A Shooting

He hitched his pants. They were too big and baggy on his lean frame. Then he rubbed his hands on his knees. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to clean his hands or wipe off the flakes of dried blood from his pants. He moved slowly, like he was in a trance. All the crazy energy he had when I drove up was gone.

I slept in, he said. I told Wayne we’d go out first thing, but I slept in. I almost never sleep in. But I was tired. And ‘first thing’ can mean anything, can’t it? I never told him to wait on me, but that was assumed. Why would I promise him hunting if we weren’t going to do it together? Why would he go out on his own?

He paused long enough to fire up a cigarette. The lights in the shed were dull, 40 watt bulbs, and they cast gruesome shadows. I didn’t want to be in here, but Kincaid didn’t seem to notice. He was in his own world of remembrance. He inhaled deeply, and that calmed him down some.

I was lying in bed, still waking up, when I heard the shot. It’s not an unusual sound, not around here, not this time of year, but I knew. Even then I knew. Just the one shot. It just went on and on. One shot, and it echoed like it was the only sound in the world, the only sound that’s ever been.

He shook his head slowly. Maybe he was still hearing that shot. Maybe he always would.

I knew, he said. Some gut feeling told me something was wrong. I never even let him handle a gun without me standing beside him. I told him a thousand times it wasn’t a toy. But Wayne… well, sometimes he forgets things. It’s not his fault. He forgets.

Kincaid crushed out his smoke under his shoe. I noticed a gas canister a couple of feet away, under his work bench. Yes, sometimes a man forgets.


Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome. Available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P46ZPA0

Free downloadable Kindle app also available.

Published by

Steven Baird

Writer, amateur photographer, ad compositor and chicken herder.

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