Flash fiction where a narrator observes a dangerous situation play out between a couple
|John Palmer woke up with a pistol pointed at his face. This was not what John preferred to open his eyes to at dawn, much less at three twenty-two in the morning. He was tired and his head hurt. It may hurt a bit more if that gun went off and fired a bullet somewhere into his face, or perhaps into some other vicinity if the shooter had bad aim.
John was taught the best way to destroy writer’s block is to put a character in a situation and write said character out of it. Unfortunately, John couldn’t write his way out of this. He would have to talk his way out. Or he could just lay there. It was all up to him.
“You cheated on me.” The person holding the gun said to John. John knew that voice. It was his wife, Margaret Palmer. And Margaret was indeed correct; John had cheated on her. Twenty-two times in fact, with four different women. John was a bona fide adulterist, bad husband, and asshole. After all, Margaret just wouldn’t go pointing pistols at guys who treated her with respect and dignity.
“Think about what you’re doing. Put the gun down.” Oh, come on, John. You can do better than that. She expected you to say that one. You are just falling into the trap.
“I was faithful to you John. For fourteen years I was FAITHFUL!” Uh oh. Margaret was losing her cool. Her pitch was getting more frantic and less controlled. The gun was bobbing up and down due to her convulsive yelling. Yep, things were starting to look bad for John Palmer. Unless…unless John could come up with some beautiful, enius piece of oration to save his ass.
“I love you, baby. It was a mistake…you don’t have to do this. Put the gun down and let’s talk.” John, if I was there right now, I would shoot you myself. This isn’t going to get you anywhere. You didn’t say one new, thought-provoking, creative thing. I can understand you may be panicking right now. Maybe your head is too clogged with the fear of death. But John, it’s clutch time. It’s one of those times where the strong survive and the weak end up with a bullet in their brain at three twenty-four in the morning.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Shit, John. She’s not even using legible words anymore. She’s down to the primal scream. It looks to me like she’s going to lose any remaining control in the next few seconds. John, I’m pleading with you, come from the heart.
“Baby.” John said, and then paused. And then he came up with this stroke of genius.
“You cheated on me. You have no right to be pointing guns anywhere.” That’s more like it, John. Tell her an outright, dirty, blatant lie. She’ll have no choice but to explain to you how much of a lie that is, and then proceed to shoot you. But you see John, you can use that precious time in between to pause, catch your breath, think, and mount your triumphant comeback.
“AHHHHHHHHHH!” Margaret screamed again, and then squeezed the trigger. A bullet went right in between John’s eyes and killed him instantly. Well, shit. That didn’t work out too well for John. It was a good effort though. Most people respond to the stalling tactic. Perhaps if John had tried it earlier, before Margaret started screaming like a crazed primate, it would have worked. It’s all right though, John.
Margaret, poor Margaret. She started crying hysterically while hugging John’s body for the next hour. Then, at four twenty-six in the morning, she called the police and confessed. Margaret was eventually sentenced to life in jail without parole. Margaret wasn’t even a bad woman. She just lost herself for one critical moment.
John was taught the best way to destroy writer’s block is to put a character in a situation and write said character out of it. John wasn’t able to write his way out of this one. But I could have written him out of it if I really wanted to. But I chose not to. I’m the narrator, and I can do what I please. That is a frightening thing for people like John and Margaret Palmer.