The air was cold and a slight mist was falling. The sudden fall weather seemed premature for early September, but Carly didn’t care because she just wanted to get home and crawl into her soft, warm bed. She wanted to end her week peacefully. It’s 11:20 PM and her windshield wipers are driving her nuts. There doesn’t seem to be enough mist to wipe away. She starts scanning the radio stations for a high-energy song to keep her senses sharp so she can keep her eyes from drooping into a sleepy stupor. Her finger lands on a station, and the song “Promiscuous Girl” starts playing, and she turns the volume up because she loves the song. Carly was surprised to see the limited amount of traffic on the highway but dismissed it and assumed the weather was keeping people indoors; her head was still dancing with the music.
About a half mile down the road, Carly became very uneasy in her buckled seat as she continued driving and then everything began to move in slow motion.
Several yards up the highway was an overpass, and there were four young men acting cautious over the chain link fence, looking for headlights coming in their direction.
“Come on, Bobby … Hurry it up! I see headlights coming this way!” Jason nervously demanded.
“Cool it, man! These military SWAT scopes are delicate. They ain’t like those AK47’s where you just jam in a clip and shoot!” Bobby spoke with an attitude.
He propped the M14 up on his bony crooked shoulder. It seemed to cradle the rifle perfectly, and he peered through the scope.
“The night vision on this thing is excellent. This should be an exact shot!” Bobby said.
Carly, still feeling uneasy, looked up and saw the overpass coming. She squinted her eyes, and she saw some young men hanging out suspiciously.
“There’s the car! You see it? You see it in the scope? It’s coming, man!”
“Jay — shut the hell up! Let me focus!” Demands Bobby.
“You’re gonna miss your chance, man!”
“I ain’t gonna fuckin’ miss! Damn it all, Jay! You want me to use this thing on you?”
Carly is still squinting her eyes trying to figure out what is going on up on that overpass. Then she begins to wonder if one of them is pointing a gun toward her. All she knows is she’s only twelve miles from her soft, cozy bed that she so desperately wants to enter and sleep.
“Dead center!” Bobby says seriously.
Bobby has his finger coiled around the trigger firmly.
Then he callously announces, “Chet! Pete! Car! NOW! The other two friends dash to get the car ready for the getaway.
Carly holds her breath as the front of her car begins to drive under the overpass.
Under his breath, Bobby says his candid words, “Prepare to say goodbye … BITCH!”
Bobby pulls the trigger and a loud P L O P … BOOM … echoes through the desolate street followed by crackling of shattered glass cascading onto the damp pavement.
Carly briefly sees the windshield shattering, her reaction causes her to press down on the gas pedal and swerve to the right as if she was trying to duck and avoid a flying object. Then she feels a large dense object enter her left shoulder. Her car takes flight, catapults. The red metal paperweight twists like a small dust storm. It finally lands on the roof and plays a short round of spin the bottle.
Chet, the driver of the getaway car, heads back to where they were and drives over the highway to see the damage. They all look out the window and see the car on its roof with flames shooting out.
Bobby shouts out the window, “SUCKA!” He begins laughing hysterically.
Bobby turns to Jason and puts his arm around him, giving his shoulder a good squeeze.
“Jay, my man, see what you can do with the right rifle, military attitude, and some concentration. You can do that, pointing at the already past burning wreckage, you can do what I just did!”
Jason smirks at him as they drive back to Bobby’s house. Bobby trips out of Chet’s car and grabs the scope and rifle. When he gets inside, he leans the rifle up against the gun cabinet that his father, Lance, owns and then falls into the couch a couple of feet away. He falls asleep immediately.
Bobby awakes from his two-hour nap. He tries to look at the time but he is too drowsy to see the clock. He realizes that the rifle and scope have to be returned to his father’s gun cabinet. He manages to put the scope and rifle back into their proper sequence: AK47, M14, M16, M21, Machine Guns, and Special Police Rifle. He closes the door and then tries to lock it. He hears a faint click and then walks away to his bedroom.
The next day, Lance sees that the padlock on his gun cabinet is unlocked. The only other person that knows where he keeps the key is Bobby and he is furious with him. He waits for him to come home so he can speak to his son.
Bobby finally comes home with his friends Jason and Chet. Lance hears their boisterous laughter in the other room and then immediately instructs Chet and Jason to leave because he needs to talk to Bobby alone.
“What’s goin’ on, Dad? Why you acting so serious?”
“Son, come over to this gun cabinet. See this lock?”
“Why did you go into this gun cabinet? I told you never to go in here unless there is an emergency!”
Before Bobby could answer his father’s question, the phone rings, and his father answers it. When Lance was done talking on the phone, he marches over to his son and grabs the collar of his shirt and yells, “Robert James Pryor! What the hell did you do last night!!”
“Nothing! Me and the boys just went out and had a good time.”
“You’re a fuckin’ liar! Tell me right now what you did! God help you … son of a bitch!”
Lance pushes him into his chair, awaiting an answer. Bobby sat in silence with his head down starring at a worn spot in the rug.
“What the fuck did you do? Answer me! Son of a bitch! That worn spot on the rug doesn’t have the answers.” He gives him a firm shove in the left shoulder.
“Alright! Me and the boys were just playing around. We thought it would be good target practice to shoot some bullets off the overpass on Mitchell Street. You want me to be a perfect target shooter, don’t you?”
“Target Practice? Did you know that you were playing with someone’s life!”
“What you talking about?”
“What I am talkin’ about is the police are on their way here to arrest you for attempted murder, and fleeing the scene of a crime.”
“How am I supposed to know that?”
“What you were supposed to know … was that you are never supposed to be in that fuckin’ gun cabinet! You little fuckers went out and drove a car without even having a license!”
“How did you find out?”
“That phone call I got before was Chet’s father!”
“Damn it! Chet was right!”
“What was Chet right about? Answer me, Boy!”
Bobby pushes his father to the floor but his father immediately got up and tackled Bobby. Then he put him into a chokehold.
“How stupid are you? You can’t be a solider without intelligence. You’re just a stupid fuck! Just like your mother! Her promiscuity cost me my marriage to her.”
“I am sorry. I didn’t mean it I really didn’t mean it. Please … forgive me. I am sorry.”
Lance gets in his face like an angry solider, commanding, “Begging forgiveness like a baby isn’t going to get you anywhere. Be a MAN! Stop your fuckin’ cryin!”
Bobby continues whimpering. His father’s commands aren’t going to work on him this time. He’s not the prominent solider that his father once was in the Marines.
Police sirens roared as they entered the quiet neighborhood. Bobby tries to break free from his father.
“Please … don’t let them take me. I’m sorry. Dad, tell them I’m sorry. I don’t want to go to jail.”
“Stop your damn whining! For being thirteen, you act like a fuckin’ ten year old. The Marines don’t accept whimpering whiners and stupid fucks like you.” Lance takes the back of his hand and strikes it across Bobby’s face, leaving his left cheek red and with a welt.
Police officers barge into the house to take Bobby away. They roll him onto his stomach and tightly lock the handcuffs onto his wrists. Then, they read him his rights.
“Dad, please … Don’t let them take me …”
Three months have past and Bobby is still sitting in a jail cell awaiting his trial even though he could be out on bail. Lance refuses to pay any money to get Bobby out of jail. He believes that this is the only way his son will learn to be a good solider. Bobby only made one friend in jail, an eighteen year old and ironically his name is Pete. Bobby was explaining his situation to Pete, “Yeah, one of my friends is named Pete and he was the lookout person while my friend Chet was the driver of the getaway car.”
“Dude, your reason for being here doesn’t seem right. Unlike me, well … I killed two cops so I’ll never see the light of day again.”
“Yeah, but how do you feel about it? Is there guilt or sadness? Don’t you care that you just ended two lives?”
“Man, they were out to get my bro … I mean they were gonna take him down for a crime he didn’t commit. I told my bro that I would always have his back, so now he’s free. I’m gonna spend my life here so he can be free. I did it for my bro.”
Later in the evening, Bobby was thinking about what Pete had said. Who did I do this for? I just did it to make my father happy, but he still isn’t happy with me. He won’t even bail me out of jail. I didn’t want to shoot anyone, but I thought my dad would be proud of me. No one is proud of me, not even myself. Why can’t my father accept me for who I am? I don’t even want to go into the Marines. I want to be a lawyer so I can help people like Pete become free so they can live their lives for the right reasons. The only way I can be free is if I stand up for myself and not for anyone else. I can achieve my own happiness without my father’s help.