Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted, one moment
Would you capture it?
Or just let it slip
Eminem Lose Yourself
As soon as the phone rang I knew it was him. It had to be. He had called the last five days. Threatened. Lied. Demanded. And every time I hung up. So, I ignored the call. But he called again. And again. So eventually I just picked up the phone.
“What?” I ask.
“Hello to you, too,”
“What do you want. Who even are you?”
“I think we’ve discussed this before. I can’t tell you,”
“Care to answer it?”
“No thanks, I’ll pass. I have something more serious to tell you,”
“And that would be?”
“I’m at your front door.”
as she opened the door she glared at me.
“what?” i say.
“you’re asking me?”
“i’m going to tell you something, and you’re going to be quiet as i say it. then when i’m done i’ll leave and never bother you again.”
she says nothing.
“so can i come in?”
she opens the door fully and motions at me. so i walk in. it’s a nice house. hardwood floors. fluffy white carpet. homey. unlike anything i’ve ever experienced. i had been in it before, of course, when he had ordered me, too. that’s what life’s like for me. doing what he tells me. but i couldn’t anymore. live that kind of life. so i went to jess’ house to tell her the truth. But, as soon as i walked in i knew something was wrong. and that’s when i felt the bullet go into my leg.
“Hello? Andy’s hardware?”
“Andy I’ve been shot,” Lock says
“419 east street. Please help. Please help me Andy! It was her. She shot me!”
I run up the street and see Lock lying by the door, blood pouring out of his leg.
“Oh my god, oh my god,”
I came unprepared. I dial 911, while getting out, something, anything to cover the wound.
“911 emergency services, what is your emergency?”
“My friend has been shot.”
“Yes, shot. 419 east-”
I couldn’t finish my sentence. She was coming out of her house.
“Excuse me, sir. I didn’t catch the end of your sentence. 419 east, what?”
“Street, east street. And I think I know who did it.”
“We’ll leave the investigating to the police. I’m sending them and an ambulance right now. Stay calm. We’ll do our best.”
Another man circled the mystery man. Everything was so confusing. Why was he lying there, and how is there a bullet in his leg? Then the mystery man’s friend, who I decided to call mr. fix it (it said it on his tool belt), looked at me. He looked at me with such horror and disgust, more than I had ever seen. He thinks I shot him. He thinks I shot him.
The ambulance arrives a few minutes later, and mr. fix it talks in super speed mode to the police about how he left his hardware store because Lock (mystery man’s real name) called him, and how he found him like this, and how he said I shot him.
“Excuse me ma'am, can I have a word with you?” The police officer asks.
“Yeah, sure, of course,”
“Ah- what happened here?”
I pause a second. How do I describe the last month of my life to the police officer without sounding insane?
“This man showed up at my door asking to come in. I let him in, go get some water, and when I come back he’s been shot.”
“I’m going to need to come in.”
“You don’t have a warrant.”
“Do you have anything to hide?”
“You may come in.”
i wake up in a hospital with andy, and three nurses pearing at me.
“what happened?” I ask, bewildered.
“you’ve been shot,”a nurse answered.
I look at andy.
“who shot me?” I asked Andy
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Maya Angelou Still I Rise
I walk to her door and knock.
I knew she was in there. I saw here in the window. Crying. She told me back at the hospital, that she knew that I thought it was her, but it wasn’t. I told her that she was lying. I asked her, who else could it be? Your couch? Your chair? She ran away. Back to her house. And now here I am. At her door. At her house. Crying. Guiltily? Honestly? Who else could have done it? She was alone (that I know of) in the house. I needed to talk to here. But she wouldn’t open the door.
“Please!” I yelled.
But I got no response.
It reminds me of years ago. All blaming me. And it was my fault then. Sort of. Just like now. It was only sort of my fault. But still, my fault.
When I was little a man broke into my house. He had a gun. My mom threatened to call the police. He held up his gun.
“Just don’t look in the closet,” she said. I had always wondered what was in there, but my parents always said not to open it. Ignoring her he opened the closet. So she ran, my mom, forgetting my existence, and running to her car like a mad man. She raced out in her car and got into a fatal car crash. It was the worst day of my life. I still don’t know what was in that closet, but that’s beside the point. The point is I think I might have just broken the worst day of my life record. And that’s sure a hard record to break.
And then, she called me. The nerve of her? After she left me as a twelve year old, my dad dead, a man with a gun in the house, all alone. After I saw her crash from the window I ran out of the house. But it was too late. So I sat on the doorstep, and cried. And cried. And cried. Until there were no tears left, and all I had was myself. No parent. No life. Nothing.
When I reached 17, I left. I got a car (from the money that my mom had left for me) and left Portland and moved to Hillsboro. To escape what had happened. I thought I was safe. From death. But it came up again. Because you can’t escape from death. As hard as you try it will find you. And when it does, and you have no one with you. To help you. You might as well be dead.
There are enigmas in darkness
There are mysteries
Sent out without searchlights
From Gabriel by Edward Hirsch
as i fully wake up, i was in the hospital.
“he’s awake,” i heard a nurse yell.
“hey,” it was jess. why was the women who shot me, coming back to see if I was okay?
“what, going to see if your attempted murder killed me?” i said coldly.
“i came to say it wasn’t me.”
i laughed out loud. It was hilarious.
“i’m sorry, but you’re quite funny,” i commented.
she sighed. “i knew you wouldn’t,”
“what do you think? i went into your seemingly empty apartment, and get shot. i sure didn’t shoot myself, nor do I think your furniture can hold guns, so i have to assume it was you,”
“if you could just believe-”
“believe you? why? because you came crying to me? because you tell me to? i know you. i know your past. i know your present. i know your future! you’re not ms. perfect. and frankly, i’m pretty darn sure it was you.”
I get a call from the hospital telling me he woke up. I rush over to the hospital only to find Jess right there to.
“Are you serious?” I ask her.
“What?” She questions back.
“Why are you here?”
“I could ask the same question to you.”
“I’m his friend, you're his attempted murderer. Big difference.”
“Didn’t do it.”
“I didn’t shoot him.”
I laugh, for the second time.
“Oh really, explain this,” I say.
“I didn’t shoot him. It wasn’t me!”
“Why are you telling this to me? Tell it to the police.”
“Because the police would never believe me.”
I laughed again. I just can’t stop laughing today. Jess can sure be funny, even if she doesn’t mean it.
“And we would?”
“Well, I thought I would try.”
“Then try. Explain to me, in detail, why you didn’t shoot him, and who did.”
“I walked back into my apartment, to get a drink of water. When I come back, I see him in the hospital bed, shot.”
I decided to pretend to at least try to believe her.
“Okay, got any idea who did shoot Lock?”
“I can’t say. It would put my life in jeopardy.”
“And it’s not already? You could go to jail for your life, or get the death sentence for this,”
She sighs, as if calculating whether to tell us.
She grabs the notepad placed by the hospital bed.
“Put that back!” Lock yells.
She looks at it anyway. I glance at it.
Anyone else from The Legion
Jess turns away, shocked.
“You know him!” She screams.
Lock looks perplexed.
“You mean Mr. E?” Lock asks. “How would you-”
“That’s who basically killed my mom.” Jess says.
“And that’s who wanted me to deteriorate and eventually kill you.”
He must have found me again. I thought I had been safe, all these years, but for all that time he had just been waiting to-. Oh my god, I think. I know it. He was behind the door so all he saw was the gun, but Mr. E would’ve had a clear view. That bullet hit his leg. I was right there, running back at Lock, when I saw a figure. Nobody shoots a leg.
He wasn’t trying to kill Lock.
He was aiming for me.
I may not go down in history
I just want someone to remember me
Not perfect, heroic, or full of glory
I just want to be able to share my story.
Kristin Nicol Roth-Davis, “Close Call”
why am i caught up in this? why me? i know the answer, though. i was poor. and hungry. and my life was reck. still is. but i thought he would help. he drew me in. and then made my life even more hellish. and now i’m in a hospital bed, shot, caught up in a scandal, with somebody who wanted me to kill someone, and now probably wants to kill me. he probably wishes he had shot my chest not my leg, now. that day when i went to her door, i was supposed to kill her. but i decided to try to help her. and now i’m here. i wish there was a way to escape. someone who could get me out. but welcome to my world, there is no ambulance, no help button, and even if there was, in my world, no one would come. because no one cares. even my name screams villain. and maybe i am.
I sigh. This was like the busiest week I had ever had. Not, like, in my store. In my life. Shots fired. People hospitalized. Mysteries uncovered. And now Jess and Lock. know about this evil guy, and I have no clue who he is. It’s like I’m stuck on this roller coaster, with a mystery behind every turn, and there’s no escape. I want to be there for my best, and only, friend Lock, but this is all so baffling. I’m trying. But maybe not hard enough.
I hate my name. I’ ve always kind of hated my name. Yes, my actual name is Mr. E. First name Mr. last name E. Everyone thinks I’m joking when I say it. But I’m not. I was picked on as a kid. I was picked on as an adult. All my life, people controlled me. But finally, I’m in control. I don’t even know who my parents are. By the time I was born, my father left me. By three, my mom left me. I’m like a walking grenade. And now, I’m about to explode again.
“Lock!” I say into the phone.
“How’d you get my phone number?”
“Your the idiot who called me a billion times, with caller id.”
“Oh yeah, what’s up?”
“I need to contact Mr. E,” I said.
“I need to contact him.”
“I can’t tell you,’
“Are you serious? After all you’ve been through, all I’ve been through.”
The line went dead.
I will find him.
Whatever it takes, I will find him.
I will hunt him down, and murder him.
If it’s the last thing I do.
If I have to die trying.
I will get him.
I know he’s probably watching me right now laughing.
But once I get him, I’ll be the one laughing.
As the blood pours out of him.
As every bit of life drains out of him.
He did this to me!
He made my life a living hell!
He murdered my family!
He turned me into an orphan.
He staged me for a murder, while trying to kill me!
And I have no idea why.
“hello?” i say into my phone.
“lock. lock. lock. what a betrayer. you know, there are punishments to betrayers. grievous punishments. but then again, you of all people know.”
“how could i forget. you forced me to murder. to become evil,”
“lock, how can you not understand, you were already evil. i just eased it along. any non evil person wouldn’t have done what you did. regardless of me ‘guiding’ you.”
“you mean putting a gun to my head? that’s a guide?”
“well, depends on how you put it. but let me get to the point. you are done. it’s over lock. either you join me, we get rid of her, or your done. she thinks i was aiming for her. HA. i don’t miss, lock. i don’t miss.”
“you shot me on purpose?”
“a perfect shot. bullseye.”
the line goes dead, but i get another call a few minutes later.
“24 hours or you’ll have a bullet in your head. trust me, lock. i don’t miss. bullseye.”
June 6, 2014
From: Mr. E Legion Corporate
To: Don Meddling CEO
We have a bit of a Lock problem. He seems to think that he can betray us. You know what happens to betrayers. Well, no one knows. They disappear. Anyways, he’ll get injured. A “threat” you could say. And then he’ll come back. But once he comes back an example will be set of him. And he’ll be disposed of in a public manner. Teach him, and all the Legion members, an important lesson. I’ll relay to you the results of Subject 2 soon.