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"A Bullet to the Head"
Aging fingers are clumsy, it is evident as they struggle to grasp the bullets to be loaded into the chamber. Arthritic and shaky with an intention tremor, the first bullet is grasped from the pile dumped inauspiciously on the dining room table. With timeless precision it is lifted, rotated point first and slid into its place within the .38 revolver. The second will be easier as it is located in the appropriate position on the table free from the pile and easier to grasp. With much concentration, it too, would find its place in the chamber. The right hand holding the revolver shakes as well, though not as bad, as the left. The rhythmic dance of picking up a bullet moving it over the chamber and waiting for the synchronous tremor to align each bullet with its finally resting place continues for bullet three, bullet four, bullet five, and bullet six. Finally, five minutes after it begins, the task of loading the weapon is completed. The loaded weapon in the aged right hand is heavier now that it is loaded and both hands are needed to lift it and place it on the table. A final look is taken about the room, a flood of memories begin dating back over 40 years.
"I believe, yes, I believe", he said, uttering his last words.
Two trembling, shaking hands reach for the gun on the table. The right hand is the first to grasp it, the left follows. To support the weight of the now loaded weapon requires a combination grip. Each hand wraps around the handle interlocking and both index fingers find the trigger. The gun is lifted off the table almost effortlessly and raised to the left temple. Simultaneously the left and right index fingers contract and pull the trigger. The hammer strikes the butt of the bullet in the chamber with a fiery spark that propels the bullet into the barrel. Nanoseconds later the bullet exits the barrel and finds flesh. Piercing the flesh with a ferocious tear, it finds bone. The skull is breached as the blood begins to flow from the wounded flesh. Racing through the 1/4 inch skull the bullet enters the brain, the left temporal lobe. Gone in a flash are the memories of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Continuing through the temporal lobe and into the inner workings of the brain for all intents and purposes, life is over. The bullet makes its way out through the right temporal lobe of a now lifeless body and with a thunderous crack emerges from the right side of the head taking a three inch by two inch square of skull with it as it continues its unrelenting journey before lodging itself in the china cabinet in the other room some 40 feet away.
As brain and blood escaped unimpeded, the body slumps to the kitchen floor, the gun is released as the body dies and it too, falls to the floor finding itself in a puddle of blood. All life has ceased to exist in the household. The phone rings, and rings, and rings. The answering machine picks up.
"I'm sorry, I can't come to the phone right now, please leave your name and a brief message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can", the outgoing message blares into the lifeless house.
The machine beeps and the caller speaks" Hey Brendan, it's me, Brad, just called to wish you a happy 80th birthday, it is today, right?" He continues "anywho, call me when you get this message, I'll be up late, it's now about 8:30, bye" and he hangs up. In another room the mantle clock confirms the time of death and the call by signaling thirty minutes after eight. There would be no return phone call.
Five more messages would be left, all wishing a happy birthday and all requesting a return call that would never be received. The evening is uneventful. Dark becomes dawn and dawn soon becomes daylight. The phone begins ringing again, it is 9:00 a.m.
"Dad, hey it's me, Ashley, sorry I couldn't be there last night but Sara was running fever and you being four hours away, I just couldn't leave, hope you forgive me. Anyhow, no need to call back, Jack took today off to stay with Sara so I can come see you. I'm leaving now, expect to be there about 1 p.m., I'll see you then, love ya"
Ashley hung up her phone, went into the living room to say her goodbyes. "I'm off, now Sara, you rest and Jack, don't let her do too much, ok?"
"We'll be just fine" Jack responded. "We are gonna sit here and watch tv all day and eat ice cream and do nothing"
"Yeah" cried Sara who was the youngest grandchild at age seven. She was also a surprise. Jack and Ashley were not supposed to have children, at least that was what all the doctors had told them and then lo and behold when they had all but given up, Ashley became pregnant at 35.
"Ok you two, not too much fun while momma is gone, save some for me when I get back" She leaned over and kissed them both on the cheek before heading for the front door.
"Bye mom", Sara yelled.
"Bye, see you tomorrow, probably late afternoon, I'll call you when I get to dad's" came the reply. Ashley's plan was to drive to Collins from her home in Tupelo, spend the day and night at her dad's and head back around lunch time.
Ashley exited the house and walked down the sidewalk to her carport. It was a nice day, the sun was shining, it was warm for early March. The temperature felt to be about 70 degrees and there was no humidity. "This is a top down trip" she said out loud as she entered the car port. She clicked on keyless remote to unlock the car and climbed into the drivers seat. She shoved the bag she was carrying into the back seat and prepared to put the top down. She had always liked convertibles, a trait she got from her father. Something about the wind in her hair. She had long red hair, like her father and she bought a convertible as soon as she could afford it. She was sitting in her pride and joy, a Mustang convertible, cherry red. As soon as the top was down, she put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway. She honked the horn as she drove off and she was on her way. Ahead of her lay four hours of mostly interstate driving on what was looking to be a particularly beautiful day.
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