“Re: Guilt”

We’d just been served our food when it happened, the Camry or whatever crashing through the front window and glass shattering everywhere and the driver out of the car shooting people—not like in some action movie, blasting away with guns in each hand, but calm and methodical, going from one table to the next while waiters and waitresses ducked behind dessert displays and busing stations, and people in booths crawled under tables. And like I said, I was with my parents in the middle of the restaurant, not in a booth, and I flipped our table on its side and the three of us dropped down behind it and could hear people crying, a kind of quiet crying, then there’d be a gunshot and everything would get silent for maybe five seconds before the crying started up again and there’d be another gunshot. The wack-job had killed, I don’t know, seven or eight people by the time I figured it wouldn’t take him more than a couple minutes to finish off everyone in the restaurant, which was when I told my parents I’d make a run for the kitchen about ten yards away—I’d run out the back to get help—and yeah, obviously I made it, but now you’re telling me this wack-job killed himself, just not before putting a bullet into my dad’s skull, mom on her knees watching the life pulse out of the man she’d called husband for over forty years, then seeing the wack-job’s gun pointed at her and bowing her head before he pulled the trigger? Because like I said, I’ve always thought I was the kind of guy who’d risk his life for the people he loves, not someone who’d leave them to die while he saved himself, and what I’m saying is, what I’m asking is, I’m not, right? I’m not. I need somebody to tell me I’m not.

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Eric Laster

About Eric Laster

Eric has spent ten-percent of his life as a ghostwriter, in between publishing two kids' books: Welfy Q. Deederhoth: Meat Purveyor, World Savior, for whimsical readers nine and up; and The Adventures of Erasmus Twiddle: Grmkville's Famous & Talented Not-Detective, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Welfy Q. won a 2014 Mom's Choice award. Originally from New York City, Eric now lives in Los Angeles, where he pens fiction and provides writing and editing services to publishing and marketing clients.