Just a stray bullet they said. One of them things. Freak accident. Some hunter took a shot at a deer, bullet went over a hill and bam. Ended his world. And the cops not doing a goddamned thing about it. A five-year-old boy, smart as a fucking whip, dead and all he gets is a, We're sorry about your loss.

Shit. He weren't no goddamned idiot. He knew what the deal was. Juanita, that worked up there in the county clerk's office, she done told him who the shooter was. And because it was the judge executive's boy, nothing would be done. The boy was a football star, here where sports was king, and a straight 'A' student. Why ruin his life, his future, not to mention his daddy's shot at being state senator? Over some piece of trailer trash? They fucking breed like rabbits anyhow. Pop out another soon enough. Oh, yeah. He knows what they say, up there at the police station and over in the sheriff's office. State police, mayor, game warden, all them fucking assholes.

It's the first time he thought it was a good thing Ellie passed giving birth to the boy. Being pregnant was the best thing ever happened to her. Wanted nothing more than to have his child, to raise his son. More than he deserved, the both of them …

He growled, slamming the truck's dash over and over. The grief, the rage, it all boils over, threatening to spill out and he had nowhere to point it, to let it go.

Luckily, the county weren't a dry one. The jip joint down the road kept the bourbon stocked. Could drown things out, have some fights in the parking lot, bang some of that pussy always hanging around.

All things end. Couldn't keep trying to drown in whiskey and pussy. And it was Junior's fault he was here right now. "Shit. Man, if that'd been Carter's boy, they would've hung the poor sumbitch right on the courthouse lawn, accident or no fucking accident."

"Assholes think the law don't apply to them."

"Ain't the first time," according to Billy. "Couple years ago, he ran over some folks down in Menifee County. My cousin did that, it was vehicular manslaughter. Carter's boy doesn't get so much as a motherfucking ticket."

"Yeah, well, it's who you know and who you blow. Somebody oughta show 'em how it feels."

"Yeah, right. Shit don't stick to these fuckers."

"So who did you blow to get that mowin' contract, Junior?"

"Shut up and go get more fucking drinks."

He tuned them out, let them yammer on.

* * *

Junior was right. These rich assholes should learn that they have to pay the piper, same as regular folk. And he thought that Ellie, peaceful as she was, would agree. This was her boy dead, after all.

He'd even found the perfect time. If the football team won this game, they'd get to go to state. University scouts in the stands for Carter's boy. Fuck that. Score was tied and Carter's boy was fixing to win it for them. Fuck all the bastards. Their lives weren't worth any more than anyone else's.

Settling into the dirt, he fitted the rifle snugly against his shoulder, flipped the safety off, the weapon steady on the fallen log.

Deep woods behind the football field here. Plenty of deer. He looked through the scope, numbers on the blue jersey jumping out.

Finger tightened on the trigger, slack took in. Tracked the target but the scope started shaking. His hands slick with sweat. This was nothing like sighting in on a deer. What if he missed? Hit an innocent player?

What difference did it make? Just a stray bullet is all.

Copyright © 2015 Jerry Bloomfield.

A Kentucky-raised transplant to Canada, Jerry writes, plays Xbox, and raises kids and cats with his wife in Nova Scotia. He uses his experience as a 911 dispatcher and BSc candidate in Police Studies to bring realism to his work. Some of the time.

About the Author

Jerry Bloomfield

stray Bullet