Give Me The Gun, He Says

Michael Hemmingson

She has his gun, she found it under the bed, and she says she is going to shoot herself, she is going to blow her brains out.

Why would you want to do that, he says.

I want to die, she says.

Take your meds, he says, take your pills and you’ll feel better.

I feel awful, she says, and I want to die right now.

She waves the gun in front of her face, peering into the barrel.

Give me the gun, he says.

You love someone else, she says.

I don’t love her, he says.

You’re sleeping with her, she says.

That’s not the issue, he says.

It’s the subscription, she says.

She puts the gun to her head.

Please give me the gun, he says, please.

Stop seeing her and I will, she says.

That’s not the point, he says.

Maybe I should shoot her, she says, maybe I should kill her. She can die instead of me.

I give up, he says, go ahead, shoot yourself.

What, she says.

Die, he says, now.

She hands him the gun.

You mean that, she says.

He holds the gun, looks at the gun. He points the gun at her forehead.

Okay, do it, she says. She closes her eyes and says, Just pull the trigger and go to her and you two can live happily ever after in bliss.

There’s no bullets, he says.

She opens her eyes. Bullets, she says.

This gun has no bullets in it, he says.

Goddammit, she says, I can’t do anything right.

He gets a box of bullets from under the bed and loads the gun and shoots her in the foot. She yells out in pain and her foot is bleeding all over the place.

See how it feels, he says.

That was a lie. That does not really happen. He thinks about doing it. He has the fantasy. It would teach her a lesson.

What really happens is this.

He takes the gun and leaves.

He takes the gun and leaves and never comes back.

He takes the gun and leaves and never comes back and never thinks about her except around three a.m. when he can’t sleep and he wonders what she is doing, if she has found a new boyfriend, if he made the right decision to be with the woman who sleeps soundly next to him while he has insomnia and replays events of his past inside his mind.

Michael Hemmingson's work has been published in Fiction International, ZYZZYVA, Gargoyle, The Journal of Sex Research, Qualitative Inquiry, Asylum, American Book Review, etc. His forthcoming books are Understanding William T. Vollmann (Univ of South Carolina Press) and Gordon Lish and His Influence on 20th Century Literature (Routledge).