Mackenzie’s visits came more frequent. She would come into the study, pick one of her Dad’s pictures off of the wall, and talk to it. As if he was there in front of her. As if he was still here. No, she wasn’t necessarily there to see me, but occasionally, while venting, she would dart me a look. And no matter how the conversation with her Dad went, long or short, good or bad, before she’d leave the room she would give me another cold look.
I knew, before she even entered the room, that she was coming for me. No words for her Dad that night. Her rage exploded into the room and grabbed me before she even laid a finger on the door handle. It had been so long since I’ve been held. I was like an infant in her arms, swaddled in this cloth as she rescued me from that case.
The pain was real. It oozed from her. It consumed her. But, it didn’t distract her. She remembered to grab my sling, a couple of my favorite magazines, and the box that her father had loaded specifically for me. We passed her mother in the hallway with a rather convincing “I’m ok, just super-tired” on the way to her room. Mackenzie propped me up in her computer chair, sat in bed across from me, and stared. We both did. We didn’t sleep. Instead we sat, in silence, looking each other over. Studying one another.
When morning came there was no shower. No brushing of the hair, or teeth. No makeup. No breakfast. And no goodbye, we just left. I’ll admit, I was nervous. I haven’t been used since well before her father passed last year, and even that seemed to be just as much of a lesson for myself as it was for Mackenzie.
Her walk to school was a noisy one. She was mumbling, aggressively, as if finishing an argument that she had had with someone, or multiple someones. I was bouncing and rattling around in her backpack so much that at the time, I thought that she had given me that mag just to shut me up.
That was my first and only time at her school, so I guess I didn’t really know what to expect. But it was odd, and loud. Loads of teachers and students filing into one entrance. 6 foot markers on the ground, with armed guards directing who to step forward, where they should put their bag, and where to stand while waiting to go through the metal detectors. The dinging, “next”, “over here please”, and slap of bags on the conveyor belt were enough to drown out Mackenzie’s mutters. The added conversation and sounds from the people moving around us was almost deafening. And as much as that guard tried to defuse it with his “STTOOOPPPP” – that everyone heard, but no one acknowledged – nothing silenced that hallway like I did.
– crack –
Mackenzie squeezed tightly as she pulled me from her bag, forcing me to dump a round into the tile floor.
– thhppp –
The next one hit flesh, bringing Mr.”STTOOOPPPP” to his knee.
– thhraackaackaackaack –
Right on target. That bullet put a butthole in the guard’s forehead, and skirted across the floor.
So that’s how it feels? – thhppp – Taking a life. And before the other guard could unsnap their holster – thhppp – she got one too. – thhppp thhppp – Then two. – crack crack – The one thing that I was created for. – crack thhppp crack crack thhppp – My entire reason for existing. – thhraack crack thhppp – This. – crack thhraackaack – This is amazing. – thhppp thhraack – All the time that I spent with her father. – crack – All the time that I spent with both of them. – crack – The only thing we ever shot was paper. – thhppp – Never anything living. – thhraackaack – Well – thhppp thhppp – aside from maybe the occasional tree. Never an animal – crack – or a human, – thhppp – nothing that could fire back. – thhppp dmm click –
Damn, my magazine is empty. I guess the fun is over.
– grrmmrrgprmclick –
– thhppp – This. – crack – This is so exhilarating. – crack – This. – thhppp – This, isn’t right. – crack – These are innocents. – thhraack thhppp – I’m not here for them, am I?
Coming down from my high, as my tunnel vision starts to widen, I see bodies. Still. Limping. Crawling. Shaking. Bleeding. Bodies. Filling the hallway, their blood spilling into the cracks of this tile floor. What have I done? What am I doing? Why is she doing this? I can stop this. I know I can. I can jam. I can unseat the ammo. I can misfire. I can. But this is me.
This is my job. This is what I was created for. I’m here to kill things. To kill people. It doesn’t matter who’s on the trigger. It matter what’s in front of my barrel, or who. I’m here to go “boom”, or “thhppp” I guess.
There’s no one alive in the main hallway and we’re now thhppping and cracking our way through the rest of the school. I have to make my mind up here. I have to come up with some sort of plan. I have to.
The police gave me to her mother and explained what Mackenzie did. What I did. The officers told her that I had stopped, they called it a “jam”. Mackenzie was inspecting me, unloading and reloading me, and attempting to fire. She placed my butt on the floor, looked down my barrel to see what was wrong and… The world focused on the violence and gun problem in this country. The country attacked gun laws and lawmakers. The lawmakers recriminated psychiatrists and counselors. The counselors took partial blame, and shared some with the faculty. The faculty put their blame onto the guards, and parents. The parents faulted Mackenzie’s mother, who internalized it, while questioning Mackenzie’s father and Mackenzie herself. There was a finger for everyone, except for me. Mackenzie’s might be the last one my trigger will ever see.
From the masses, I received few accusations for the shooting. But for killing my friend Mackenzie, no interrogation. For doing my job, no awards. I was walked back into the study, cleaned, and put in my display case, just as I was before. Almost as if it never happened.