L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 928, June 25, 2017
The Ballad of Mr. J.
by A.X. Perez
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
The truth is a five inch diameter shuriken just isn’t heavy enough to do a lot of damage. Even five or six are no more than a distraction. Someone might get unlucky and take a hit in the carotid or jugular. Maybe an eye put out. None of these outcomes are probable. Still, it might make you flinch.
Mr. J. figured that would be enough to buy his students and him enough time to bum rush a shooter. The other teachers who knew he kept the pouch of stars in his inner jacket pocket thought it was foolish and twitted him, sometimes warning him he could get himself fired over it. The administration made a great deal of effort not to know about Mr. J.’s Walter Mittyish preparation. He was a good teacher, and besides, who knew?
No one knew why the shooter did what he did. He had no books in his room. His computer history showed nothing worthwhile, his email accounts were all personal “Hi, how are you’s,,” his Facebook was all cute kitties and puppies. Some speculated he was a Muslim extremist. Others, noting the number of Muslims in the Estates de Soleil (the name was nonsensical and pretentious. The cost of housing there, not so much) community, felt he had to be some right wing bigot. Others thought he was just someone who wanted to make trouble between the two groups who were getting along exceptionally well there.
The fact was he was an unlikable nebbish who was tired of seeing kids walk through the neighborhood laughing and having fun. Why should they be happy and not him? Why should the Muslims and Christians laugh together and not fight? Why weren’t the gang members surly and angry? Why weren’t the cheerleaders snobby enough, the different groups cliquish enough?
Why should they be happy and not him?
He went to buy a gun. The first store owner ran his name through some sort of data base and turned him away. The guy at the gun show looked at him funny, called a security guard, and had him walked out of the building. Eventually he found a drug dealer who knew a guy. They gave him an old pistol gripped shotgun with a thirteen inch barrel for a yard even they even tossed in forty shells of number six shot, telling him it was optimum for home defense. He figured out how to sling it under his jacket and slipped into the building by the door the students used to sneak in and out for a smoke.
Mr. J.’s door was too close to Adams Street, that’s all. The shooter used his first shot to blow open the door knob, the second he fired from his hip into the room, doing a number on the bookshelf across the room from the door. It was something he’d learned from TV. Something cut his cheek as he pumped in the next shell, then there was a tug at his sleeve. He saw a crazy man in a sports coat charging him and throwing something. He pointed the gun at Mr. J. just as the third shuriken cut him above the eyebrow and the teacher got clear of the students. The shooter flinched and pulled the gun further away from the kid. The shot pattern got slit between the teacher, his desk, and the bookshelf.
Before he could get a fourth shot he was in a bear hug, the gun trapped against his body. A knife went into his neck, and he saw a girl swinging a purse at his head before he went into shock and passed out forever.
The football player, gang member, and little socialite stood over the shooter’s body. Two more students went to help Mr. J., but number six shot through the brachial artery and lower right ventricle made it a wasted effort.
Texas legislators would debate allowing more teachers to carry guns in class. Various politicians argued why this proved a need for stricter gun control. A hate filled nebbish was buried by a brother who was happy hardly anyone came. They played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes for Mr. J. and noted that age would not wither him, nor the years contemn, and they promised to remember him at setting of the sun and in the morning.
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