Those who could run, ran.
Those who could hide, hid.
The rest of us hunkered down to fight, fists squeezing chair legs, staplers, keyboards, wastebaskets, anything we could find.
As the loud popping sound drew closer, we exhaled slowly and did our best to prepare for what was to come.
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of seventeen books. He teaches creative writing in Virginia.
At the wedding reception, Mother admired her new daughter-in-law who wore hijab and long sleeves in the hot Texas sun. Never a guarantee. Still, this relationship seemed solid.
“Religious differences aside, she’s family now. No one will bother her!” Mother rested her hand on the concealed weapon under her blouse.
T.J. Barnum has been writing after work for a number of years, but has started submitting only recently. Barnum’s short memoir piece entitled “Daddy Jim Teaches Me To Shoot” will appear in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature in April, 2018.
School continues, but your lessons are done. Your empty desk and chair are a reminder you’re no longer here.
Why did you play with that abandoned gun in the alley? Senseless tragedy put your ten-year timeline to an end.
A lesson learned too hard, one our class will never forget.
Shawnta S. Barnes is a literacy coach in Indianapolis Public Schools, an adjunct instructor at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis School of Education, and a 2016-2017 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow.
When Stan dropped out to become a tattoo artist in Hawaii, Mom said he was in trouble.
Bigger trouble when she heard his customers were Yakuza thugs smuggling handguns back to Japan.
Mom was wrong.
Stan was really in trouble when he got caught kissing Momoko, the boss’s only daughter.
Katie Grotzinger is currently a student at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, where she writes rhetorical criticism papers on gangster rap and cartoons.
“You have a gun? That’s crazy! I don’t want that in here!”
“Relax. It’s perfectly safe.”
“But guns are used for shooting things.”
“Yeah, like bad guys. Or moose.”
“But… Wait, what about bears?”
“Sure, I could shoot those.”
“The fewer bears in the world, the better. Get on it!”
This story is dedicated to Kate, who provided the title that inspired it.