Prompt Prose: November Morning

“The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day.”

– Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association, December 21, 2012

November Morning

The pale November sunrise insinuated itself between the slats of the venetian blinds and shone apologetically onto the bed. Gavin stirred and woke as the feeble warmth of the sun hit his face. He tumbled out of bed and took his six-foot tall lanky frame into the bathroom to wash and shave. A pair of resolute steel-grey eyes stared back at him from the mirror as he went over his plan once more. It was flawless.

Once dressed, Gavin had a light breakfast – no coffee today – then headed for the garage. It was a typical suburban garage, filled with a work bench, garden tools, and the accumulated junk of 15 or so years. At the back was a steel cabinet, secured by a combination deadbolt lock.

Gavin surveyed the garage, satisfying himself that its carefully randomized clutter was undisturbed. Only then did he spin the dials on the combination lock. He heard a click as the final tumbler fell into place. He opened the cabinet and surveyed its contents: two Glock pistols, a Bernardelli 12- gauge double-barreled shotgun, and a Remington M-24 sniper rifle with a laser-assisted telescopic sight. And plenty of ammunition.

He took the rifle out of the cabinet and set it on his work bench. Expertly, Gavin stripped down the gun, then cleaned and reassembled it. He mounted the telescopic sight onto the rifle and did some practice sightings to check the laser alignment. Satisfied, he removed the sight from the rifle, unscrewed the barrel from the gunstock, and carefully placed each component into its molded compartment in a foam-lined case.

Gavin checked his watch. He picked up the case, went back into the house, and walked out the front door to his Taurus. After gently placing the case on the floor of the car, he slid behind the wheel. He buckled his seat belt, started the car and carefully drove to his objective – this was no day to get a traffic ticket. Parking the car down the street from his intended destination, he circled the block on foot to look for any sign of trouble, then entered a ramshackle office building through the side door.

Gavin walked stealthily up three flights of stairs and let himself into the room he had scouted three weeks before. He moved the window curtain a few millimeters and surveyed the street below, then looked across the street at the window where his quarry would appear. Satisfied, Gavin retrieved an air mattress from the closet. He pumped it up until it was the correct height for him to assume a prone firing position while resting his rifle on the low window sill.

He glanced at his watch again. “Better get set,” he told himself. “The Bitch will be in my sights in about 15 minutes.” Gavin affixed the telescopic sight and settled himself and his rifle into position. He looked through the sight and satisfied himself that everything was aligned. Ten minutes to go. The hardest part was the waiting. Five minutes; now two.

Wait, there was motion inside the room across the street. Gavin took a deep breath and held it as his target loomed large in the gunsight – the laser dot centered on the President-Electʼs head. Gently, he squeezed the trigger and saw the bullet strike, spattering blood, bone and brains all over the room.

“Nice shooting!”

Gavin jumped, startled out of his reverie, as the gun club manager handed him the paper target. “You hit the bulls-eye dead center.”

©2012 Phyllis Entis. All rights reserved.

A Note of Explanation: “November Morning” was my submission to the 9th round of National Public Radio’s “Three Minute Fiction” contest. The theme of this contest was “Pick A President.” I hadn’t planned to post this story, but changed my mind after reading the transcript of the National Rifle Association’s December 21st response to the Newtown school shooting.

Prompt Prose: Twenty Candles Snuffed

December 14, 2012.- The following poem is in homage to the twenty children who were massacred today in Newtown, Connecticut.

Twenty Candles Snuffed

Twenty children went to school
On this December day,
Their eyes a-gleam with eagerness
To learn. To laugh. To play.

Twenty children sat in class.
Their teachers stood before.
Twenty children shrank in fear
When Death walked in the door.

Twenty empty beds are left
A testament to homes bereft;
Parents bowed down in their grief,
Filled with sorrow and disbelief.

In twenty Newtown homes this year
The holidays will bring no cheer.
For twenty futures have gone dark.
Twenty candles snuffed.

©2012 Phyllis Entis. All rights reserved.