This is the second in a series of posts where you can’t trust the narrator and the narrator’s not me, inspired by a T.C. Boyle short story.
The night fell and so did the frogs and the crows, they all came out mouthing at the sky, and that’s when I saw him just for a second, the back of a guy who didn’t look like the neighbor and was gone like that, moving behind the neighbor’s house with a dog, a muscular, mustard-colored dog, and I sat there staring at the gap where he was and the motion detector lamps burning, and knew I had to do something.
I sat looking for a while and then I got up and told Dawn what happened and I was going across the street. I put on my slippers and got the dog and then remembered the gun, the gun I always thought about but didn’t get because I didn’t want to welcome that kind of Karma by having a gun, I thought it would be better to go out straight and get killed by some freak if that’s how it was meant to be.
But that’s not what happened because I did have a gun, the one I kept in the garage I never told anyone about Just In Case, and it was time, which was good, because we had kids and assets, and this was our street.
I moved with purpose like it was a role I was working on, I knew just what to do. It was big in my pocket and stuck out like a broken rib, so I moved it to the small of my back and put the safety on, made it snug in my briefs.
And I tried to walk normal as I came upon Mark and Diane’s back porch, not much of a porch, but I looked around as the night fell and the light got bad, it’s hard to see when everything goes indigo-like, and I rang the bell even though it didn’t look like they were home; the cars weren’t there and what lights were on gave the look of lights you’d put on to pretend someone was there when in fact they weren’t.
The yard went on about an acre in every direction and I had never been in it, and the guy could be anywhere now, bedding down with his muscular dog or off to peer into the back of someone else’s house, and Ginger (my dog) was more interested in sniffing the moss in the grass than anything, and then I got spooked, so I got out the gun.
The gun felt like an extension of my hand, like a superhero’s sketch by a kid where one hand gets bigger and starts spewing out flame like a factory chimney, that’s what it felt like to watch the red from the laser sight cut across the grass, like a surgeon’s eye scanning, lasering the shadows in the shed, the undersides of fruit trees, he could be anywhere and nowhere at the same time.
I put the gun back because it was making me go blank, I was starting to pant, and Dawn was coming out of the house across the street calling to me, something about the police, and I backed up the driveway, moving slow, not sure what happened, but the gun was hot on my chest and my ears were ringing and she was crying, so I laid the gun down and did what they said, that’s how it happened, that’s it, I don’t know what happened, really.