Latest Flash

Not My Gun

Sometimes your mind can play tricks on you, right?

Is it your mind, or is it that piece of metal in your hand doing the trickery? 

Not My Gun by Erik Arneson

This is not my gun.
You’re holding it.
I don’t own a gun.
Don’t you?
They -- I’m not allowed. I’d know if I owned a gun.
Would you?
Wha -- of course. This isn't my gun. Where am I?
Look around.
It looks like -- like my Mom’s kitchen. But it feels wrong.
Who’s that on the floor?
I -- I don’t want to look.
You have to.
I do?
Tell me what you see.
Oh -- oh, God.
What do you see?
Jesus, God have mercy. That’s -- that’s Sam. My kid brother. Oh God oh God oh God.
Focus. What else?
Blood. There’s blood everywhere.
Metal. The metal things from a gun.
Bullet casings?
Yeah -- yes.
They have your fingerprints on them.
No, no. No way. Impossible.
And yet, your fingerprints.
You’re lying. That’s a lie.
It will come out in court.
The police will arrest you, a lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-keys district attorney will prosecute you, a cheap-as-they-come lawyer will defend you, a can-we-go-home-yet jury will convict you, and a tough-on-crime judge will sentence you.
But th -- this isn’t my gun.
You watch CSI, Law & Order, all the police shows.
You know how it works. Someone’s going to jail for this.
But -- not my gun.
Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it’s in your hand.
didn't pull the trigger. I didn't kill -- didn't kill Sam. Did not do it.
Does that matter?
Yes! Yes, of course it matters. It’s all that matters.
To you. No one else cares if you did it or not. They already know you did it.
Tha -- that makes no sense. Why am I listening to you?
You don’t want your mother to know you did this.
didn't do this. I didn't -- don’t know what happened, but it wasn't me.
Who’s she going to believe? You, her crazy son standing in her kitchen holding the gun that killed her favorite son, the one she always loved best? Or the police, who investigate the crime, and the district attorney, who prosecutes the offenders?
Mom knows me.
Precisely my point.
No! She -- Mom won’t think that. She knows I wouldn’t hurt Sam.
You’re serious?
Damn it. Damn it! What do I do? I need to do something. Damn it!
You know what to do.
No, no, no. Don’t say it. Do. Not.
There’s only one option.
You can’t make me do that. I won’t. No.
It’s for your mother.
To protect her.
I don’t want to hurt Mom.
Of course not. You’re a good son. That’s why you’ll do the right thing.
This is -- this is the right thing?
Yes. You need to clean up your mess.
Is it -- will it hurt?
Nothing to it. Put the barrel in your mouth, pull the trigger.
I want it to end.
Lift the gun. That’s it, just like that.
Can I pray first?
No time. Put the barrel in your mouth.
God --
I’m --
. . .
. .
Susan Clay unlocked her front door, turned the knob, and stepped inside. She heard a gunshot and screamed and dropped the groceries and ran toward the echoing noise and saw him on the kitchen floor and screamed again and felt the world spinning and spinning.
“No! No, no! David!”
She knelt beside her son.
Held his hand.
When she could breathe again, she dialed the phone. Between sobs, she said, “Sam, it’s your brother. He’s dead. A gun. Oh, God. How did he get a gun?”
They wept.

(Art by Dillon Samuelson)

Erik Arneson can be found at and on Twitter @ErikArneson. He hosts the Title 18: Word Crimes podcast, which can be found on iTunes and Stitcher.