Devin let his fingers curl around the grip of the Guardian in his pocket, but kept his finger outside the trigger guard. Wouldn’t do to shoot himself in the thigh by playing with the silly thing, and he’d have a hell of a time explaining it to Beverly.
Beverly, his wife. The bitch. The whore. He hadn’t slept in the same bed with her for three years, and he never would sleep with her again. “Let me think. Thomas, Frederick, William, Hans.” He grinned as his thumb slid down the short, stubby barrel of his gun. “There’s always a Hans, isn’t there?”
Yes, it was a concealed weapon. He’d even concealed it from her. She didn’t need to know about it. Didn’t need to know he’d learned to use it, learned to hit his target. It was his Guardian. The NAA was his gun. It was the last piece of pride, self-respect, and self-confidence he had. Hell, it was probably the only respect of any kind he had.
God knew no one at church or at work had any respect left for him. “Why doesn’t he move out? Leave her?” Yeah, he’d heard the questions, heard the talk. “Doesn’t he know she’s sleeping with other men?”
Yeah, he knew. But he wondered, “What would be the point in leaving?” She’d have the house. She’d have the kids. She’d have the car. He’d be broke, living in a single-wide trailer in a park named Camelot somewhere, sending her all his money every two weeks.
“That ain’t happening. Not to me.”
Hell, two of the divorces in the church and one where he worked happened because Beverly wrapped her legs around the husbands. He knew that, but he didn’t say a thing. Just went to work five days a week, came home five nights a week, watched TV, ate whatever she bothered to fix, never complained, had a beer, and then racked out on the sofa with his tablet, and searched for porn. He liked to imagine it was him fucking all the women. He left Beverly alone.
She didn’t have anything to complain about.
On Saturday, he did the yard work, washed the car, weeded the flower beds, worked in the gardens. He was the model husband. On Saturday night, Beverly went out. Devin figured she was getting banged somewhere, by someone. Maybe even another Hans. He took the Guardian, and went to the range. He wrote names on the targets. The names of the men he knew she’d screwed. It was fun, shooting Hans full of holes.
Sundays, he went out on his boat. More of a dingy, really. He got it so he could go sit on the water, watch the ocean, pretend to fish. Get away from her. Get away from everything. For a few hours. Just watch the ocean.
He carried his Guardian everywhere. Even to work. No one knew. Anytime he got stressed out, angry, or frustrated, he just put his hand in his pocket, and let his gun keep him safe. He’d never shoot anyone. Really. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Not even Hans, whoever the fuck he was. No. He just liked to touch his gun, and remember he really did have the power to change everything.
Beverly? Oh, he’d never leave her. No. He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. He’d carry on, his little gun in his pocket, and wait for her to leave. He figured she would, eventually. And if she never left? He curled his fingers around the grip again. When it was time, he knew what to do.
When it was time.
He slipped the Guardian under the edge of the sofa, took the last chug of his beer, and stretched out. “Think I’ll look at a few pictures, then crash.” He reached beneath the edge of the sofa, let his fingers touch the barrel of the Guardian one last time, “Good night, my friend. Sleep tight.”
It was his only friend.
This is my entry for Year 2, Week 34 (Week 2.34) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.