Uncertainty. There was always this uncertainty. He was never sure of himself, or, others. Always let his emotions get in the way. His prejudices stopped him from seeing truth. He spent most of his life in fear. The unknown gets us every time.
There was a gun under his bed at night. A snub nose pistol. Always had a fear that one day he’d have to use it. The old man kept it loaded. Middle of the night there were always noises. These noises kept him from sleep. A car going by, a motorcycle at midnight, noises from down the hall. A couple fighting. Some drunk knocking on his door in the early hours of morning while the moon still shined. He laid there with one eye open and his hand under the mattress, clutching the weapon. Waiting for someone to bust his door down. Any excuse to use it.
He never spoke of these fears. Kept to himself. Sitting in the front room each day drinking cans of beer and shots of schnapps with the pistol beside him on the end table. Watching TV in silence. He hated the sounds of voices. Particularly those coming from the television. Everyday he’d point the gun at the set. Telling bad guys to make one false move. Bandits coming to town. A villain on Gunsmoke. Some cheat in a poker game on ESPN. He’d have his finger on the trigger. Waiting for the right moment.
This uncertainty he had. A real loose cannon. Talked to himself. Had conversations about how the world was closing in on him. The uncertainty of life. The only sure thing being that we all die some day, he said. And, today was that day. It was a good day to die, he thought. Bury his fears.
He pointed the pistol to his right temple. Began babbling incoherently. The TV showed a gunfight in the streets of Laredo. Some western was on. He pulled the gun away from his head. Pointed at the man on the television with the black leather on him. And, he fired. A smile came to his face. He saved his soul. The television was dead. Blasted right in the middle of the screen. Heard sirens out in the street. He was sure they were coming for him. He laughed. Walked in glass on the floor and went back to his room. Placed the firearm under his bed and dreamed.
The old man didn’t hear anything anymore. Just quiet. Silence. No more knocks on his door. The couple down the hall quit fighting. Traffic noise had stopped. Maybe the world had ended, he whispered. Maybe.