“C’mon man, it’s ok.” Bill said. “This too will pass.”
Johnny held a handgun in his lap. He clicked the safety on. He clicked it off.
“Would you stop that?” Bill said.
“I could just walk out to the back. Few hundred yards into the woods, put this to my head, click. All my problems are over,” Johnny said.
“I understand. I’m not going to tell you to snap out of it. Let’s both walk away from, have a beer, talk about it.”
“See, you think this just started. PTSD or some shit from the war. But that’s not it. I never thought I’d seriously think about killing myself. I just toyed with it. I hated when other people did it. Fuckin’ Robin Williams. Fuck Robin Williams I thought at first. But then I understood.”
“I know, I get it buddy.”
“I don’t need you to fix me. Just listen,” Johnny said.
“I know you struggle with the weight of ….”
You’re not listening. I’m not in pain because of the shit that’s happened this past year. I’m fucked up because of a lifetime of things happening wrong, of seeing a future lifetime of not being able to fix anything. Of failing over and over again. I’m tired. I think it’s too late for me to ever make my life what I wanted it to be, or any semblance of it. It’s just too late friend. It’s not your fault or anyone’s fault. I’m just tired. I want to cry. I want to stop hurting. And I know One Hundred Percent that if I pull this trigger, all that pain goes away for me.”
“But not for us. Not for the ones that love you,” Bill said.
“I know that and believe me , that’s the only reason I haven’t done it before, it’s the only reason I’m not doing it right now in front of you. It won’t matter to me once I pull the trigger. It won’t matter to me that you witnessed it. It does matter right now, but I gotta be honest with you,” Johnny said, “It only matters a tiny small little bit. I’m ready to do this.”
“Can’t you think of any reason not to?” Bill asked. “Your mom? Your family? Me?”
“I tell you what,” Johnny said.
Johnny popped the magazine out of the pistol.
“If I can think of more reasons than there are bullets in this mag, I won’t do it. Deal?”
“No comment? Ok. Here goes”
Bill shook his head. Johnny held the magazine firmly in his hand and sat it on the table like a man out of his mind would set a goblet of poison on a table that he intended to drink.
“Mom,” Johnny said. With his thumb, Johnny pushed a bullet out of the magazine. The pressure of the spring and next bullet made the bullet leap out with a little bit of force. It landed on the table and almost rolled off the edge.
“My wife,” Johnny said as he pushed another out.
“My sister,” he said. Another bullet ejected out onto the table and this one rolled off.
“My kids,” Johnny said. Another bullet popped out onto the table with more life than it should have had.
“That should count as two,” Bill said.
Johnny stared at him.
“You got two kids,” Bill said.
Johnny pushed another bullet out shaking his head as if he’d been caught in a misunderstood lie.
Johnny paused a moment, thinking hard.
“My friend” he said as he held the magazine up and nodded to Bill as if about to drink a drink.
You have many friends”
“There’s only one here” Johnny said.
“The others will come if you, we call them”
“Too late,” Johnny said, “And I think I’m out of reasons”
“Your dad,” Bill said.
Johnny picked up a bullet from the table and put it back in the mag.
“What the fuck Johnny!”
“I got his genes. I got his habits and his problems and his nature to hurt people. That’s a reason to get this whole thing over.”
“Fuck Johnny. C’mon,” Bill said.
Johnny tapped the mag on the table as if genuinely trying to think of another reason.
“I think I’m out of excuses.” He said, holding the mag up to the light. Against the light he could count the holes in the mag.
“Looks like I got 4 left. Sorry.”
“Wait. Wait. Wait. Think of all the shit you’re gonna miss. The original guns and roses are back together. Their album comes out in six months. C’mon. Axel, Slash and Duff! C’mon, that’s gotta be worth something,” Bill said.
Johnny reluctantly pushed another bullet out.
“You said we’d be famous. I quit my job for you to go on tour,” Bill said.
“We lost a lot of money on that tour. They threw bottles at me,” Johnny said.
“At us.” Bill said. “They threw bottles at US. But I still believed in you.”
“Fuck you. That’s worth a bullet. Take one out,” Bill demanded.
Johnny sighed and popped another round out.
“Two” Johnny said. “I can’t think of two more.”
Johnny held the magazine up to Bill as if asking for confirmation.
Fuck it,” Johnny said.
“No.” Bill said. “Give me a moment,” Bill pleaded.
“You remember that time we saw Metallica and afterwards we met one of their roadies and he invited us backstage and we got to go to their hotel and party?” Johnny asked.
“Yeah. I remember. Great fucking night and there’s many more,” Bill said.
“And then after the party we were all hyped up. The best night of our lives…”
“Yes, Johnny, I remember. We can do that…” Bill said.
“But instead of going home, we stayed out. We ended up at that shit bar,” Johnny said.
“It was the only one open.”
“Exactly!” Johnny said as he stood. “We shouldn’t have lingered. We should have called it a night. That’s what I’m doing here old friend. I’m calling it a fucking night. ”
“Listen to me, Johnny.” Bill said. “If you do this, I will fuck your wife. I will tell your kids that you hated them. I’ll show them your freaky porn stash.”
“I know all your passwords and if you do it, I swear to god, I’ll go on your computer and show them all your dirty secrets.”
“Nice try,” Johnny said. “First off, I know you won’t do it. Second. I’ll be dead. Won’t care”
“I will do it.”
“I got two bullets left. I could kill you also.” Johnny said.
“You recycling, repurposing, don’t waste anything piece of shit!” Bill said.
“You’ll hang on to an extra screw and the one use tool that comes with a piece of Ikea furniture because you hate to throw it away,” Bill said.
“But you’ll throw your life away,” Bill said.
“You’re wasting your time,” Johnny said as he loaded the magazine into the pistol.
“What I’m saying fuckface,” Bill said, “If you’re going to kill yourself at least be useful.”
Johnny looked at his friend, waiting.
“I know someone who needs to be killed,” Bill said. “Kill him. Then kill yourself if you want.”
“Who?” Johnny asked
Bill got up and went to the fridge. He opened it and got a two beers out and returned to the table. He placed one in front of Johnny and kept one for himself.
“Your father.” he said as he opened his beer and took a big drink.
Johnny took a deep breath. He sat down.
“Why?” Johnny asked.
“You know why.” his friend said.
“Goddammit,” Johnny said as he smashed his head on the table several times. A trickle of blood crawled down his forehead. After a moment he took the magazine and used it to open his beer.
He took a long draw from the bottle and sat it down on the table.