Losing The Bonus

Mark Reasoner

                “Where’s the spare magazine for my Glock nine mil?” Doug Meyer asked as he organized his pack for the day.

                “Probably in the safe,” his wife, Connie, replied. “I think you put it there after re-loading it.”

                Doug found what he needed right where his wife suggested. He stuffed it into an outside compartment.

                “Thanks, babe,” he said, kissing Connie goodbye. “I’ve got to go.”

                “Stay safe,” Connie said.

                Doug tossed his backpack onto the passenger seat of his Chevy Impala, started the car and backed out of his driveway. He turned on NPR for the thirty minute drive to Nugent High School where he taught Social Studies and Government.

                He parked in his usual spot, shouldered his pack and made sure the pistol was set on his hip. All good. Approaching the building, he ran the usual gauntlet of students hanging out before the morning bell. He saw several students suddenly drop cigarettes or joints, crushing them underfoot.

                Some things never change, he thought, smiling. Recreational marijuana might now be legal in the state, but all smoking was prohibited on school grounds. Not that this stopped anyone.

                As he opened the steel door, Cliff Kramer, one of his fifth period students, came up.

                “Hey, Mr. Meyer,” the young man said, “Check this out.” The teenager reached into his bag and pulled out a large handgun by the barrel. Cliff handed the shiny piece to Meyer.

                “Sweet,” Meyer said, turning in over in his hands. “M1911A, right?”

“Right,” Cliff said, “I got it from my grandfather. Got a question, though, how do you carry it easily? Thing weighs a ton.”

                “Check old war films,” Meyer said, “Most times, soldiers carried it strapped to the right hip, like old west gunslingers.”

                Meyer gave the pistol back and walked into the school. As he strode down the hall to his classroom, he caught snatches of typical high school conversation.

                “…Needs to keep his hands off me, or I’ll…”

                “…Don’t believe Timmy actually took that shot…”

                “…Oh gross! Eww…”

                “…Have you seen the new Beretta nines they’re selling at the shop?”

                Meyer took notice of two students close to his room.

                “I don’t want to talk about it,” a short brown-haired girl said. “I don’t want to talk to you, either.”

                “You better talk to me, bitch,” the taller boy replied, “I can make you.”

                The boy pulled a thirty-eight chief special from his jacket and shoved the barrel under the girl’s chin. Meyer moved over to shut the confrontation down.

                “That’s enough, Mr. Vinton! You know the rules. Put that thing away or take it outside. Shootouts are not allowed in the halls.”

                When Jerry Vinton shoved his pistol harder against the girl’s jaw, Meyer reached to his right hip and drew his nine millimeter Glock pistol. He pointed it at the boy’s head.

                “Now, Jerry, or I will shoot. I’m allowed, you know.”

                Vinton looked at Meyer, seeing the teacher’s determined look. The young man lowered his weapon and returned it to his pocket.

                “This isn’t over, c**t,” he mumbled as he moved off.

                “Thanks, Mr. Meyer,” the girl said.

                “Do I want to know what’s going on?” Meyer asked.

                “No.”

                The bell rang and everyone moved toward their classrooms.

                Such was the typical day’s opening at Nugent High. With everyone carrying handguns and authorized to use them with discretion and proper cause, each morning brought the possibility of confrontation. The students were more restricted than the teachers, but situations were known to escalate and teachers were allowed to use deadly force to contain things. Paperwork, though, was extensive in those cases, so everyone tried to avoid it.

Mark Reasoner is a Hoosier by birth, a teacher by profession and a storyteller by nature. He has previously published three novels and several short stories. He lives and writes in Neptune Beach, Florida.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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