door at the very moment my legs decided to give out. Who knew a hard-ass
concrete bench could be so comforting? I ran my hands through my hair and
rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the concrete slab below me. An ant
slowly walked up to my foot and stopped. I wondered what it was like to be an
ant. Did they have friends and families? Did they accidentally hurt each other?
Did they feel guilt? I’d fought like hell my whole life to keep my feelings in
check and never let people see them, but the last two days were testing that
more than any other time in my life. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep
did in my house growing up, but at that moment I felt the overwhelming urge to
talk out loud to . . . someone.
alone, I took a deep breath and puffed my cheeks out, exhaling slowly.
a second, quickly deciding I probably looked like a moron and that whoever I was
going to talk to would probably hear me no matter where I was looking.
is Lawrence Finkle, but you probably know me as Viper. Anyway—” I cleared my
throat, suddenly feeling very stupid that I was talking to myself, but so
desperate I was willing to do anything. “—we’ve never had what I would call an
active relationship, but right now I’m feeling pretty alone down here. I’ve
fucked up a lot in my life, as you probably know, but I’ve always been able to
talk myself out of any trouble I got into. Well, I’ve finally done something I
can’t fix. It was an accident, but I still can’t fix it, and I could really use
it at the moment. I don’t really know how this works, but I’m willing to
bargain. I’ll do anything—go to church, donate time and money, stop fucking
strangers. I mean it, anything . . . just please . . . save
my best friend. He’s a good man with a wife and kids who need him. If you need
to take someone, take me. No one gives a shit whether I’m here or not.” My eyes
started to feel hot and sting as I took another shaky breath.
I stood and turned as a camera flashed in my eyes. Squinting and holding my
hand up, I tried to block out another flash. “What the fuck?” I growled.
Sanders with the Star Tribune here in
Minneapolis.” He held his hand out for me to shake. I glared down at it and
then back up at him without saying a word. He quickly pulled his hand back and
continued, “We heard about what happened yesterday and we were just wondering
if we could ask you a few questions. Like, maybe what exactly happened? What’s
his current condition? Anything you’re willing to give us.” He held a
microphone in my face as the cameraman lifted a different camera onto his
shoulder to film me.
bullet shoots out of a gun.
give you?” I asked coldly. “Well, I’m going to give you ten seconds to get that
motherfucking camera out of my face before I shove that mic up your ass.”
stammered. “We won’t keep you for long. We just want a quick statement.”
steps and grabbed the camera from the guy behind him, lifted it above my head,
and smashed it on the concrete. They both jumped back, their mouths hanging
open as they stared at the ground.
shattered camera as I walked away. “There’s your fucking statement.”
Buy It Here:
Beth Ehemann lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and four children. When she’s not sitting in front of her computer writing, or on Pinterest, she loves reading, photography, martinis and all things Chicago Cubs. She’s represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.