'Safety Catch' by Andrew Boobier

You and I both know this isn't going to work out. I've read many encyclopaedias & I have the feeling that's anathema to you. You're looking for a story, a little Velcro hook that snatches the imagination and whips you up into a flight of fancy or creates an imaginary space where some kind of character (you can’t help but admire and love) develops and where some important moral dilemma is played out. Frankly, that's all old hat. Things are a tad more self-reflective, ironic, sui generis, nowadays. I'm bored even talking about it, and I can see you nodding off already. I know I'm taking liberties; I've no idea who you are or what you're thinking. You might be the kind of person who isn't even shocked by my taking this gun out of the drawer. It's a Glock 17, 9x19 calibre. Black plastic body. The most widely used pistol for law enforcement agencies in the world. This is due to its reliability, low weight and above-average magazine capacity (17 rounds). It weighs less than 32oz and fits so snugly in the hand—my hand—it feels like an extension of the arm. Don't ask me where I got it. I haven't got a license and the serial number has been filed smooth away. It's untraceable. And that makes me think language itself is little more than a series of traces, marks, and scratches on the surface that can easily be erased. Writing's just another code, a form of encryption, something to be broken, deciphered & reconstituted. What's all this got to do with a gun? I'll tell you. No, I'll show you: The man writing puts down his pen and places the loaded gun gently into his mouth and grips it with gritted teeth, biting into the tactile polymer stock. The index finger of his right hand squeezes the trigger fully rearward so that it retracts and releases the striker. The safety catch is off.


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