“I could’ve killed a lot of people today” Mike said. “Not that it would’ve changed much in the greater scheme of things. But I sure as hell would’ve felt better.”
They were sitting at the end of the wooden dock and watching the evening sunlight dapple the lake’s surface with glints of silver and gold. In the distance a loon hooted; a mournful sound in the approaching twilight. For Randy, ensconced in the deck chair and listening to Mike’s confession, the loon’s call and the surrounding lakeside tranquility was surreal as though he was half-awake during a nightmare. The bottle of beer in his right hand was cold and wet in his clenched fist. He took a long swig.
To his right and hunched in his own deck chair, Mike rummaged in his jacket pocket and produced the hand-gun. Randy recognized the weapon from all the times he and Mike had spent on the shooting range. It was a silver Walther P99 and Mike’s favourite. Randy had always considered it a pistol for sissies and often joked about it with Mike. For his part, Mike had taken the teasing well but Randy wasn’t sure he’d appreciate the joke that evening.
“Well, why didn’t you?” Randy asked, trying to keep his voice cheerful.
Mike sighed and studied the pistol for a moment. “At first I was gonna. All them customers, all their bitching and complaining! And I figured Phil was gonna fire me anyways, so what difference did any of it make? Then it hit me. The point, that is.”
Randy felt cold fear mixing with the beer in his stomach. “What point?”
Mike slid the Walther back into his pocket and Randy swallowed back a relieved gasp. Mike said. “That there ain’t no point. To any of it. None of them people even matter and I figured it just didn’t matter if I did it or if time got them. Hell, all them sons of bitches got it coming in the end. That made me feel a lot better.”
He reached for his beer, sucked back a swig and then chuckled. “Took my apron off right then and there and went out back. Told Phil to shove the job up is his ass. You shoulda seen his face!”
Mike settled back in his seat and took another long swig. Randy looked out over the lake and closed his eyes for a second. “What you gonna do now?” he asked.
Mike smiled. “You mean what am I gonna do from now on?”
Mike gazed out over the lake, a serene smile etched across his features. “After I left Phil’s office I went across the street and got a job with Hanratty. He runs the lumber-yard outside town. Got his office on the main drag. You know who I mean?”
“Yeah” Randy frowned. “You walked in just like that.”
“Just like that” Mike grinned and punctuated the last word by snapping his fingers. “That was the easy part. The next part’s gonna be a lot more fun. Wished I’d started it a lot sooner though.”
“What’s that?” Randy blinked.
“I’m gonna start living” Mike replied. “That’s the point after all!”
A real quick attempt at flash fiction that came to mind while waiting in line today at a grocery store. As usual, please direct all comments and/or hate mail below.
September 10th 2017