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LOVE GUN

by

Tom Waltz

Copyright © 2001
All Rights Reserved



It all started -- hell, it all happened -- because my girlfriend forgot her damn fake ID. I shouldn't have been surprised. I mean, she was always forgetting things -- her house keys, her homework, her gym clothes... my birthday. Sheesh! And they say us guys are bad. Still, when she'd told me she'd forgotten it, I became pretty upset. Hey, when you're sixteen years old, and it's Friday night, and you're ready to party, little things like a fake ID become priceless. And besides, it's not like we could have gotten away with it if I had a fake ID of my own; I looked sixteen, no matter what the identification I handed to the cashier might say. Angie didn't. It's amazing how a little make-up can transform a teenage girl.

"Are you sure it's not in the bottom of your purse?" I asked, knowing it was hopeless. We were sitting in my old, beat-up '72 Chevy Impala -- "The Boat" as my friends called it -- in the liquor store parking lot. It was mid-October, a crisp time of year in the Midwest, and already The Boat's windows were fogging up from our breath -- Angie frustrated, searching in vain for her ID, and me huffing out disappointment.

"I told you, Mark, it's not here!" she whined. "I must have left it on my dresser at home. God, I hope my mom doesn't go into my room and find it. She'll kill me! You know how she is."

Angie's untimely death at the hands of her over-bearing mother was the least of my concerns; there was drinking to be done and the only thing getting wasted was time. "Why don't we drive back to your house and you can run upstairs and get it?" I asked.

"Oh sure, Mark, that would look real good. It was hard enough getting out tonight as it was, let alone going back there." She pulled her hands out of her purse, sat back in the passenger seat, crossed her arms, and pouted. "My mom's so suspicious, she would probably think I was coming back because I forgot birth control or something."

"Well, don't worry, I didn't forget that," I said, patting the wallet in my back right pocket. The comment was an intentional jab at Angie's teenage senility.

"Screw you," she hissed under her breath.

Yeah, I hope so, I thought. But first I want beer. I wiped away at the condensation on the windshield.

"Hey, I know that guy," I said, pointing through the clear area of the windshield toward the man standing just outside the liquor store's front door. "Well, I sorta know him. His name's Steve Campbell. Went to school with my stepsister Janice. I'll bet we can get him to buy for us. He's probably cool."

In a small Midwestern town like ours, you couldn't be too careful about who you propositioned to illegally purchase alcohol. Word got around, and asking the wrong person for that kind of help was as bad as confessing to your parents. Of course, my mom and stepdad probably knew all along that I was out boozing it up most weekends; they just pretended they didn't. Angie's mom, on the other hand, still held on to the belief, for the most part, that her only child was an innocent angel, and if she found out otherwise, well...

Funniest thing of all was the fact that none of the local storeowners had ever told Angie's mom that she had a fake ID; we'd used the thing enough. I figured they were just happy to get paid, and Angie, like always, had probably forgotten to consider the possibility of them telling. I didn't remind her of it, though. Why mess with a good thing?


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