19 Apr Empty Gun Rack
After jumping off the roof of a mansion, Little Robbie plummeted towards the ground. He was seemingly short of the distance he would need to make a soft landing in the pool. He rocketed downwards about to meet the concrete patio with his face. Time slowed down as he believed he was about to earn a Darwin award.
Everyone at the pool party below gasped as he floated past another window of the mansion.
Robbie could hear a champagne bottle pop and a near-death-memory flashed before his eyes.
He was eighteen again and he was hooking up with a woman for the first time.
An empty gun rack hung over this woman’s television. She came into the room, half-naked, holding one of her father’s tequila bottles. She knocked it back, sloshing it down her throat. Droplets of it streamed off her chin and she wiped them away. Then she bumped Robbie with the bottle. He was dreamily staring at her father’s gun rack. She scoffed then said, “He doesn’t usually come home from the bar until way after sundown.”
Robbie shook his head and he swigged the tequila. He peeked at the vacant driveway leading up to the front of her trailer home. Outside, the sun sank behind the neighbouring trailers. Darkness crept into the room where Robbie and the woman shared the borrowed booze. With no lights on inside the room, they could only see each other’s silhouettes. A pick-up truck whizzed past her home, down the gravel road. Its headlights lit the room like a spotlight passing over a dark stage. The light quickly exited as soon as it came, leaving the both of them steeped in shadows.
Robbie heard the rustling sound of denim as she peeled off her jean shorts.
He’d met her at a party earlier that night.
Her name was Melissa. Or, Charlotte. Or, Jessica.
He didn’t remember this one’s name.
Another truck crept down the road, crunching gravel under its tires. He squinted at the truck as it turned towards the driveway and he side-eyed the empty gun rack.
She whipped off his belt with one hand and she tipped the bottle into his face with the other. She splashed the burning liquid into him. And she said, “Quit looking at that rack like a scared puppy. He isn’t coming home anytime soon.”
The sun disappeared behind a nearby field of power lines.
A third pickup truck drove by. Its headlights shone into the front window lighting up this whole hook-up scene going down. Then the light left the two of them in the dark with nothing but some beaten-up old furniture, the salty smell of cheap tequila, and the gun rack.
Melissa, if that’s what her name was, she took the tequila bottle from him. She sucked on it like a baby draining a milk bottle.
Warm headlights swept across Robbie and his date for the umpteenth time. Then they thrust them back into the chill darkness.
Robbie could feel the cold shadows tickling his skin where his fly was being undone by Charlotte – if he could correctly remember her name this time.
Sitting in the pitch black, Robbie cleared his throat, his sound thrummed out of the absence of light as if coming out of nothing. His voice cracked, saying, “Can the people driving by, can they see us getting naked?”
She chuckled. “If they want to look in and see what we’re doing, that’s their own fault.” She pressed the bottle into his groin. And she sank close to his face, grinning, “It’s exciting that way.” She rubbed his inner thigh with the bottle. “At least, you’re enjoying it.” She massaged the lump in his boxers.
He nervously shifted as he stared at the deserted road. He asked, “Are you sure he’s not going to be angry if he comes home?”
The woman – whatever her name was – kneeled and her knees made a cracking sound. She peeled back his jeans, mumbling, “You’re killing the mood.”
Headlights filled the room as she knelt in front of him.
The sound of a truck door closing came from outside.
She breathed heavily on his exposed hairy thighs.
A loud boom shook the air like an explosion of thunder.
Robbie accidentally bumped her with his crotch. She clumsily toppled onto the carpet. He made to pick her up but the front door burst open. He scooped up his sagging jeans as he fumbled across the carpet towards the kitchen. He punched out the kitchen window screen with his head as he scrambled out of the window like Winnie the Pooh pushing himself into a rabbit hole. He tipped over the sill into the backyard. And he landed on a tangled garden hose. He felt bruises already swelling up from the impact. Standing up, he shouted, “Sorry.” But it was drowned out by another gunshot. And he ran. And ran. And ran.
When he stopped, he bent over, huffing and puffing, in front of a trailer where he could see a family eating dinner.
They looked over at him all at the same time. They hovered forkfuls of food near their mouths gaping with shocked looks on their faces. That’s when Robbie felt the wind on his loins. His manhood was hanging out of the pee-flap in his boxers and he was coincidentally flashing them.
He covered himself in the cold of the night.
The chill night air rushed past him and he saw that he missed whatever was going on in the second-story window of the mansion he leapt off of to impress Katy Hammond.
She had her head buried in her hands. She wasn’t even watching him fall anymore.
Josh Ackermann escapes his desk job by writing in his free time. One of his short stories, One Helluva Headache, was published in the English Bay Review. He’s currently revising two of his first novels. And he’s is the creator of the Falling For Stories podcast; among many other titles.