I’ve never finished reading a book. I’ve never finished watching movies or TV shows. I find it all so…boring. How long have I been alive? I don’t count years of life but years of boredom. The trivial things everyone else finds entertaining; it all feels like nonsense to me. Even now, I’m sitting here waiting to meet this, this vigilante. I have a book in my hands but I’m not reading it. I stare at the words and make up things when others ask me about the book. I usually get caught for being wrong, but those who’ll never read the book won’t know who to believe. My supporters will support me.
I’m not interested in this vigilante business, but the Department heads say he causes social backlash and financial hardship. He hasn’t caused any major problems and he’ll eventually get killed trying to save people. The Department heads disagree and think he’ll become a greater threat. I keep telling them if someone could stop me from ruling the richest country in the world, they would have by now. They tell me I’m too arrogant and then I get bored again and ignore them. They think I’m dumb because I play dumb for the public, but they have no idea how smart I am. I’m the smartest man. No one knows how smart I am. People wish they could be as smart as me.
Acting dumb for the public? My publicist’s idea. At first, I liked the idea. It felt like I played a character on TV. Play the fool to win the hearts and minds of the people. They never saw that coming. The cattle. The poor. These disgusting people. If they weren’t needed, I’d get rid of them all. Honestly, there are just too many people. You kill one and ten more pop up. They’re a plague. A disgusting virus on the Earth. I could do it. I mean, I’ll probably have someone else do it, but I could do it if I wanted to. I’m strong enough. And with enough bullets, I can do anything.
I stopped being the fool once I took over the media. They do whatever I say, when I say, and they don’t ask questions. I hate when people question me. They don’t know how smart I am and they’re not smart, so they ask questions to make up for being stupid. No one questions me anymore. If they do, they aren’t around long enough to get an answer. Questions are boring and don’t interest me. When people do as I say, I’m not bored. I like it.
I don’t want to wait this long, but my generals tell me they’re bringing in a specialist to interrogate this vigilante. Part of me has some interest in this. My generals think an extremist group or cult or something funds the vigilante. I never listen to what they say. I’m getting restless just sitting here. I need to do something. Why hasn’t he woken up yet? Doesn’t he know how busy I am? I have things to do and places to be.
Life felt easier in my youth. I didn’t have as much power, but I had more fun. I managed and funded many businesses. I even spent some time working in film and television. I won the election because everyone knew my name and had known it for years. You can’t buy decades of publicity in a few months on a campaign. You can’t buy my kind of celebrity. I enjoyed life more before the celebrity. I could do what I wanted when fewer people had their eyes on me. I participated more in my organization back then. I got my nickname around this time. The Tommy Gun. Ron Teagun. The T-Gun; the Tommy Gun. A lot of people died by my hands and by my guns. I’m proud of this nickname.
They didn’t make those Thompson rifles at the time. When I started out, I had to steal one from a museum. I didn’t think it still worked; I just wanted it. I got hired for this jewel heist when I still had pimples on my face. We got the gems but, as we left, I saw her in a glass case. I had always liked them because they were different from other rifles. I never saw one in person. I didn’t think. I just took it. All the guys laughed at me for grabbing a piece of junk, but I cleaned it up and tested it. It still worked! I used it on every job until I became the boss and sent other guys out on jobs.
I had a new line of rifles made just for my men. All new Thompson rifles. They were popular again and everyone had one, even police departments around the country. I made millions just from weapon sales. I still have my first Thompson in my office at home. I call her Trisha, my most prized possession. I still clean her once a week.
Thompson rifle sales generated good money; legitimate money. I had my first successful business venture. I continued most of the illegal activities. An accountant suggested investing in other companies and businesses. Many of them failed, but I still made a profit. I knew how to work the system and get everything I wanted. Whether the businesses failed or not, I always gained something. My power and influence grew.
I built a name for myself the hard way, from the ground up. I’m smart like that. Not like this vigilante kid. He wants attention; blowing things up so people know his name. He won’t build a career from that. He won’t make money from that. But he does have money. Where did he get it? He needs money for armor and explosives. I doubt he buys anything else. He should buy a hairbrush and deodorant; such a dirty person, unkempt mange of hair. He needs a shave. I can smell him from ten feet away. My generals are threatened by this guy? I’m insulted. I’m better than everyone; especially this guy. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I should have them killed. I’ll kill them some other time. I still have use for them.
This book makes my hands sweaty. Why am I still holding it? This guy clearly has never read a book. He looks homeless. That might be why we can’t find any information on him; no work history, no finger print records. I’ve never met a ghost. He mumbled a name, but my sources have no information on that person either. Someone named Sasha. Perhaps he has Arabic contacts. He doesn’t look like a terrorist and my men don’t think he has any ties, but we’ll learn more once the doctor arrives. I can’t wait to see that.
As exciting as that sounds, nothing compares to holding my Trisha. I love the feel of her cold, black steel in my hands, the fine wood finish of the handles, feeling the curves and mechanisms. They made her in 1926, model M1921AC; so beautiful. Her model inspired the new rifles. They have better manufacturing, but nothing compares to Trisha. My irreplaceable Trisha. I still have her in my hands every day. We haven’t gotten to play in so long. I miss hearing her sing. I would give anything to hear her sing again, but I don’t get my hands dirty anymore. I’ve had no need for that in a long time.
We used to make beautiful music. I remember, years ago before I became a boss, we had to teach a lesson to a rival gang. Not just a lesson for them, but a lesson to anyone who wanted to mess with us. Me and a couple boys went in, but I got to have all the fun. Trish and I serenaded the warehouse with a symphony of gun fire. Continuous, rapid fire, a swarm of bullets; the air filled with smoke as the floor filled with blood and empty shells. I truly felt at peace during those moments. I felt I lived my purpose; my dream.
I’m probably restless and bored so often these days because I miss all the fun. I can’t remember the last time I joined in a firefight. I haven’t directly killed anyone in several years. I always have someone else do it. I always saw beauty in taking someone else’s life. I remember my first bare handed strangulation. Barely twenty years old, I had to take out some nosey police detective for my boss. It felt like poetry in motion. He struggled against me, but my strength overpowered him. I’m the strongest man in the world. I would have used Trisha, but the boss wanted this to be quiet. Every time he struggled, I’d slam his head on the floor with my hands around his neck. Time froze in this moment. I watched as the gleam in his eyes faded away. They became glazed over and dull. After that day, I always stared into the eyes of the lifeless bodies of my enemies. I see beauty in how the body changes.
I’ll be there when the light fades from this vigilante’s eyes. I consider it a guilty pleasure; a treat I give myself for a job well done. I never treat myself anymore. I’m just growing impatient. Where the hell is that doctor? And why hasn’t this guy woken up yet? I don’t think they hit him that hard. Maybe I’ll read a little more of this book.
“Massive genocide, man was crazy, blah, blah, blah.”
Bored again. I’ll just flip through a few pages, so others think I’m progressing. Does anyone read anymore? You can learn everything you need from television. Does anyone watch television? I just want to go home and feel Trisha in my hands and maybe watch a movie; something with explosions. I haven’t been around any good explosions lately.
Finally, the doctor arrives. I’ll start the conversation. I quickly assert my dominance by starting the conversation.
“Hello doctor. I’m looking forward to seeing your work.”
He’s a short, older man with a full head of grey hair. I hate him already. He moves slowly like a turtle; a skinny, wrinkly turtle with no shell. He moves slowly, but with purpose. His real hair is mocking my toupee. No one knows I have a hair piece. Anyone who found out lost their job before they told anyone. He hasn’t said a word. I’ve only heard wheezing noises. I’ll try again.
“I’m told you are the best in your area of study. I only work with the best.”
“You’ve never been around for this kind of interrogation. It is not a business luncheon. Save the small talk. I despise it.” The doctor says.
He speaks with a high shrill voice. He speaks his words carefully and slowly just as he walks. What a strange little man.
“Very well. How long before this pile of stool tells me what we need to know?”
“Most break within four hours. I’ll start when he wakes.” The doctor says.
This immediately makes me impatient. I have things to do. Doesn’t he know how important I am?
“I don’t have time to wait for him to wake. Is there anything you can do?”
The doctor smirks. Now I really hate him.
“I have a sedative I can give him. It will wake him, but I must wait a few minutes to make sure he is fully awake before I begin my work. It would be best if I was left alone. This is tedious work and I don’t like distractions. Shall I prepare the sedative?”
“Yes, please. Do it.”
It feels so painful listening to him speak. A sloth could beat him in a race. He pulls things from his bag one at a time. Just pull it all out, dump it. He mocks me with how slow he moves. I should remember to have him killed once we’re done with him.
“It doesn’t seem like you have enough tools there for an interrogation of this kind.”
“This is only my medical bag. I have a briefcase outside with all my toys. The sedative will be ready in a moment.” The doctor says.
He putts gloves on. How long does this take? I’ll die of old age before he ever has this stuff ready. He pulls from the bag a needle in plastic wrap, three little bottles of clear liquid, one empty bottle, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a bag of cotton balls. Why does he need so much for one sedative?
He mixes the three liquids into the empty bottle. No, don’t go back into the bag. It’ll take him twenty minutes to finish this. Why does he have a popsicle stick? Oh, he stirs the liquids. Dear Lord, I’m watching the most boring activity in existence. Now he unwraps the syringe. He fills it with the liquid. How long does this take? I’ll fall asleep before he finishes. Why does he flick the needle with his finger? I’ve never understood why people do that.
Don’t put the needle down! Okay, he putts rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Oh, thank Heavens, he picked up the needle. Yes, he walks over. He cleans the neck; almost done. He even puts the needle in super slowly. The needle sits there. Is he done yet?
“Patience, Mr. Teagun. He’ll awake in about five minutes. I will wait outside until you are ready for me.” The doctor says.
He putts everything back into his medical bag one at a time; even the trash. It feels like time itself has slowed down since he got here. He finally leaves, but this guy still sleeps.
Yes, Mr. Teagun.”
“What’s this guy’s name again?”
“His real name is Brent White. His alias is Al Hafiz; or the Guardian, Sir.”
“Thank you, that’ll be all.”
So now I just sit here and wait? I’m bored. I hate everything about this. Did he just moan? He stirs. I better get my book ready. Maybe if I hold it this way. No, I’ll sit like this with the book on my knee. Yeah that looks great.
“Oh! He awakes.”
His brown eyes have a fire behind them. He doesn’t look happy. I will have a lot of fun with this guy.
“You’ve been very busy interrupting all of my good deeds for this country, Mr. White.”
He looks surprised that I know his name. That gives me power.
“Oh, yes we know your real name Brent. May I call you, Brent?”
An excerpt from the novella The Tommy Gun.