-Gunman-


It's an amazingly hot day, I notice as I cross a busy street. Stopping to buy a cold bottle of iced tea from a street vendor, I set the case I have been holding on the ground beside my foot. I pause for a moment to look around, to clear my head. Yes, today is a hot day, undeniably. Continuing on my voyage I pick up the case, it feels heavier today for some reason, although I have packed the same thing every day for 3 weekends straight.

I finally reach my destination, an old archaic looking building, not too tall, but it will allow me to get a decent vantage point I decide. I pause to wipe the sweat from my face before pushing open the door to the building. Inside it smells of old wood and dust. The sun streams in through stained glass windows like a bright fire burning with only one purpose. I take a minute to admire the setting. It's perfect.

It wasn't always like this, you know. I had a real job, one that made me quite comfortable with life. It wasn't easy, but I worked hard to get where I was. Only recently had I realized that it wasn't what I wanted. And so I found myself sitting at home, countless days gone by, I try to find a job that suits me. But there are none. I'm not right for anything. Except this. Oh god, please help me.

I finish my iced tea and throw the glass bottle up high in the air, watching it spin and twirl uncontrollably. It passes through the rays of sun and creates a sort of hypnotic light show, before crashing to the ground with a dull popping sound. I pick up my case and proceed to the stairway. Pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow I notice one of my shoelaces untied, deciding to tie it back up, I thought, would be advisable as I had quite a climb ahead of me. I walk up the stairs with a determined pace, not letting up, I am robotic in this aspect, I have places to be.

I finally emerge from the stairwell and push a door reading "building personnel only" open with my free hand. The moment I step out of the building on to the roof I feel the heat again. It plagues me. I had always been partial to winter, or even better autumn. I slowly make my way to the edge of the building, looking around I take time to breathe and take it all in. The streets below are still busy with people attending to their daily business, all set amongst a beautiful mountain backdrop only a few miles away. There isn't a cloud in the sky today. Which is a shame, I often spend several hours just looking at them, admiring their ever-changing ways and looking for formations that look like everyday objects. But not today, only blue and a sun which is beginning to annoy me.

I wipe my face again using the sleeve of my shirt and crouch down to the case lying beside me. I run my hand over the hard black, molded plastic, admiring the way it feels. I reach for the two latches on the front and flip them both open. I lift the lid of the case open looking down I see my friend, oh what a relationship we have had as of late, it's the kind of friendship everyone strives to have. I smile as I pick part of her up; studying it for the millionth time and still feeling the same love I have known for some time. I put everything together as it should be, twisting various knobs and tightening screws. I lay down on my stomach now peering over the edge of the building I bring the scope to my eyes, zooming in and looking at people as they go about their business. Wishing I could have the simple life that each one of them has. They have no idea who I am, and if they did, they would much rather try to forget. I am not all right, you know. I'm sick, they aren't.

As I move back and forth across the street I acquire what looks to be a good start. An elderly woman standing in a glass shelter waiting for a bus. She is reading a newspaper; she is looking at coupons for groceries. Wow, look at that 50% off toilet bowl cleaner. I pull the trigger and milliseconds later watch the glass shatter and the elderly woman tumble over onto the ground. I scan the horizon and see that no one has noticed her as of yet. Maybe no one cares. I pull back on the bolt, reloading another bullet into the chamber. Search the sea of people and moments later find a young businessman, talking on a cell phone. I try to read his lips, but he keeps rotating around and looking up at the sky, all the while talking away. I place the cross hair slightly above the front of his neck. Did you know some companies allow you to call anywhere in the US or Canada for only 10 cents a minute. I gently squeeze the trigger and watch as the man falls to his knees, dropping the phone; he reaches up to his neck to feel his warm blood spraying out like a macabre fountain of sorts. Moments later he falls flat on his face. There are several people gathered around him now, checking for signs of life, which have left the man forever.

It's not as though I don't know that I'm sick, but it's almost like a craving, I have to feed it. I want to stop myself but I let it carry on for so long. You know, it's strange how you can feel you know someone pretty well after, especially after 27 years of being with this person. In reality however, we know less about ourselves and what we are capable of them we care to admit.

I abandon the morbid scene as I focus in on another person a block away. He is sitting at a bench enjoying lunch; a small child is next to him playing in the grass. I watch as he pulls the child up by the shirt and slaps him across the top of the head. Anger is drawn across his youthful face; the child begins to cry, which only further infuriates the man as he slaps the face of the child. He takes a sip of his milk. Milk is enriched with calcium, which is essential to healthy bone development you know. I pull the trigger. The man immediately drops to the ground in an awkward pose; his arm is bizarrely stretched behind his back.

I notice now that the heat has become even more intense as I feel the sweat streaming down my face and into my mouth. I reload and place the scope in front of me once again. I notice the whole scene has finally changed, people are frantically looking for cover, police officers are creating roadblocks and questioning people, ambulances are taking away the deceased. It's chaotic to them, but peaceful to me.

At this time I decide to get up and change positions. I walk to the north side of the building and position myself like I had been before, laying down, peeking over the side. I take a look around, its calm, almost like an entirely new world, they are completely oblivious to what has happened.

I take the first person I can find. A teenage girl, on her way home from school perhaps as her backpack is slung over both shoulders and she has several books in hand. I follow along with her movements for quite some time before she finally stops and waits for an intersection to clear up so she can cross the street. Now is my chance. I calmly place the cross hair over her beautiful face. Finger on the trigger, I close my eyes and gently squeeze. Thunder fills the air and the rifle kicks back against my chest, beads of sweat roll down my cheek as I hear the empty shell tumble across the cement roof. I open my eyes to see the girl crouching, picking up dropped books; she looks around and notices the bullet hole in the wall behind her. She gets up and starts running off in the opposite direction. I furiously reload and take aim. I have never missed a shot in the 3 times I had partaken in this activity, not once. I stop and roll over onto my back. It's only fair.

Looking up at the sky, I notice a single white cloud amongst the backdrop of blue. I stare at the cloud with amazement and respect for some time before coming to the conclusion that it is shaped like a giant dolphin; swimming through the bluest, cleanest ocean I have ever seen. Up there it doesn't have to worry, there isn't a reason to be troubled when you are the only one in the ocean. And there isn't any reason to be upset. And you never have to come up for air, so there are no interruptions. I decide to myself, I've always wanted to swim with dolphins, to be part of that great ocean in the sky, that's what I want. Yeah, I know I'm not well. I have reasons for being. We all do.

I reach behind my head for the rifle and clutch it against my chest. I hear sirens approaching from afar. I place barrel of the gun in my open mouth and let the rest of it rest on top of my body. I glance at the giant blue sky one more time. Before I reach with my right arm all the way down to the trigger. I feel my finger wrap around the warm steel and I squeeze.

I'm swimming with the dolphins up in the endless blue sky. It's a thing of beauty.

Written and owned by Dan Chubaty 2001