As Luck Would Have It

In four hours I’m going to shoot mama in the eye with a pellet gun. Guess what, there’s no pardon for this one. Tears didn’t work, and there’s no chance in Hell for community service either. Do you believe in fate or destiny? ‘Dunno, maybe it’s all coincidence, or a bad dream, and I’ll wake up tomorrow and laugh as I tell it to Bobby and Luke. Whatever it is, it fucking sucks.

Damn, in 3 hours and 48 minutes I’ll be looking mama in the eye as I pull the trigger. She’s scared, but mostly she’s really pissed. I can hear her now,

“Damn it, Tommy, you’re 17 years old. What the Hell were you thinkin’?”

What were we thinking? I guess you could say we weren’t. Happens a lot when you live in small-town USA. Let’s face it, there’s not much going on around here, so you sort of have to make your own fun, and that’s exactly what we did.

I’m Tommy Sands, just a regular Joe. Me and my buds, Bobby and Luke ain’t got steady girls, so we spend Saturday nights at the local bowling alley shooting pool and slipping a little Jack into our Cokes. Skor-Mor Lanes is the best place in town to scope out chicks showing off their pierced belly buttons in midi-tops and tight hip-hugger jeans. They also love to wiggle their asses while bowling strikes and spares. Funny thing is that the ass-wigglin’s all for show. It’s not like we’ll ever get any.

Six months ago, tired of doing the same Saturday night thing, we drove over to Haskill for a change. Haskill’s a city of around 33,000, and a damn sight bigger than Lone Tree. Bobby had brought along his pellet gun, and after a few shots of Jack we decided to have a little fun. I’m not sure who’s idea it was to go around shooting that pellet gun at the unsuspecting, but it sure was a good one. We had a blast. I wish you could have seen the look on the bicycle dude’s face when Bobby pointed that gun at him. He ditched the damn thing quicker than you could say squat and took off across a couple of yards at a dead run. Man could that fucker run! Then there were the 2 spandexed Yuppie moms out for an evening jog complete with baby strollers. The way they threw themselves screaming across those strollers you’d have thought we were trying to kill the kids or something. And, the old wino, passed out on the park bench, woke up quick and yelped like he was stung by a yellow jacket when that pellet got him in the ass. We pulled alongside one of those special buses at a light, but the ‘tards inside were so damn dumb they didn’t even know to be afraid.

The best one of the night was the old bag lady with gray, frizzy, lice-infested hair, a filthy Mets jacket, pleated black skirt, hose rolled down to her ankles, and Nikes that had seen better days. At first we laughed at her muttering as she ambled across the street in front of us. But when Luke yelled at her to fucking get out of the way, she flipped him off without giving him a look. Man, trash like that flipping him off was just plain wrong.

We were pretty bored with it all by then and probably would have left her alone if she hadn’t done what she did. Instead, we circled back around and decided to play with her. Bobby was pretty drunk by this time and really stoked from scaring the shit out of all the others, so he was ready to rock and roll. He jumped out of Luke’s truck and like fucking John Wayne started shooting at her feet, yelling, “Dance, bitch.” I laughed my ass off at the sight of it. It was just like one of those old black and white Westerns I would watch with my old man when he was around. Luke figured he deserved a turn since it was him she flipped off, so Bobby gave him the gun. He was about as drunk as Bobby, and a lot more pissed, and before we realized it he was actually shooting her not just at her. We tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn’t. He just kept firing. First it was body shots, but then he started shooting her in the face, and she soon looked like a bad case of the hives. I’ll never understand why she just stood there a let him shoot her. She never moved, not once, that is, until one of the pellets took out her right eye. As the blood from her ruined eye streamed down her cheek and between the fingers of her upraised hand, she screamed curses at all of us. Not regular curses, like,

“Damn you, motherfucker!”

She cursed like some voodoo mama throwing heavy mojo on us. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, I’ll tell yah. After that, we jumped back in Luke’s truck and laid a strip of rubber that normally’d be bragged about the next day. As I said, that was six months ago. However, now there’s only 20 minutes to go before mama loses her right eye.

As you can guess, we didn’t get away with it. Some do-gooder out walking his fucking Peek-a-poo or some such faggoty-type mutt called 9-1-1 and reported us along with Luke’s plate number. The cops showed up at the house a couple of hours later and cuffed me and dragged me off to jail despite mama’s pleading and crying. She wasn’t able to make bail for me, and so I spent the next couple of weeks up to trial time in the county jail. Seems I was close enough to bein’ an adult to be tried like one. My court-appointed attorney decided it was better to plead guilty and go before the judge for sentencing and being both scared and stupid, I agreed. The day of my sentencing mama made sure I looked presentable in khakis and a button-down and a new haircut little good that it did. The son of a bitch actually grinned as he read my punishment,

“Son, I sentence you, in one week’s time, to shoot your mama’s right eye out.”

What I remember most besides the sound of mama’s gasp somewhere behind me was that stupid “Christmas Story” movie. You know, the one where the shitty little kid wants the Red Rider BB gun, but everyone just keeps telling him he’ll “shoot his eye out.” I didn’t look at mama as they took me away. They’ve kept me in lockup until now, and in less than 10 minutes I’ll be seeing her for the first time since that day. Bobby and Luke both stopped by a few minutes ago and said that the town square looks like it does on the Fourth of July. Seems folks have come in droves to see the spectacle that me and mama’s become.

The jailor’s come to get me, and in two minutes looking mama in the eye as I pull that trigger’s gonna be the hardest thing I ever do. A fella never rats out his buds.


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