The Beautiful Lopsided Eyes of Trigger Guards

by Victor D Sandiego | Published: Aug 01, 2023

Learned a long time ago that people want to hear what they want to hear, not what you really think, so when my father asked me how I was doing, living on the edge of nineteen years under the sun, cut off from the world, unsung and alone, I told him fine, mentioned nothing of the volcano that babbled inside me, furious and ready to erupt but somehow calm, methodical, because a volcano carries no malevolence for its victims, only an uncontrollable desire to breach its confines and redspread its hot seed over the land.

My father nodded and went back to his newspaper, an old fashioned guy, still paid for paper, and I rose from the porch where we were sitting and looked up at the sky that looked down with its dark clouds like it wanted to swallow kids like me and then spit them out because we don’t belong here and we don’t belong there either. We leave a bad taste wherever we go.

Down at Sam’s I found beauty in handguns and rifles that pled with the lopsided eyes of their trigger guards for me to remove them from their pegs on the wall, to liberate them from the glass barriers that kept them from the public air. Their sleek metal lines caused my hunger to swell and I bought two grand ones, two exquisite examples of manufactured love.

Equipped, I knew the power of the unstoppable. An upheaval of oak trees filled my legs and my heart with hardness.

A volcano is fixed, bound to its birth home and therefore cannot choose its target, but I had the advantage of mobility. And the disguise of innocence. I could go where my lust could be best discharged from its prison. A bookstore, a schoolyard, a church, a shopping place. Any would do. I only needed to fill my isolation with gunpowder and spark the fuse. I would turn my facelessness to fame.

A mall. Before I entered, I paused in the parking lot to check my bag, to make sure my emancipators were prepared to tackle the tough questions a straitened outsider such as myself always has on the tip of their tongue such as who am I, and why does nobody like me? They were ready, my solemn validators, to make my quest for a purpose real.

Now for the hard part. To choose. A girl over there who wears the same mask as a girl who told me no? An old man on a bench with the air of someone who beats his children with harsh words and tells them constantly they’ll never rise from the mud and shit they slid into by an accident of birth, even though none of this is their fault?

When the clock strikes the hour, it tells those with the courage to listen to stand up and terminate the tragedy that began on the birthbed nineteen years ago when they slapped an infant boy into consciousness and told him to get moving. Your womb loafing days are over. All the breast milk has dried into sheetstains. You’re on your own.

That much is true. I’m on my own. Nobody told me I could and nobody told me I couldn’t. From here, each step, each squeeze, each scream, each sound of a watermelon dropped on the floor as a body gives in to gravity, belongs to me.

At last. I am the taker. I am the owner of unspent lives.

Come to me, Mother. See what I have done. Kiss me on the forehead where the hot cross of your god once cattlestamped me.

And now. Now I belong to a scorching wind, one that blows me onto headlines for a week or two until another young man, and another, and another, all like me, all brothers of the same abandonment, of the same sickness, follow my path as I have followed those before me, that we may kill ourselves of what we have become, and join hands in the final circle of our sacred madness.

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