Seven Odd Bullets


Thing was so rusty my ma sworn it’d never work but she took the bullets out anyways, something about not liking to have a loaded gun in the house.  She had left the seven odd bullets hiding in a little red tin jar in the back of the cupboard.  She never told Da where the bullets were, but maybe he just never asked.

Seemed like a good idea until a week later Sheriff Hardy showed up and said my Da was a bad man.  Said he killed the two old folks living down the block and didn’t think twice, shot em straight through with the old heirloom hanging on the living room wall in one of them drunk fits.

Me, I never liked Mr. and Mrs. Beckers anyways, especially after Buster ended up shot dead on their front lawn, small scraggly frame reduced to shreds.

Said it was the last time they’d have my filthy mutt chewing at their roses.

Sheriff Hardy declared them both dead from fatal gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach.  Found a total of six bullets on the premise and the Colt Dragoon he claimed fired those bullets in a bush right outside Mr. and Mrs. Beckers front stoop.  Said the attacker must’ve thrown it there as he fled the scene but didn’t give any reason of why.

Ma didn’t really seem fazed by the whole affair, just puzzled.  Said it couldn’t be Da on account that she done hid the bullets.  But she couldn’t find the little red tin jar in the cupboard when she went to find it.  Sheriff Hardy just shook his head, put his hat back on, and went right back out the front door.

The Beckers neighbor Mrs. Winderfeld said she saw Da fleeing right after the crime occurred.  But she’s blind as an old bat and can hardly hear the door knock from her rocking chair right by the window.  Probably just wanted the attention is all, and can’t blame her, all isolated and alone in that rickety old house of hers.

And that’s what did it in for Da in the end.  Mrs. Winderfeld saying she saw him running away right after she heard the gunshots, the rest of the folk identifying the gun as the one that sat in our living room, and then all the bullets being gone from ma’s little red tin jar.

Ma didn’t so much as shed a tear over the whole thing and never went to see Da in county lockup.  Said something about justice finally being served.  Never had the nerve to stand up to Da’s constant drinking.  It had taken me a whole ten years to draw the conclusion between his drinking and the bruises that ended up on her face.

And now the bed across the hall don’t creak at night and there isn’t any of that faint whimpering I had become so accustomed to hearing.  All that’s left of the whole ugly matter is the empty frame in the living room and the one remaining bullet in the little red tin jar.

So now I’m out in the backyard way past my curfew with the splintered old shovel and the little red tin jar, looking to bury it right next to old Buster.  Seems fitting in the end is all, like he can finally get some peace.

I looked back down at the jar in my hand, one lonely bullet rattling back and forth in its small metal frame.

Never understood why there were seven bullets and not just six.

~ fin ~

Maxwell Park is an enthusiastic young writer out of Portland, OR. "Seven Odd Bullets" is his first publication. When the words aren't screaming to be written, you can find Max jumping on a slackline or cultivating his bad side by watching unrated films and drinking grape juice - mixed with soda.