I can feel the spring in the magazine push the bullet into the chamber as I pull back the pistol’s slide. The supremely engineered hardware makes it feel like one seamless motion. The matte of the gun is its own hole in reality, somehow darker than the dark of the room.
Next to me Bryan rolls the cylinder of his revolver, bringing it to a stop with the action of the hammer. The revolved isn’t loaded – Bryan knows better than that. He also doesn’t know that my pistol is loaded. Bryan talks about special ops commandos and military operations, precision and tactics and hopes of joining the army. I think about terrorists or an active shooter killing their way through our school, fantasies of heroism battling with some part of my brain that tries to think realistically.
Every generation has its own unique fear it carries. Before us it was nuclear annihilation, before that the march of fascism, before that it was yellow fever or polio or Indian attack or something. I lose the thread, but I know it was there, something hanging over the heads of the students in the little red schoolhouse, children waiting for the siren announcing a tornado or some impending disaster. It’s been this way for so long I can’t imagine anyone living any other way.