TRAJECTORY • by Mickey Mills

Foster Davenport leaned back against his favorite park bench, feeling the afternoon sun caress his unshaven face. His eyes were closed. His mind reached out to listen to the subtle sounds of springtime in the park; children laughing, birds chirping, and a playful couple laughing at the silliness of their young affection.

He sank deeper into a meditative state, enjoying a personal nirvana, when suddenly he heard his name intermingle with the playful sounds of the birds and the children.


He was thinking, go away, when he felt a hand on his shoulder giving him a slight shake.


He cupped his hand over his eyes and looked up to see his neighbor standing there. Tommy Shelton was a decent neighbor with one exception: He was annoyingly nosey. He sat down beside Foster and said, “You left way early this morning. Is everything okay?”

He looked over at his neighbor. Foster was angry about his interrupted meditation, but he also needed to talk to somebody about his dream. Tommy, for all his faults, was a pretty good listener.

Turning his head away, he said, “I was up early. I had a horrible dream last night. I dreamed I was going to die today.” Foster had a distant stare in his eyes.

It was as if he was focusing on Apartment 106 in the building almost a quarter mile across the park. If he could have seen into the third window from the left side of the building, he would have seen a small boy, no older than nine. The boy was excited by his latest find. Looking under the bed for his lost toy, he’d found a small metal box containing his father’s pistol.

Mimicking his favorite TV detective, he pointed the gun at the cross-town bus passing the open bedroom window. He tugged on the trigger and in an excited voice shouted, “Bang,” but his word was overwhelmed by the explosion of the gun. The boy cried and dropped the heavy pistol to the floor.

A bullet is a single-minded creature with only one mission. Once propelled by the explosion of gun powder, it will travel along the path chosen for it. The metal slug began its journey the instant the hammer fell on the cartridge igniting the gunpowder. The expanding gas of the explosion propelled the bullet down the rifled barrel, spinning it into a tight trajectory ensuring an accurate continuation of flight.

The bullet exited the barrel and sped through the window of Apartment 106. It entered the right side of the bus through an open window, barely missing the nose of a young salesman seated in row seven. He swatted at it a full half-second after it sailed out the window to his left.

It flew above the warm grass of a city park and above the heads of laughing children. A small Terrier perked its ears and yelped at the sound of the gunshot. The bullet barely nicked the tail feathers of a pigeon in flight and continued, unheeded, unwavering, and straight towards an unknown destination. The young couple was startled, and looked in the direction of the cross-town bus. Without a conscious or a guiding hand, the projectile continued along the chosen path.

Foster pointed at the bus traveling down the boulevard on the other side of the park. He laughed and said, “I dreamed I was going to be run over by the cross-town bus today.”

Traveling at eleven hundred feet per second, the bullet struck Foster in the middle of his forehead. In the roughly six inches from the impact point to the exit wound, the gray matter of his brain deformed the bullet drastically and slowed the travel velocity to a meager two hundred feet per second. A substantial piece of Foster’s skull followed the bullet out the back of his head. It tumbled another forty-seven feet before lodging into a big oak tree at the edge of the park.

Foster’s lifeless body fell forward onto the ground. Tommy screamed. The young couple ran over from their blanket; the girl was shouting, “I heard a gunshot from over there.” Turning around, she pointed across the park.

In Apartment 106, the boy’s father ran into the room and grabbed up his son. The child was frightened and sobbing, “I’m sorry, Daddy, I’m sorry.” Clutching his trembling son in his arms, he knew how lucky they were that the boy was unhurt.

Still holding his frightened child, the man bent down, picked up the gun and put it back in the box. He bent over to look out the window with a concerned stare, and said, “This is not a toy. You could have killed somebody.”

Mickey Mills is a struggling writer on the Harley Davidson of life.

This story was sponsored by
Camilla d’Errico: A character designer and artist who dances on the tightrope between pop surrealist art and manga inspired graphics. Explore her paintings, characters and comics: Tanpopo, BURN and Helmetgirls.

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