Friday Night Joyride

Wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what my mama woulda said. That was a common line she used to warn us as children away from the bad influences of friends and to explain the random bad things that happened to good people.

And this time…it’s me.

My mama warned me about my friends for months now. She didn’t like the way they dressed, acted, talked. She didn’t like that they stayed out all night, past curfew, and she sure didn’t like that I had been going with them.

Today started innocently enough. We got candy at the convenience store, went to the theater and bought tickets to the Pixar flick then snuck into the R-rated action movie the next screen over. They could tell we weren’t old enough. Last week we tried to just buy the tickets and say we were 17, but they knew better when the only one of us that had any ID was barely 16.

We left the theater feeling untouchable. That’s when Eddie showed us his dad’s pistol that he snuck out of the house and suggested we knock over a liquor store. I knew it was a bad idea, but I didn’t want to seem uncool by saying so. My hands were shaking when we walked into the store and Eddie pointed the gun at the man behind the counter.

Eddie’s kid brother Mike and I grabbed the closest bottles of liquor we could find while he was yelling at the clerk. Our other buddy, Tony, walked the aisles as if he was shopping all normal-like, which had us yelling at him to hurry up. He finally did, and picked up more than he could carry as he started running toward the door. Everything else happened so fast I’m still not sure exactly where it went wrong.

Tony slipped, dropped one of the bottles he had and it shattered on the tile. Mike and I started to panic and Eddie got distracted. He looked at us, at Tony, at the clerk. And every time he turned, the gun followed. He was hollering at us to go out to the car when the clerk said the cops were on their way. Eddie started turning back to the guy while saying he was gonna kill him, and I couldn’t stand by any longer. I couldn’t watch that happen when all we were doing was supposed to be harmless.

I grabbed his hand and pulled so that the gun wasn’t pointed to the store employee when he pulled the trigger…

I can hear the chaos around me from where I lie on the floor. There are sirens in the distance. I can hear Mike cursing and freaking out, and Eddie telling him to go. The bell on the door rings as it opens and their footsteps fade.

I can’t breathe.

I see spots, and darkness crowds my vision.

My hands are cold. I can’t feel my legs.

The only sound I hear now is a buzzing. And sirens. Then nothing at all.

Wrong place at the wrong time.

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