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Published by Ryan Kim
A short story of a suicidal pastor's recollection of past and present.
A short story of a suicidal pastor's recollection of past and present.

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Published by: Ryan Kim on Jan 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By Ryan Kim
I bought a gun today. No bullets. Just the a revolver. I got it at a pawn shop down the
street from the church. The guy at the pawn shop didn’t have any problems with me buying iteven though I didn’t have a licens
e. I made a mental note to tell the congregation not to go there.The owner probably thought it was for self-
defense; it wasn’t uncommon for drunks around the
neighborhoods to come and harass you for fun
. The revolver’s not shiny or clean like the guns
see in the movies. There’s a bit of rust on the handle and inside the barrel, maybe some
water got into it somehow. I imagine the previous owner standing on the ledge of a bridge near acalm river with the gun to his temple, standing there because of his indecisiveness on how to endhis life. Maybe he jumped and then pulled the trigger, an impressive feat, or perhaps he pulledthe trigger and fell into the water. In my fantasy, the gun is still in his hand as he sinks to thebottom and is washed away in the current.The gun looks aged and worn down from being pawned numerous times. With its solidblack handle, short barrel, and empty cylinder, it looks like one of those guns that cops keeptaped to their ankles. Maybe it was used by a cop once when he was undercover on a drug deal,they made the mistake of not searching his ankles and he was ready to blast them away when
they found the wire on him, maybe the gun saved his life. Different characters come into myfantasies every time I look at the gun; the previous owner on the bridge was probably a studentwhose parents always made his decisions. His parents decided what college he would go to, whathe would study, who he would marry, and he had enough. The cop was probably an unsung hero,who left behind a pretty wife, two kids, and a mortgage before he could rip the tape off his ankle.The gun still makes me nervous and I hold it in both of my hands as if I were examiningit for prints. Big guns freak me out; t
hank God it’s not a Dirty Harry gun
or else
never touchit. The only other time of my life when I did touch a big gun was because I had to. My fathermade me. It was for display mostly and when I showed my obvious fear of the long rifle, myfather decided to defeat the fear in my eyes by making me hold it. I remember his stone cold eyesignite with a fury when I dropped the gun in tears. He told me to put it back up on the display
hooks or he’d make me carry it around with me wherever I went.
The only other real memory I have of my father was the time we
went hunting, we didn’t
even use rifles. I was twelve years old and
he must’ve liked guns better as decoration because
that day we brought bows and arrows. He had made it himself, carving the bow out of a part of an old tree he chopped down behind our house. He sharpened the branches of that same tree intoarrows.
“No fruit on that tree, but at least it had a use,”
he said. The wood peels fell onto ourgrass and the smell of dead wood wafted over to me as he sculpted sitting on a rocking chair healso had carved. I wanted to take the bow and arrows and pretend to be an Indian, so my fathercould be John Wayne out to get me, but I knew better than that. The next day, we drove out earlyin the morning to a forest nearby; I gazed out at the passing scenery of pine trees and the thick fog that appeared to arise from the earth as we drove in silence. My father
’s station wagon
squeaking along the windy road, absorbing any bumps along the way. When we arrived, myfather made me carry my bow and the quiver of arrows he had whittled the day before. I madequite a ruckus in the quiet forest; my father only had to look at me and I made sure to watch myfooting. Not even a twig would be snapped without his permission. We scouted around until wefound a good spot to wait in. I had hoped my father would climb up a tree with a wooden spearand jump down to impale a wild boar like Rambo. Instead, we waited. We waited for whatseemed like hours
, my father’s silence meant that I had to be silent. He leaned against an old,
 dead log, remaining motionless like a wooden statue. It was as if he was a part of the log itself, Ifought the temptation to poke him with my bow, just to see if he had life in him. But it was onlya few minutes before my father spotted an offering worthy of killing. There was so much blood.Thinking of the blood still makes my skin crawl and my mind quickly comes back to my greyoffice, my uneven desk, and the ritual before me.
I open the cylinder to make sure that it’s empty,
half-expecting a bullet to be in thechamber, but there is none. I roll the cylinder listening to the rapid clicks before snapping thecylinder back into the chamber. I hold the gun and scan around my office
 because I feel I’m
being watched, now more than ever before, but there is no one in this crowded room. My desk takes up half of the space
and on it sit books that I’ve allowed to pile up over the few years I’ve
been a pastor. There are three stacks of books, categorized into different genres: classic Christianliterature such as
 Pilgrim’s Progress
fiction by Dostoevsky and O’Connor; and
corny, modern Christian books that come off more as self-help books.
The latter category is piledup higher than the rest as members of my congregation thought I could use inspiring words byfamous pastors of mega-
churches to “encourage” my walk with the Lord. I’m sure they wantedme to take a hint, “This is the way you should preach. Short, concise phrases that everyone will

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