looking down the barrel of a gun / just to see where the bullets cone from

...it was a line by the Screaming Blue Messiahs, but contrary to the title of the song, I was not, in fact, doing it just for fun. Somehow the barrel of a .38 always looks a whole lot bigger when it's pointed between your eyes.

OK. I should start at the beginning, about the Cossantino boys, and where I fit into this whole mess...or at least where she thought I did.

It was years ago, I might've been fourteen. My best friend, Lady Rez, and I were madly in lust with the younger of the brothers, whom we called Angel behind his back. He had some truly nasty habits that we only heard about much later, but at the time we didn't care. Angel's older brother, or at least the one worth mentioning, was a small time drug dealer who aspired to be a cop. Mikey was all of ninteen at the time, and we soon learned that he was much more fun than Angel. He'd tell us wild stories and let us sit around the living room and drink and smoke. The wildest stories usually involved his ex-girlfriend, whose name I can't recall for the life of me, now. Apparently, in his younger, stupider days, he'd knocked her up, and they were still arguing parental rights, and all that fun non-married dad crap. But most of what we heard was how she was a total jealous headcase. That year, I learned the phrase "psycho hosebeast". We just figured it was mostly tall tales told for our amusement.

So, one afternoon, Lady Rez and I were walking around the side of the apartments we all lived in, back to my place, when I saw the girlfriend's car come around the corner. Mikey had always been really careful to make sure no-one else ever met his ex. I must've showed some sign of recognition, because she stopped the car right next to me. This leaves Lady Rez and yours truly in a two foot space between the car and a hedge. I smiled politely. The evil princess leaned over the seat and rolled down the window. She seemed nice enough when she asked if we were Mikey's friends, how old we were, how he was doing today. I should've been watching her hands...

She was still smiling. I know because I could see it out of my left eye around her pistol. I couldn't hear her talking anymore, but I knew she was. My mind made some quick calculations -- what was the least embarassing way out of this? How could I extract myself from this without losing face? Somehow, it seemed worse by far to live through it and look like a fool than to just die a martyr. I had to get her to shoot me before I pissed myself.

I began to insult her. I questioned her sanity, her fitness as a parent, her humanity...anything I could remember from Mikey's stories, I used against her. I cited one of my brother's favourite corollaries to the three prime laws: a weapon should never be drawn unless you intend to kill someone. I told her she obviously had no intention of killing me, so she should put the gun away before one of us wound up in a nasty situation. I told her to go fuck herself. I told her to get out of the car and fight me honourably. I told her she brought dishonour to her family, and that I was surprised if she hadn't been disowned.

I think it was after I said that no blood of hers could ever amount to anything that she finally put down the gun. She was still glaring at me as I spit on her car while she drove away. I was surprised I was stilll standing. I wasn't supposed to have chased her off, I was supposed to have made her shoot me. I was significantly confused for a few momets. I could hear Lady Rez cursing at me, calling me a lunatic.

"Right," I said to her, "Back to my house. I hear Saint John of the Swirling Waters calling me."

Again, we assure you, the pistol in your eye is smaller than it appears.

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