The Shotgun

By Elizabeth Board

He pushed himself out onto the porch as the screen door slammed behind him. He walked down the front steps, down to where the truck sat with the keys still hanging from the ignition and the motor making a soft hum. He pulled himself up into the rusty red pickup tossing the double barrel shotgun into the passenger's seat. The truck lacked doors as most would have noticed. He didn't because he had grown up with it this way and had even learned how to drive in it when he was younger. He took his ride out of neutral and backed down the gravel road turning himself around in an unplanted field and then heading towards town.

He contemplated as he drove and was almost tempted to turn around and go back, but he didn't. He wasn't feeling a twinge of remorse. He kept driving, and he passed his own home town. He drove through its only main street and then out into miles and miles of country. The cornfields and cows passing quickly on all sides were his only scenery. That night he slept in his truck with the gun as his pillow and the crickets making soft chirping sounds in the underbrush. At day break he drove more; stopping at a town without a name for a breakfast soaked in grease. The kindly old waitress in her paisley dress, overflowing with one too many of these such breakfasts, asked where he was from. He replied that it didn't matter because he wasn't going back. He drove more that day, and when night set in he managed enough cash for a motel room by the highway. He kept the gun with him lying on the other side of the bed, making a soft dimple in the questionable cleanliness of the comforter.

Another few hours of driving, from before dawn to mid-afternoon, and he came to an expanse of pavement with overwhelming towers of glass and concrete. He left the gun under the front seat, as he got out of his truck. He pocketed the keys, the "Now Hiring" sign in the front of the 7-11 gleaming in his eyes. He walked to the door, and a woman who was leaving held it open for him. He tipped his hat to her and brushed right past the newspaper rack with the article about the dead girl in some outta the way little country town, shot to death with a double barrel shotgun.

He smiled at the man behind the counter and inquired about which employee forms he would have to fill out.

"Ah," he thought as the man shuffled for papers and a pen, "When one door shuts, another opens."