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by Joe Giordano

Harry Grissom pointed his Springfield M1A rifle at a blonde co-ed; she froze. Her face paled. Her hands rose, palms forward. She took a step backwards. Harry’s finger tightened around the trigger. The image of a rabbit he’d hunted entered his mind. The animal halted, sensing his presence. Harry squeezed off a round, and the rabbit flopped like a beached flounder before coming to rest as two ears and a mass of fur and blood. This girl’s head would explode like a water balloon. The blonde, trembling, folded like a lawn chair, knees pulled up in a fetal position. Blue eyes, as wide as dinner plates, riveted on Harry. Yesterday, he thought, she wouldn’t have looked his way even if he screamed in pain. She was too pretty, too good for him. Now, she’d do anything he wanted just to extend her life. He smiled and raised his chin so she could have a good look at him. Harry’s face would be imprinted on her psyche until the day she died. He nodded at the thought. When he turned from her, the blonde hugged her knees and sobbed.

Harry spotted a brunette. He slammed the rifle’s butt into his shoulder taking aim.

When the woman saw the weapon, her face distorted into a Greek tragic mask. “Please, no.”

Harry’s lips tugged into a grin. He aimed the rifle’s sights onto her face.

The brunette knelt. “Don’t.”

She carried herself like a cheerleader, he thought, the darling of the football players. They’d bump Harry aside as they strode to class. Bullying pricks. Harry’s face darkened. She wouldn’t have glanced at him if he walked past her on campus. Now, she’s not so haughty.

Harry lowered the Springfield. The brunette collapsed.

Harry strode purposefully through campus, terrorizing every female he encountered. His chest expanded. The angst he normally carried in his gut like a fatal disease was gone. He lorded over the women like a colossus. While they ignored, even dismissed him before, after today, his face would be engraved into their brains. The women’s memories would be his legacy.

Police sirens sounded their approach. Students scattered before Harry like fleeing hares.

A policeman shouted, “Freeze.”

Harry stopped. He wondered, had he ever had a better day in his life?

Another cop said, “Drop the weapon and get on the ground.”

Harry smiled. He raised his Springfield. A cop’s bullet sprayed his brains onto the wall like graffiti.

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium, and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their little shih tzu, Sophia. Joe’s stories have appeared in more than eighty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Monarch Review, decomP, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015. Read the first chapter and sign up for his blog at http://joe-giordano.com/