As the pistol spun and wobbled on the oak table, Jay remembered playing spin the bottle in the basement of his grandparents’ house. They had used a glass milk bottle and it clanged loudly on the concrete floor. It was cold and musty down there, but he remembered his palms were sweaty. The girls were Dawn and Amber. He was the only the boy. Eventually, he knew, he would kiss both of them, and he would get to see them kiss each other. It was safe, because none of it was his idea, but he had to hide the tremble of his hands. Then his grandmother ruined everything. She heard the odd sound in the basement and intervened before any kissing occurred. He wished his grandmother were alive to intervene now.
The pistol scraped to a stop, pointed directly toward the television.
Jay picked up the pistol, pulled the hammer back and fired a shot into the center of the TV. The discharge was much louder than he had expected. Amanda shrieked. The sound echoed in the room and a wisp of smoke scratched at his nostrils.
He sat the gun on the table and gave it another spin. The pistol was an old .38 revolver that had belonged to his grandfather. Jay was surprised it actually fired.
Amanda said, “Please stop this.”
She sat to his left at the square table. Her mascara was smeared and streaked on her cheeks. She was still naked. The lover sat directly across from her and was still naked as well. The lover stared into his lap. His shoulders shook with either fear or sadness. Jay hoped it was both.
How quickly things had changed for them, Jay thought. One moment, Amanda was enjoying a tongue between her legs, her back arched, her head thrown back in ecstasy on their couch, the next moment, the door opened, and her fiancé walked in earlier than expected. Why were they surprised? Didn’t they pay attention to the weather? It had rained for over an hour straight. You don’t play baseball in the rain. Jay was still baffled by the look of surprise on the lover’s face when he jolted away from Amanda’s thighs.
The gun rattled to a stop, pointed at a framed portrait of the two of them. A candid snap of them with a lighthouse in the background. Jay picked up the pistol and fired a round into Amanda’s image. The glass shattered and fell to the floor. The frame rocked on the wall for a moment before it fell as well. Amanda started to sob.
Jay said, “Now that’s irony, right? Or is it just coincidence?” He poked the muzzle of the gun into the lover’s bare shoulder. The skin sizzled. The lover flinched and clasped his palm over the burnt flesh.
Jay sat the pistol on the table and spun it again. He hated his impulses. He often found himself in situations he couldn’t reverse. Situations like this one. He wanted to hurt them both, but not physically. He loved Amanda. He really did. He didn’t want to kill her. He didn’t want to kill anyone. He slowly became aware that if the pistol stopped on either of them, he would probably shoot the lucky winner before he had a chance to reason with himself. He also knew that if he shot one of them, he would have to shoot the other, and then himself. He wasn’t going to jail. He was certain of that.
Jay watched the gun spin and wobble. He listened to Amanda’s sobs; he watched her breasts heave with each erratic breath. He reached out and put his hand over the gun, waited, then stopped it mid spin. Amanda shrieked. Jay knew immediately what he should do.
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