By Amy Barnes
I swore I would never have guns in my house. There would be no pistols or hand guns or rifles or pop guns or water guns. I wouldn’t wear bullet bras or have a Bullet mixer.
No guns allowed. I said to my mom’s group before my son was born.
I knew a lot of the moms had guns in their glove boxes and purses. I did not because I was going to be a better mother. I looked at them and tried to guess who was packing pink gun heat in their pink gun purse. Was it Sarah who wore spotless white maternity jeans or Angela who insisted on stilettos into her ninth month?
When I gave birth, it was a cruel trick: my child was born with finger gun fingers. I had hoped he wouldn’t inherit his father’s fingers but there they were, long and locked and loaded.
The doctor suggested surgery but David was tiny and I was worried. I also hoped he would grow out of it, grow non-trigger fingers that wouldn’t trigger me or his grandma or the mailman. I wanted him to be just a biter. Instead, he sprayed tiny bullets all around when he was bored and aimed gun fingers at my breasts while he nursed and didn’t get enough milk.
He was sent home from kindergarten when he pointed dueling dual fingers at his teachers and classmates at recess.
He’s just playing. I explained to the principal.
He started keeping his fingers in an embossed leather holster I bought for his birthday when he didn’t want anything else as a gift. I thought it might hide them a little but he kept taking them in and out, with a quick draw and blow-off the barrels.
Pew pew. He said. I’m Aaron Burr. I’m Jesse James.
I tried to help him overcome his gun fingers. I took him to therapy. He saw guns in every Rorschach inkblot. I took him to anger management classes, and it only made him angry because I wouldn’t let him visit the gun store next door for a treat. His father was no help either. He bought him a gun safe bed and a deer blind instead of a backyard treehouse.
I tried to help David find friends that didn’t have gun fingers. It was harder than I thought it would be. He turned 18 and held up a convenience store with only his right hand. The police had real guns and real handcuffs when they took him away. He waved his fingers at the judge in court and was sentenced to 10 to 20.
When I visit him now, his hand is finally flat against Leavenworth glass.
About the Author: Amy Barnes has words at FlashBack Fiction, McSweeney’s, Popshot Quarterly, Flash Fiction Magazine, 101 Words of Solitude, X-RAY Lit, Stymie Lit, No Contact Mag, Streetcake Magazine, JMWW Journal, The Molotov Cocktail, Reflex Fiction, Lucent Dreaming, Reckon Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Flash Frog, Leon Review, Perhappened, The Lonely Press, Spartan Lit, Blink-Ink, The Mitre, Complete Sentence, Gone Lawn, Cabinet of Heed, and others. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction and long-listed for Wigleaf50. Her fiction has been included in Retreat West, Bath Flash Fiction, NFFD, NFFDNZ and other anthologies. She’s a Fractured Lit Associate Editor, Gone Lawn co-editor and reads for CRAFT, Taco Bell Quarterly, Retreat West, The MacGuffin, and Narratively. Her flash chapbook “Mother Figures” was released in June, 2021 with a full collection of flash fiction forthcoming in February, 2022.