Another Bad Day
Sequel to "Bad Day"
Christopher Joseph Brent didn’t like having a gun in his mouth. Not just because of the metallic, oily flavor, but also because it just didn’t fit right. It was literally putting a square peg in a round hole; if he had a box-shaped mouth like some cartoon character maybe it would work, but he didn’t, and the roof of his mouth was hurting from the edges.
Also his heart was racing at an abnormal rate that was making beads of sweat cluster around the back of his neck and between his fingers. He wasn’t that nervous; well perhaps a little, but he wasn’t worried about the gun going off, he was more concerned that it wouldn’t, that his assailant would get cold feet and deny him the bullet he had been dreaming of for months. The thug had already taken his wallet and car keys earlier before apparently knocking him out and dragging him to this basement, what for Christopher wasn’t sure. Maybe he wanted to impress the two men standing in the back, arms crossed and caps pulled low, their shadows made more imposing by the flickering light bulb. Christopher wondered if there was someone in each gang designated to mess with the light bulbs so that they would stutter with the right dramatic effect. And he also wondered why the thug was so fucking close to his face, his mouth way too close and his nostrils flaring too wide.
“What do you have to say, huh?” What do you have to say?” he screamed.
Christopher raised his eyebrows and glanced downwards at the gun still in his mouth to indicate that he couldn’t really say anything.
“Oh you’ll get a chance to say something in a minute,” the man snapped. “The last thing you’ll ever say, so think it through. Think carefully. Who do you want to say goodbye to, eh? Your old man?”
He shook his head.
“Your mama’s gonna miss you,” the man taunted.
Christopher hesitated. He knew she would be devastated, but at the same time she, of all people, would understand. She might even be happy for me, knowing he finally got his heart’s desire. He shrugged in response.
“How about your little lady? Say goodbye to your darlin-”
He shook his head before the sentence even finished coming out of the man’s mouth.
“Well you are one unlucky bastard!” he jeered. He yanked the gun out and held it to Christopher’s forehead. “Maybe you want to beg for mercy. I’ll give you a chance, if you give me one good reason not to shoot you, I might change my mind. Just one.”
Christopher stretched his sore jaw and loosened his tongue, running it over his aching teeth. His mouth felt horrible and he wanted to go home and rinse it out with mouthwash.
“Say your last words!” the man bellowed.
“You can pull the trigger now,” he replied.
“You can pull the trigger now.”
The man turned to his two companion behind him. “The fuck did he say?”
“He said, ‘you can pull the trigger now,” barked the second man, coming forward and slapping the first on the head. “Jesus, Lucas, are you fucking deaf?” Turning to Christopher the second man continued, “You think you’re some little punk huh., you think you’re some tough James Bond guy? Wait until we take you at your word. Your mama would love to see you again with a bullet in your skull, wouldn’t she?”
“Well no, she wouldn’t, but I would,” Christopher clarified.
“The fuck is your game man? Cuz I ain’t playing it.” The second man grabbed the gun from the first and stuffed it back in Christopher’s mouth. “On the count of three you’re going to have your dream come true then. Three, two, one--” he stopped. “Shit. He’s not flinching. He actually means it.” He tossed the gun aside and squatted down beside him. “How did life fuck you over that bad?”
“Are you shitting me, Fonzie? Are we in fucking therapy now?” exclaimed Lucas. “Can I just shoot him and get this over with?”
“No, you can’t. It won’t count because he wants to die.”
“Because that’s not murder! It doesn’t count!”
“How so?” Lucas challenged. “Murder is just killing someone.”
“No, no, murder is taking someone else’s life,” Fonzie corrected him. “But if they just hand it you then you aren’t the one doing the taking anymore, so it’s not murder. It’s like you can’t call it rape if the girl agrees to have sex with you.”
“Yeah you could! Like consenual rape!”
“That doesn’t make sense! You can’t use the word ‘consent’ and ‘rape’ together.”
“Yeah you can!” Lucas folded his arms. “I’m not stupid, okay. The word just means forcibly, I can agree to let you force me.”
“Can you even fucking hear yourself?” Fonzie shouted. “If someone is forcing you it means you don’t agree how the fuck do you force someone who already agrees with you? That’s like arguing after the person already says you’re right.”
“You do that all the time,” Lucas retorted.
“I do not!”
“You two fucking retarded assholes,” sighed the third man as he came forward and shoved the other two aside. “No wonder he wants to die, I do now too after listening to you.” He turned to Christopher. “What I want to know is this: if you don’t give a bee’s dick on whether you live or die, why haven’t you popped yourself off long ago? Why the hell are you still around?”
“Yeah are you too chicken to do it yourself?” Lucas chimed in.
“No.” Christopher looked away. “It’s…because I made a promise.”
“Do go on,” the third man prodded. “Keep talking and we just might kill you.”
Christopher kept his eyes lowered, grinding his foot over a loose chip of concrete. His shoulders tightened and he furrowed his brow, his fingers toying with his shirt collar.
“Speak now!” the man spat.
He bit his lower lip and sighed. “I could do it myself but I don’t want to. It’s stupid, you die in shame and everyone thinks of you as a dick. I promised myself to never put my family and friends through that. But if it happens by chance or someone else well then I’d welcome it.” He looked up at them. “Believe me, the past two years my death has been the only thought keeping me alive.”
“Nice story. Can I kill him now?” asked Lucas. “I want to get my murder done with! You said just one, here he is, gimme the gun, Fonzie!”
“No, Fonzie was right,” said the man. “It won’t count. You gotta find someone else.” He grabbed Christopher by the elbow and jerked him to his feet. “We have to take him out the back.”
“This stinks,” Lucas grumbled as he slumped behind them. “Now I gotta go get someone else and the day’s almost over! I just wanted to get this off my to-do list, and I had to pick up a dickhead like you. Talk about a waste of time.” He kicked the back of Christopher’s leg. “I hope your life sucks!”
“More than it already does?” Christopher muttered as he stumbled up the stairs, his toes stubbing against the chipped landings. When they reached the top of the three flights of stair the man shoved him against the back of the metal door, the rusted hinges scraping into his spine.
“Well here we are. End of the line Mister. It was nice knowing you,” he grinned. His fingers closed around the door handle and he cranked it down, swinging the door open wide and pushing Christopher out.
The abrupt change in lighting made Christopher stagger, his hands falling over his eyes to shield them from the brightness. He bent over, coughing out the remnants of the musty basement he’d been in. He wasn’t sure how many hours he had been unconscious for before he had awaken to the sound of a gun in his mouth, but it was long enough for some of that toxic mold to get into his lungs. He arched his back and stretched his legs, moving his knees up and down. Wrinkling his nose he shifted his chin back and forth. His gums were still a little sore, and his head still ached on the left side where he had been knocked out. He winced and took a deep breath.
Standing in the door frame the man watched as Christopher lifted his head to the sky, taking in a fresh gulp of air. The man reached into his pocket, pulled out a pistol, and shot him in the back. “Now it’s murder,” he stated. The three men turned back down the staircase, the metal door slamming behind them.
Christopher wasn’t sure if he had just imagined the gunshot or if he had really heard it. His back was prickling and he reached back, his hand coming away covered in blood. Well look at that. He wanted to smile but his head was starting to spin too fast and his legs weren’t being supportive.
When his head hit the street it seemed to clear for a minute, and he could hear the sounds around him. Door opening, footsteps, shouting, running, coming. He blinked once to acknowledge the fuzzy outline of the couple bending over him. He wanted to close his eyes and savor the moment but they kept slapping him and yelling for me to “wake up.”
“Hang on, the ambulance is on it’s way,” they said. “You’ll be alright, you’re gonna make it!”
Christopher wished he had enough life in him to tell them that he didn’t want to make it. He really didn’t want to make it.