He sits in a forest clearing. Tall trees surround him. Looking down on him. The clearing is no more the size of a small room. He sits cross legged. Lighter in hand. Mix bowl placed directly in front of him. Bong packed and ready. A bright crescent moon provided him light. He was glad it was such a clear night. He liked the stars. He liked to believe they were the souls of those who have left us. How wicked if it were true, he often thought to himself. What a great view it would be, to sit up there and look down on the poor souls who still live. He pulls another cone and lies back on the soft blanket he’d brought with him. He knew he’d need that.

Arms spread like wings, His hand touches on something. It was cold. Metallic. His mind was blank. What was this thing? It took a moment to think to look with his eyes. ‘Dumb stoner!’ he thought to himself. His now half closed eyes laid sight on what appeared to be a gun. ‘Where’d that come from?’ he wondered. Did he bring it with him? Typical stoner, always suspects himself first. Maybe someone dropped it. Was it a murder weapon? How the fuck would he know? He sat up, turned himself to face the gun and placed his chin in his hands.

Staring at the gun, he began to ponder whether he should pick it up. If it was a murder weapon, his prints would show up if he touched it. But he’d already touched it! Cold steel connecting with his fingers, as he’d spread his arms. Ahh yes, he remembered now. Forgetful stoner! How cliché. Without hesitation, he picked the gun up. It looked like the guns the cops carry. A service revolver. At least that’s what he thought they were called. He studied the chamber. Rolled it slowly with his fingers, like he’d seen them do on the movies. ‘Was it still loaded?’ he wondered. Should he look? Hell yeah! But first another cone.

Placing the gun carefully in his lap, he packed himself a cone. He manages to do this without looking away from the gun. Not once. Even smoked it with eyes firmly fixed on the weapon. After pondering a little longer, he picked the gun up and gently pushed on the side of the chamber. It opened easier than he thought. He looked into the end of the chamber. Six small holes surrounded the centre of it. In two of these holes he could clearly see what looked to him like bullets. Shiny, gold circles, with something written on them. It was loaded!! He placed the gun back in his lap. Staring at the open chamber and its contents. Now what? Here he was, sitting alone in the forest, with a bong, a blanket and a loaded gun.

He quickly served himself up another cone before delving into deep thought. He remained transfixed by his find. The discovery of the gun had caused a sudden shift in his thoughts. Before he was happy wondering about the stars above. Now the thought of being a star filled his head. He’d thought that way before. And it was only a thought. But now he had the thought and the means. This wasn’t good. Of course he’d done the whole ‘plan it out in your head’ caper. You know. How, where, when. What you’d wear. Music you’d play. Pictures maybe. Note or no note. But to him it was like your lotto plan. What you’d do if you won. He was sure everyone had thought that way once in their life. He never thought he’d actually have the opportunity to put that plan into action though. But this was not the how where or when he had envisaged.

The moonlight starts to flicker. A gust of wind begins to swirl in the clearing. He quickly places his hands over his mix. Wouldn’t want that to blow away. The forest around him became darker. Was it getting darker? Or was it him again? He hadn’t experienced the sensation for quite sometime. It was almost foreign to him now. But he still recognized it. Another cone would soon fix that. Back to the gun. Such a violent means. Not his way generally. But did he want to take a long walk? Or just jump on the express. ‘I have the ticket’ he thought to himself. Again he had the feeling it was getting darker. The fact the moon still hung high in the sky did not change the feeling. It was definitely him. What a time to be alone.

The trees around him now looked like one big black curtain. He couldn’t pick one tree from another. No light broke from the forest beyond. At this time he recognized a feeling of being watched. Though not by a person. More like a soul. Or many souls. He felt as though the stars were looking at him. Like a bunch of scientists looking down on their lab rat in its enclosure. Waiting for some kind of extraordinary behaviour. Was this what the stars were doing? Were they waiting for him to do something? Or willing him to do something. Now he wasn’t sure. Another cone. Time seemed to drag now. He had no concept of time. He never wore a watch and he’d left his phone in the car. How long had he been sitting there? Staring at the gun with its two bullets. No idea. However, what he did know was this. The scientists were still watching. Waiting. What was he to do? He hated making decisions. And all this added pressure made it all the more difficult.

He wondered why he wasn’t tired. It had to be early morning, although there was no sign of daybreak. To him there was only blackness. Not even the stars shed light on him now. And the only thing visible to his eyes and mind was the gun. It was in his hands again. The chamber was now closed, as he held it by the grip of the handle. He’d made sure the bullets were in the first two chamber holes. The hammer was cocked. But he dare not put a finger near the trigger. He carefully positioned the gun on the ground to have another cone. Looking at his mix bowl he realizes there’s maybe only one cone left. Shit! How much had he smoked? He didn’t remember chopping up at all. He checks his stash and finds it no longer exists. He’d smoked the lot. “That was supposed to last the week.”, he said to himself calmly. Almost robotic. He packed what was left of his mix in the cone, and slowly sucked it down.

Placing the bong and his lighter back on the ground, his attention returns once again to his find. He grasps the handle carefully and lifts the gun from the ground. It wasn’t as heavy as it looked. The hammer was still cocked. And this time he found his index finger resting on the trigger. His mind no longer thought. Darkness was replaced by a slide show in his head. Images of his childhood, his school years, his life. He didn’t see himself raising the gun to his head. He ignored the cold feeling of the end of the barrel resting against his temple. And he was not in control of his finger as it applied pressure to the trigger. BANG! Bright light fills his vision. Blinding almost. Quickly the light fades to a pale blue. Puffy white clouds come into view. ‘Was this heaven?’ he wondered. Was he to become a star of the heavens? Slowly he begins to notice the tree tops surrounding this patch of blue with heavenly clouds. Confusion sets in. Something cold is touching his fingers. The gun? What the fuck? “But I pulled the trigger.”, he mumbled. He was sweating now. He had to look. With great uncertainty, he turned his head towards the hand touching cold metal. As his hand came into view he could clearly see a rather rusty old tent peg. It was only just sticking out of the ground. A tent peg. Not a gun. He sat bolt upright, eyes wide and sweating profusely. He saw his bong lying on its side. A damp patch of dirt the remains of its murky contents. His mix bowl was close by. One cone left. And he was still alone. Alone, but alive.

Guy Brown 2004©


Guy Brown

Mount Evelyn, Australia

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