Red Dot    

I’m going to stop using a ballpoint pen; it looks just like anyone else’s messy writing. Instead, those fine technical pens, which I must be firm about not allowing anyone else to use. And I don’t feel comfortable using really attractive notebooks: handmade paper, brushed aluminum covers, and all that. It seems so unworthy when you end up writing grocery lists in them, or obscene little doodles—save those to decorate the border of the menus in expensive restaurants. The ones with tassels. Which is no longer a guarantee that parmigiana and Caesar will not be misspelt. My pet peeves. I want a job as an undercover spelling policeman. It could be part of the Office of Homeland Security; Apostrophe Squad. There is a book called The Apostrophe Thief, which is the name of a play in the book. We never learn anything about the play, other than that it has a long run on Broadway. I envision an Apostrophe Thief as sort of like the Hamburglar, except with punctuation. It would be exciting to apprehend an apostrophe thief, or a grammar murderer. We’d have a shoot-out using periods. I can shoot a pistol pretty well. A disquieting skill. My friend’s husband showed us how. He got weird after he got laid off, and wouldn’t get a job. He just stayed home and played video games all day. He knew better. They wanted him in a mental hospital but he said if they committed him he’d kill himself. My friend didn’t want that on her conscience. I think she should have done it. They might have fixed him; she was still in love with him. What he did to himself was his responsibility, that was the whole issue. My personal husband is frazzling. Not as funny as it sounds. This war (don’t get me started) is making him fry and fray at the edges. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Wolfowitz, Asshole—I mean Ashcroft—Condoleeza Rice and other stupid, rich, white men. He stays up too late looking for horrors on the Internet. As opposed to whores on the Internet. Things to get angry about. I kept thinking about the other guy and how he got stuck in his own head, but his apocalypse was personal. He showed us that the sight is impossible to hold absolutely still, that you have to pull the trigger as the gun moves across the target. And you don’t move your hands or arms to aim; to raise the gun you inhale and the expansion of your chest lifts it; to swing left or right you twist from the waist. Still target, moving gun. I was good at it. We practiced twice a week on paper targets stapled to the side of the barn. It was only an air pistol. I’ve never shot anything alive. Buy a long-range rifle, a laser sight. Practice. Imagine that red dot moving across what passes for heads, hearts.

©2003 F.J. Bergmann

"Red Dot" appeared in Moebius Vol. 15 #2

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