nobody’s going to notice. He’s a child, man, that’s it. A stupid little shit-stain who should have been aborted, yes, but there’s nothing you can do about that now. You’re not his parent. You’ve got to let society take him in somehow. Because it’s the right way to do things, that’s why. Let the world eat him up and shit him out. Maybe he’ll end up in the military after all this is over, learn some discipline. Or maybe prison, as somebody’s bitch.

Don’t laugh while you’re holding a gun, man. It makes you look crazy.

Come on, just start the engine and leave. The kid didn’t do anything to you, and you know it. Don’t take it personal. He did what he did because of a system he believes is out to fuck him sideways. You just happened to represent that system at that particular moment. Leave now, put the gun back in the brown paper bag and drive off, forget this ever happened. You haven’t done anything wrong yet. You haven’t done anything at all but what you were supposed to do. The kid didn’t do his work and you gave him an F, period. He lashed out, which makes him wrong in this situation, and he’ll get his eventually, the little bastard, but not like this. He probably still doesn’t even realize what he did, you remember how you were at that age? You don’t think about tomorrow when you’re seventeen. It’s all about today, right now, what’s going to make you happy right this second. Things are too easy, too quick, too accessible nowadays. Nobody even has a chance to think about repercussions. The internet is an amazing invention; so much information. It’s not the kid’s fault your face was plastered all over your hometown newspaper’s website archives. And how the fuck were you supposed to know felony assault charges would make the front page? How could anybody in that situation? It was thrown out, no conviction, end of story, case closed. There’s nothing you can do about the press’s take on things. The jury believed you, that’s all that matters. But what the hell would they think if they saw you now, sitting out here staring at this kid’s house with that look in your eyes and a gun practically melting in your sweaty palm? What the kid found was a few words and a mug shot or two. Nothing more. Nothing less. You should be able to get your job at the school back Monday, once you explain the situation to Principal Adams.

Do not get out of the car. Seriously, get back in the car and put the gun away.

The kid’s not even here anyways, you saw him leave earlier. You should be out too. Drink away the bullshit, numb the pain, all that. Rick asked you earlier, remember? He asked you to come out to The Pub with him. He knew you were upset and he wanted to help, you see? You’ve got people who care about you, man. You should’ve gone with Rick. It’s still early bro, you can still go. You can be drunk in an hour, think about it. Safely intoxicated. Rick offered to pay and everything and, considering you have no steady income right now, you should be taking every handout you can get. How you’re going to pay back the student loans or keep from getting evicted or having your car repossessed could have all been dealt with later, man. It’s Saturday. You should be at the Pub. You should be shit-faced. You should be calling your ex-girlfriend drunk and trying to hook up again. She sounded like she might have been coming around last time. You were close, man, real close. This could be your chance, tonight. Right now.

Shit, no, man, leave now, before he sees you. Don’t let him get out of his dad’s car and see you pointing the gun like that, man. Don’t let him see you with your finger on the trigger. He’s just a kid, man. Just a goddamn kid.