Trust Me

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write a story about a pathological liar.... view prompt

6 comments

Fiction Contemporary

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

When I walk into Rainbow Records tomorrow, with a fully loaded AR-15 in my bag, know this: I am not doing it out of hate.

I am doing it out of love.

I love America. America is the land of George Washington and Henry Ford, Ernest Hemingway and John D. Rockefeller, John Wayne and Babe Ruth. Rugged white men who loved hard work, hard drink, and soft women.

America is not the land of brown people, and it’s not the land of homosexuals.

To be clear, I don’t hate brown people or homosexuals. I never use slurs or other hateful words to describe them. This isn’t about hate. Trust me.

Also, “black” is not an accurate description of anyone’s skin color. It’s very important to be accurate and precise.

What is it about, then? As I said, this is about love. Brown people and homosexuals have taken over the country I love. They’ve taken over businesses and restaurants, politics and morals, the silver screen and the airwaves. America is the land of country music. Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. When the biggest country music star is a brown homosexual, this is not my America anymore.

An AR-15 can fire 60 rounds a minute. Using a drum magazine that holds 90 rounds, with an estimate of three rounds per target, I will eliminate 30 brown people and/or homosexuals in a minute and a half tomorrow afternoon. My message will be precise and clear. Brown people and homosexuals do not belong here. There are plenty of other places they can go, but they are not welcome in my America. And after tomorrow, they will get the message. Trust me.

I wasn’t entirely accurate, I realize. I used “white” to describe skin color, which is just as inaccurate as “black”. “Rugged pink men” would have more accurate, despite the entirely inappropriate association of the color pink with feminine traits.

Also, the predicted number of targets eliminated should be 29. I must leave 1-3 rounds for myself.

Also, I didn’t describe my views entirely honestly.

Actually, it was all lies.

I don’t care about anyone’s skin color. I have nothing against homosexuals.

In fact, I’m homosexual. And my boyfriend is brown.

And I hate country music. Heard enough of it growing up in small-town Iowa to last me three lifetimes. Trust me.

I don’t have a boyfriend. That part wasn’t true.

I can’t sustain a relationship for more than a month. Never could. I’m a liar, they tell me. I can’t be trusted, they tell me. But if I’m going to tell you the truth, don’t I need to trust you too? If I tell you the truth, how do I know you won’t hurt me?

I tried telling the truth once. To my mother. “I think I like boys,” I told her. She told my father.

My father was the one who valued accuracy and precision. He said he would hit me with his belt 18 times, so I would remember Leviticus 18. And he did. Exactly 18. I counted.

My father was not a liar.

I am, though. I just lied again. It wasn’t just my father. My mother valued precision too. She told me there were 513 people in our town, and exactly 512 of them were ashamed of me. She was precise, but she was incorrect, through no fault of her own. The number was 513. I was ashamed of myself too.

What hurt me more, you might ask, my father’s belt or my mother’s words? I could tell you, but you would probably think I’m lying. And you would probably be right.

A week later, I told my parents that I had prayed to Jesus and he had saved me from my sinful urges. That night, I stole two hundred bucks from them and started making my way to California. I haven’t spoken to them in 7 years, 5 months, and 22 days.

Accuracy and precision are very important, as I’ve said. They instilled this in me.

That and the shame.

But you know what’s real and not a lie? The AR-15. It’s right here in my lap. Bet no one would ever believe it. A pathetic homosexual in his little overpriced studio in San Francisco, holding the NRA’s pride and joy, the All-American assault rifle? A ridiculous idea.

You will all believe it tomorrow. Trust me.

Some will start believing tonight, when I leak certain bits of this on social media. Others will get the idea tomorrow morning, when more details come out. A few will wonder about the guy in the trench coat walking through the Castro in the middle of a warm day, or about the SFPD vehicles speeding through the city with sirens blaring. And many will see the truth at Rainbow Records tomorrow afternoon.

You see, when I said it was all lies earlier, that was a lie too.

I really do love America. America is the land of JFK and Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony and Harvey Milk, Jackie Robinson and Sidney Poitier.

America is not the land of neo-Nazis with assault rifles.

I really am sending a clear and precise message. No one is safe. This will not stop unless it is made to stop.

When they “neutralize” me tomorrow and the noise and panic subside, they’ll suddenly realize that no one was killed, other than me.

I will be shooting blanks. A liar to the end.

Will anyone get the message? Maybe the people in Sacramento will see that this isn’t a red state problem, it’s an American problem. Maybe even in Washington, this will give the push to finally do something. Or maybe whoever opens my computer in my overpriced little studio and reads all of this will be moved… or inspired… or amused.

Or perhaps my parents will see the news and learn what happened to their worthless son. Maybe not so worthless, after tomorrow.

Not everyone will get what this is about. But somebody will.

Trust me.

July 30, 2022 03:41

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6 comments

00:55 Aug 05, 2022

I'll take a shot at this well written but disturbing story with heavy political themes. Let's use literature, human emotion, empathy and the universality of the human experience to try to bring people closer together? Maybe there are ways to help people understand each other and narrow the gap on many divisive political issues in America. That's my hope for the future.

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Michał Przywara
21:05 Aug 04, 2022

This is an intense story. Considering the hate/self-hate, the lies, the subject matter, the constant back and forth (i.e. that was a lie, except it wasn't, except it was) there's a powerful sense of frustration coming from the narrator. The shootings are a horrible, depressing topic, so the frustration is relatable. I think it naturally comes with the thought of "what can we do to fix it?" And then probably the realization, that we personally, can't. So the narrator's come up with a creative solution. The solution, too, is depressing. Re...

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Jacob Chudnovsky
01:08 Aug 05, 2022

Thank you for the comments. I'm glad the emotions and tone came through as intended.

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05:27 Aug 04, 2022

Not gonna lie, I was a little worried at the beginning, but I really liked the end, and the message.

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Jacob Chudnovsky
14:31 Aug 04, 2022

Thanks. I've wanted to write something about the epidemic of mass shootings in America and had a few different possibilities in my mind, including from the point of view of a potential victim or a potential shooter. The prompt led to it coming out in this particular way.

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23:52 Aug 04, 2022

It turned out good, not enough people are writing about this.

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