Graffiti

Graffiti

Samantha Marie Daniels

I’m shooting up the school, October 22nd.

It’s down to you and me, baby, and I’m reveling in the anguish that drains the color from

your face. It’s absurd, yet you can’t help feeling that this little parley of ours is too personal.

I’m surprised—you don’t strike me as one of those soft-heads—you don’t fucking get it. How

could you, with all the noise of your foxhole prayers?

Stories of heroism bore me; I’ve seen that pathetic song and dance enough to know your

routine by heart. Do you want to hear it? I can save you some trouble, but it won’t stop you.

After all, October 22nd is only a week away, and the face behind the gun could be any face.

Go on, report me. You think care? You think that will make some bullshit difference? Just

be sure to leave your name out of it, hero, or maybe I’ll put it on the top of my list. You’re

already held hostage to the barrel of a gun you haven’t even seen yet. You don’t seem like the

“it can’t happen” type, but you don’t have the slightest fucking idea what “it” will mean.

In the coming days, the ticking clock will be all you hear. Except when a shriek of laughter

will fill the hallways and you’ll mistake it for screams. The second hand travelling over the face

of the clock will be all you see. Except when someone digs through their backpack and you’ll

watch, wait, and pray. You’ll feel the seconds pass, you’ll count the minutes, and you’ll jump

when the bell rings on the hour. No exceptions.

Nevermind, right? This could all be nothing, right? Right.

Imagine what desperation must feel like. Can you really beat down a shooter? Can you

take the gun and fire? What makes it necessary to shoot? Where do you aim? Dismiss those

questions with “l won’t know until I get there.” Claim that, if you must. Go ahead. Tell it on the

fucking mountain.

Keep your mortality a secret. Pretend a few days longer Better that than the “No, it won’t

happen to you” speech, followed by the just-in-case last words. You’ll get enough of that

bullshit from those who hear the story on the news. The last thing you want is more of their

goddamn speeches—their goddamn half-baked just-in-case invitations, their goddamn

counseling, their goddamn pity.

Remember me when you hear others whisper about fear. Swallow yours.

Choke on it.

But really now, I’m only graffiti on the door of a bathroom stall with a simple message just

for you: I’m shooting up the school, October 22nd.

You’ll leave in a minute, and I’ll be washed off the stall door. That’s okay. I come and go. I’ll

reappear somewhere—I always do.

When the 22nd passes by without casualties and the crisis is averted, don’t breathe your

sigh of relief. There’s October 23rd. 24th. And so on. And fucking so on. You better have been

listening.

This won’t be the last time you’ll hear from me.

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