He blinked, slowly, moistening his eyes, and moved his head in line with the scope. The metal was cold to his brow, and the room he was in, whispering white curtains, ornate armchair disappeared from his mind. It was him, and the long barrel of the rifle.
Slowly, slowly, he adjusted the tripod, the barrel ever steady, crosshairs lined up on the doffed pseudo pirate hat.
What a dumb hat, he thought to himself, why would anyone wear a hat like that – it doesn’t even have a feather, feathers are pretty.
It slid down to the face, angle not quite perfect for a between the eyes – was he tipping his hat to him?
Pow. He mouthed.
Slowly, he adjusted to the horse’s head, staring left.
And the horse you rode in. Pow.
Without taking his eye from the scope, he extended a hand, a willow pattern bowl, a gift, but not to him, he grabbed a pretzel, popped it into his mouth, wiped his hand on his trousers, returned it to the trigger.
He scanned the park. Past the old cannons, the black metal fence.
A balloon drifted past his vision, and he panned down, an Asian girl, bundled in pink, parents with cameras.
My poppa used to shoot at the likes of you…
Overhead, a helicopter, barely heard, flew by.
He flexed his fingers, moved his head away, just to flex his neck.
He ran a hand along the barrel. He imagined he could feel the rifling under the machine steel, the soft nickel coating of the long tipped bullet.
On a park bench, sprawled under a newspaper, was a man. Hair mangy and unkempt, a tattered beanie atop his head, a beard filled with dirt, food scraps and probably lice. His hands in worn gloves, fingers dirty, nails that carried a risk of infection.
Despite the day light, and the crowds, he was sleeping peacefully. Legs overhanging he arm of the bench, old shoes, together, but only just, and most likely ill fitting.
Hard times had befallen him, and as much as…
I could shoot him. Thought the man, crosshairs lined up over the point where his bushy eyebrows converged. The reached for another pretzel.
No one would miss him. Finger back on the trigger. He’s just a bum – no one would care, no one would miss him. No one would even investigate, not that hard anyway.
I shot a man in Reno da da dum da da dum, just to watch him die.
In fact, I’d be doing him a favour – putting him out of his misery.
He’s nothing anyway – just a number, a statistic, a by product, a waste product… why shouldn’t I?
His hand moved slowly up, the safety clicked off.
He readjusted the sights, back to between the eyes.
Squeeze the trigger, that’s what daddy taught me, squeeze the trigger.
Behind him, there was a knock on the door.
The man sighed, still lined up.
“What is it?”
The door opened, a man in a sharp suit looked apologetic.
“Your 11 o’clock appointment is here sir.”
He stood, and walked out.
“Pack that up for me.” As he left.
“Yes, Mr President.”