I decided to write a story… this is my first draft of my first one, so please be kind. I would appreciate you guys’ thoughts on it. The story is a moment in the life of a character named John. My working title is “John and Pete”. Creative, I know. Anyways here it is:
“Finally done”, I grunted to myself as I slowly walked out to my worn Datsun pickup in the parking lot.
Working nights is a bitch. I “throw stock” at Safeway from 6pm to 3am every day and occasionally have to do overtime and may not get out till noon. Carrying around cases of dairy goods and filling racks is backbreaking work and there are scant benefits, so I take my pleasures where I can and steal the occasional case of white wine (such as the one currently resting under my hairy left arm). My wife also works nights and when she gets home each morning we drink a couple of bottles on our porch and watch the dawn before we make love, then pass out and do it all over again.
My bum right shoulder is aching again, so I slow down my already leisurely pace and look out into the darkness around me. The early morning is quiet except for the hum of the heating systems of the surrounding industrial buildings and the rattling of an occasional truck delivering goods to the surrounding businesses.
As I pass under a flickering street lamp, I can see a man dressed in black slacks and a light blue collared shirt leaning on the tailgate of my truck smoking a cigarette. Occasionally I see bums passed out around the area, but this man doesn’t appear to be a bum. Curious, I say, “Um… Can I help you?”
When he glances up I realize I recognize his face, but can’t quite place it at first. Slowly, I begin to remember.
Growing up, I attended the same same elementary school from preschool all the way through sixth grade with the same tight-knit group of friends. In the 3rd grade, a youngster named Pete came to our school. Not used to making new friends and adverse to change, I immediately disliked him. He was about my height and a little hefty around the middle with brown hair and a boatload of freckles. Unfortunately for him, he was a rather ugly boy; fat and slow, and had a distinctly unpleasant odor due to living on a dairy farm just outside of our rural town. Over the next three years, till he left to go to another junior high, my friends and I detested him and made his life miserable. As I got older I realized I had been a bully, but at the time it felt like I was fighting for righteousness and justice and against evil. Pete endured it all; constant taunting, thrown sticks, kicks and punches, and thorough humiliation when he tried to join our games.
Now here Pete was, older and bigger, but same freckles and shock of brown hair. He looked like a staff accountant; he had narrow shoulders with a little pot belly that hung over his belted slacks and then tapered down to his narrow calves.
Pete stared out of his glasses at me with a look of mildly aloof disgust.
“Pete… it’s been years. How are you?” I asked. I felt a little guilty about my past mistreatment of him and so tried to be extra polite. Plus, I was a little nervous to find him standing by my truck at this ungodly hour with no one around.
He didn’t respond and we just looked at each other for several long and, at least for me, uncomfortable moments. Pete reached his hand behind his back and into his slacks and brought out a short, black pistol and pointed it at my chest. My whole body froze and my heart dropped to my toes. I couldn’t move. We looked long into each others eyes, like lovers, both understanding what the moment entailed and why it was here.
I stood there in the middle of that big parking lot in the middle of an industrial district fiercely hoping that I wouldn’t die under in this godforsaken human wasteland in the harsh light of the street lamp.
Pete stood in front of me, externally calm, but his eyes were wide and a vein pulsed in his forehead. I felt a burning desire be at home, drinking my wine, with this living nightmare a hazy memory.
After what felt like an eternity of this standoff, but was probably only a few seconds, Pete pulled his arm back and put the pistol to the side of his head and pulled the trigger. Blood, bone and brains rained in a black mist to the side and his body slumped to the pavement uncomfortably.
I looked around and then back down at his body, completely in shock. The whole world felt oddly distant. My manager ran outside and looked at the situation. His first statement was, “YOU’RE the one who has been stealing the wine. You’re fired.” and then followed with his final order to me “Call 911”. I simply looked through him until he went back inside the store.
After the ambulance came and retrieved the body and the police questioned me for several hours, I was finally allowed to take my Datsun home. My wife and I got extremely drunk that evening.