Choice of Weapons

Natalie pushed open the front door open and shoved two brown paper grocery bags through the gap. She stepped into her living room and shook the rain off her curly brown hair. Then she stood still, and listened. She looked through the living room to the kitchen from where she could hear running water. Then she noticed the gun on the glass coffee table. It was a large old-fashioned machine gun, like one out of a gangster movie.

“Hi,” said a man’s voice from the kitchen. “Don’t bother running, you know I’d be too quick for you.” There was a sudden blast of water and then silence. “Sorry about your dog, but you said it was diabetes, so I did the kindest thing.”

Goosebumps appeared on Natalie’s arms and she shivered, yet she removed her raincoat and began unbuttoning her dress. Her nose wrinkled as the smell of acid drifted through the room. She dropped her dress to the floor and stood listening in her bra and pants. There was rustling and shuffling in the kitchen, things being stuffed into bags.

“You still there? You could go for the gun, but it’s a museum piece, it doesn’t work.”

She slipped out of her bra and pants and stood naked in her living room. “Come in,” she said, “let’s talk.” She sat on the green and white sofa, one leg crossed over the other, her skin lighter where she had worn a bikini.

He walked in and his gaze bounced off her and onto the carpet. He couldn’t look at her. He wore the ragged black pelt of her dog as a trophy around his shoulders, legs over the front, head dangling at the back. The smell of acid became stronger.

“You only had to call. I would have cancelled my regulars to see you.”

The man stroked the dog pelt. He wore a t-shirt stained with rusty red, large black boots and blue denim jeans. His head was shaved, his face rough with stubble.

Natalie got up and walked over to him, arms by her side. His eyes left the floor and looked at the wall. He flinched as she approached. “Look at me, William. A man should be able to look at a woman.”

“No!” he shouted and he grabbed the gun off the table and pointed it at her.

“That’s not what I want to see, a defective gun. Where’s your gun, William? Where’s the part of you that is a man?”

She stepped past him into the kitchen. The floor was awash, an acid cloud hanging from the ceiling, parts of the carcass in black bin bags. She opened the cupboard where she kept Orion’s food and medicine. She felt William’s eyes on her back. “Look at these long legs, these high buttocks. Put out your hand and touch me.”

She taped two full syringes together and hid them in her hand. There was a prod of cold metal in her back.

“No, William, I want your gun, not this substitute.”

She left the kitchen, hands held up to her chest, and waited for him in the bedroom. There was a clunk of metal on wood as he put the gun down on the kitchen table. She sat on the bed, legs crossed, pillow across her chest. He stood in the doorway looking into her eyes.

“That’s better. You’re making progress. Come and sit next to me.”

He approached and his boots left dirty prints on the carpet. He sat down next to her and she smelt the acid and the blood and piss on the dog pelt.

“Take it off, William. Take off your clothes, and be with me.”

He hesitated then raised the pelt above his head. As his arms rose, and his head was momentarily covered, she placed the syringes in his thigh, needles penetrating denim, skin and muscle.

He shrieked and grabbed at her, but she fled the bedroom and locked the door. The wood splintered seconds later but the door stuck in the frame. His attack on the door repeated for a minute, then he slowed down, and she heard a thump on the floor and him whining for help like a sick animal.

© Mark Carew 2013


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