It is a cold, rainy day, and I’m walking into the corner store to buy cigarettes; the TV inside is on. I glance at it and keep walking toward the counter, but as I’m asking for a box of Pall Malls, I turn back to the screen. I see people. I see police. I see a message scrolling underneath the moving pictures, and all it says is “San Bernardino First Responders”, or something of the like, and I know immediately what’s going on. There’s been another shooting. And as I listen in to the report, I hear that the situation is ongoing: the killers are still at large. I get my cigarettes. I exit the store and begin walking back to my apartment. I take a smoke from the pack and place it between my lips. I light it. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Repeat. The cheery looms at the end of three beautiful inches of paper-wrapped tobacco product and another inch or so of fiber filter.
One foot in front of the other, dear boy. Step by step. Let’s take this shit step by step.
I turn the corner and catch a glimpse of myself in the window of the bar around the corner from where I live. I’m dressed well. I’m a white man. It doesn’t matter. I’m alive. I’m not in San Bernardino. I’m in Cleveland. It doesn’t matter. People were probably shot and killed somewhere around here today as well. Probably not 20; definitely not 20 or it would have been “Cleveland” scrolling beneath moving pictures of a scene of an absurd and terrifying reality. Guns. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fucking. Fuck, motherfucking goddamn pieces of shit. Pieces of whole, fucked up, fucking goddamn bullshit.
I turn the next corner and see my building. A self-conscious smile plays around my lips. I’m a happy man. I have a home. I’m alive. No one I know has died from gun violence today.
But fuck. Fuck, fuck, fucking fucking, fuck, fucking fuck.
There were two goddamn, fuck, fucking mass murders today in this country. Two, goddamnit. In one goddamn day. Fucking pieces of shit. Fucking fucked country. Fucking fucked world. Fuck.
There aren’t enough curse words. Fuck is the best one but it’s not enough. There isn’t enough pain to go around.
I unlock my front door and climb my stairs. I open the next door and my apartment is warm and inviting. I put my cigarettes and keys on the table. I sit down in a chair and I close my eyes. I open them again and burst into tears.
Fuck fucking fuck, bullshit, fuck fucking fuck.
What are we going to do, America? What the fuck are we going to do?