The Bullet

I woke up on the floor of a strange bedroom, clutching a single bullet in my right hand. I couldn’t see any sign of a gun. The last thing I remembered was going door to door handing out RSPCA leaflets. Someone must have struck me from behind.
I sat up and took a look at the bullet. Copper cased and still intact; this bullet had never seen the inside of a gun. I rolled it over in my hand. I should have been shocked or frightened but I was only amused when I saw the cursive script “Todd Vellen”, my name.
Not exactly subtle, a bullet with my name on it. Fortunately, with my friends, this was far more likely to be a joke than a threat.
I tried to stand but gravity decided it liked me better where I was. I never had liked gravity, since jumping off a garage and breaking my ankle as a child, so I decided to stand up anyway.
I was either in a crappy bedsit or in a crappier hotel room, either way there was a single bed, a dresser and a wardrobe—all straight from a charity shop—and a door leading into, what looked like, a bathroom. From the condition of the rest of the room, the thought of going to the bathroom in there frightened me more than the bullet with my name on it. There was one window and even through the dirty glass I could see that there were thick bars on the other side. Unlikely that they were there to stop anyone breaking in to this hovel, especially since it looked like I was on the fourth floor.
I glanced at the door and almost didn’t even try it. I knew it would be locked. And it was. Very locked.
I tried pushing it, pulling it; I even gave it an ill-advised kick.
I thought maybe the window was a better choice, bars and all.
I pushed the window up and assessed the situation.
Inspecting them dispelled any hopes of going all Popeye and pulling them apart wide enough to climb through, I’m not particularly strong, I’ve never needed to be.
I dismissed the idea of soaping myself up and slipping through the bars. I don’t think the crowd massing below would appreciate the sight.
Actually, why was there a crowd massing below anyway?
The streets were teeming with banner waving pedestrians. It wasn’t a protest, too many children. A lot of red, white and blue, it could only be a royal visit. An old cockney covered in pearl buttons selling little plastic flags confirmed my guess.
I tried shouting and waving but it was pointless, anybody that did hear me just waved back.
It looked like I was just going to have to sit back, watch the parade and wait for whoever trapped me here to come back and explain their diabolic plan.
The clouds parted for a second and reflected off the case of another copper jacket perched on the ledge a few feet from the window. Years of staring at the computer screen have practically ruined my eyesight, but I was sure there was something engraved on the side. Even if my vision was better, most of the writing was obscured by the bullets angle.
Now at this point, just so I am clear, I was no longer thinking that this was a joke, nobody I knew had the resources or energy to pull off a stunt as elaborate as this. Something kinky was going on and I had seen enough movies to realise that bullets, high vantage points and visiting dignitaries usually only meant one thing. While political assassination was more of an American pastime, from the fourth storey window I could see both a KFC and a Foot Locker, this is probably the next logical step.
Somebody was setting me up, the next time that door opened an armed response unit would come pouring through, shouting “Get down” or “Clear” or maybe just making stuff up as they went along, that’s how it seemed. I would drop to my knees and throw my arms up in surrender and, depending who arranged all of this, I would either be arrested or shot ‘while resisting.’
Now that I had figured out the plot, I looked under the bed already knowing what I would find. I would love to give you an accurate description of the make and calibre of the gun but I know nothing about them; it was a long rifle with a scope.
I could hear the crowd outside start to cheer louder and could picture someone, probably on the roof, with another scoped rifle getting ready to change the world.
I looked at the bullet with my name on it. I guess the police would stop me before I used it when I ‘turned the gun on myself.’
From the window I could see a police escort coming round the corner, followed by horses pulling a carriage. I also noticed KFC had a deal on Zinger Burgers. Focus, Todd!
I was going to be the most famous man of the century. That was something at least. Wasn’t it?
I wouldn’t see it of course; killed, either in prison or by the cops. If I used the bullet with my name on it I could end this on my own terms at least. They wouldn’t expect that, would they?
The carriage was getting closer; I could see a gloved hand waving to the crowd.
I might have left a note if there had been anything to write with. Instead I pushed the bullet into the chamber the way I’d seen it done in the movies. It saddened me when I thought of how few people would actually miss me.
But there were a couple.
And I wasn’t going to shoot myself on an empty stomach. I really wanted that KFC.
I lifted the rifle and shot the lead horse through the head.

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