In response to the Weekly Writing Challenge, which this week is to write a dialogue, I present the following. If you’re interested, you can find the challenge here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/writing-challenge-dialogue/
“Oh my God! Oh My God!” She keeps saying it. Over and over again. Her voice is breaking. Her hands shake. She’s scared. We’re all scared.
“Mary”, I whisper. “It’s going to be alright. ”
We’re outside the building with a small group of co-workers. We all ran when we heard the shots ringing out. A lot of people we know are still inside; the gunman is still inside…
Suddenly, she exclaims, “They gotta do something about these nuts and these guns!! We can’t live like this!”
We’re in the middle of a tragedy. The helicopters are circling overhead. Police are swarming all over the place. Distant muffled shots ring out from time to time. But I’ve been, to some degree, desensitized to it all It seems like crazy people on killing sprees is just something that happens from time to time these days. Twenty-four hour news coverage of other recent shootings has kinda of numbed me to the events going on around me. I’m outside. I’m safe. I know how this all ends.
But, I am a gun owner. Mary’s comment rings louder in my ear than perhaps it should have.
“What can ‘they’ do Mary? We’re in Washington D.C. for Christ sake; you can’t get much stricter gun control than we have here!” I exclaim. My tone, too rough. My nerves are shot and I’m on edge. We’re all on edge.
Mary and I lock eyes for a second. I have no idea what she sees in mine. In hers I see fear, panic, stress.
We’ve just been through an ordeal. Hell, we’re STILL going through an ordeal. There are people we came to work with this morning who will not be returning tomorrow. The Police want to talk to us. The FBI wants to talk to us. The Press wants to talk to us. We just want to go home, hug our loved ones, cry a little and let it all sink in.
“Hello!”, she snaps her fingers in front of my eyes. I focus in again on her face. “Did you hear me?”, she asks? “No. No, I didn’t. What did you say?”
“I don’t know what can be done. Maybe we just need to outlaw guns! I just know that we cannot have kids being shot up in schools and people being shot on military bases, and other craziness like this!”, she yells. “THIS cannot be life in America! How can we come to work every day, wondering if today will be the day we get killed?”, she asks. Her tone is getting louder. She’s gone from fear to anger.
I hold up my hands. This is not the time or place for a shouting match.
“All I’m saying is, I can’t sit at my house unarmed, waiting for someone to kick down my door to steal my electronics or rape my wife either.” “We have to be able to protect ourselves!” “Besides” I say, my tone dropping a bit, “We have a Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
She starts shaking her head at me. “I am so sick of Second Amendment this and Second Amendment that!” “You survival nuts and anti-government types are crazy! This is what that leads to!” , she screams in my face.
One of the officers starts walking our way. I guess he heard the commotion.
He’s carrying an M-16. Essentially the same gun we’ve heard the shooter was using, except the AR-15 the shooter has cannot be put in “auto” mode.
As he gets closer Mary catches my eye looking past her and turns around.
I say just loud enough for her to hear me, “There’s a man with a gun. How come you’re not scared of him?” “He’s the police”, she replies. “I’m not afraid of the police.”
I shake my head. Mary is a black woman, living in Virginia.
As the officer begins to speak to us I whisper back, “Times sure have changed, haven’t they?”