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My Dad's Gun


Eric Rodriguez

I shall never forget that horrible day.

I can still remember the scene before it happened. Mom and I were in the living room. It was night time, about nine o'clock to be exact. I was lying on the couch finishing the book I had recently borrowed from the local library. Then the phone rang. It was the police.

Mom almost passed out when we were informed that Dad had been forced off the road and severely injured. She always knew that when Dad became owner of our town museum and began bringing necklaces, diamonds, and other items to his office at our house for inspection that something bad would happen. But Dad just laughed at the idea. He should have listened to her. The police are clueless why Dad was forced off the road, or why the car was searched thoroughly. The seats had been taken out and cut open, and the carpet was ripped from the trunk of the car. At first the police suspected he was mugged, but nothing was stolen! Everything was accounted for, including Dad's wallet, which still contained his money and credit cards! Mom suggested the fact that Dad had recently brought home a case full of priceless diamonds for the new diamond exhibit, but they labelled that a guess and soon forgot about it.

Whatever the reason, Dad has been in the hospital ever since that day, which had been a week ago. The doctors do not expect him to live, but Mom would not listen.

"He will live!" she had insisted.

I hope she is right.


I looked up from my book. Mom was standing at the doorway of my room, the lamplight illuminating the indignant expressions on her face. I could tell she was not happy with me for some reason.

"Didn't you hear me?" she questioned.

I shook my head. "Were you calling me?"

"I can't believe you," she said, switching the subject. "I don't know how you can concentrate on a book when your Dad is dying in the hospital."

The way she said it made me feel a stab of guilt. I shut the book without marking the page.

"Sorry," I apologized.

"I'm not angry," Mom explained with a sigh. "I'm just not myself right now. Max and I are going back to the hospital."

Max is my older brother. He's seventeen, but sometimes I have a hard time thinking he is actually two years older than I because of the way he acts.

"Dad's condition is worsening," she continued. "I need to be there in case he doesn't make it tonight."

I stood up. "Then I'm coming with you."

I could not believe it when Mom shook her head. "I need you to stay home."

"But Mom!" I cried. "I have as much right to be with Dad as you do. What if he dies, and I'm not there to say good-bye?"

Mom closed her eyes. I could tell she was having a hard time with the subject of Dad dying, and I thought she would change her mind. But she did not.

"I need you to stay. Your grandparents and relatives are coming over tomorrow, and I need you here in case any of them call. Understand?"

I was speechless. Mom was depriving me of my right to see Dad just in case if my relatives call or not! I knew we should have gotten an answering machine years ago! I wanted to argue and demand her to take me with her, but I could not. Mom was having a hard enough time dealing with the accident. I did not want to make things harder on her, even though I wanted to see Dad. I agreed to stay, but I was still resentful.

Five minutes later they were gone. I watched the car headlights disappear down the darkened street. Tears swelled up in my eyes. What if Dad did die tonight? What if I never see him again? No, I told myself. Dad will live. I will see him again.

The living room clock chimed nine as I made my way back up to my room. The book I had been reading was still beside my bed. I picked it up, opened it to page one, and then began to read. I read for what seemed forever before I threw it down on the floor in disgust. What had I picked that boring book at the library in the first place? Then I remembered. Mom had suggested that I read it.

Thinking of Mom compelled me to look at my bedside clock. It was now eleven thirty p.m. It was late. Where was she? A noise downstairs prevented me from thinking of any solutions. What was that? It sounded like glass breaking. My heart began to pound inside my chest. Someone was breaking in! I had to do something, but what? Then I remembered the gun.

A couple of days before Dad had the accident I had been in his office with him. He had opened his desk cabinet to retrieve a file when spotted a gun hidden deep inside it. He had told me it was there in case of an emergency, and I was never to use it until one occurred. Well, this was an emergency.

Luckily, his office was right next to my room. Silently as I could, I crept out of my room and to his office. The door was closed. I prayed it be not locked, put my hand on the handle, and turned it.

The door opened quietly. I stepped inside. I did not dare turn on a light and reveal my presence to the burglar. I felt my way to the desk, found the cabinet, and opened it. I reached inside and soon felt the gun's cool metal. I grabbed it by the handle and took it out. I kept my finger off the trigger.
Dad told me never to put my finger on it until I was ready to shoot. I had thought then that I would never use that information. I was wrong.

With the gun in hand, I tiptoed out of the office as quiet as I could towards the stairs. My heart was pounding so loud inside my chest, I thought the burglar would hear it. I stopped at the top of the stairs and surveyed the living room. It appeared empty, but I had to make sure. I slowly stepped down onto the next step.

Suddenly the stair creaked. I froze in place. I had given myself away!

Then it happened; a figure concealed in darkness appeared at the bottom of the steps. I screamed! Before the figure could take another step up towards me, I raised the gun and pulled the trigger.

Click. Nothing happened. I did not feel any force of the gun firing a bullet. I pulled the trigger again. Still nothing! The gun was not firing!

The figure ran up towards me. I screamed and pulled the trigger again. Then again. Nothing was happening!

"Serene!" The figure blurted out.

The stair lights switched on, and I beheld my attacker. It was Max!

"Max!" I exclaimed.

Tears streamed down my face as Max ran up the stairs and embraced me in his arms. I buried my face in his shoulder and sobbed.

"I can't believe I almost shot you!" I cried. "I hate this stupid gun!"

I tossed the gun away.

"No!" Max cried, but it was too late.

We both watched the gun fly down the stairs and land hard on the living room floor. Suddenly it fired, but in the opposite direction from us.

"Why did you do that?" Max demanded. "We could have been shot--"

Before Max could finish his sentence, I screamed as a man clothed in black fell from behind a window curtain screaming in pain. His hand was grasping his left thigh, which was bleeding. But that is not what scared me most. Lying close beside the man was a butcher knife.

Ten hours later as I was sitting in the city police station, the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together. The man in black was an expert thief named John Black for whom the FBI have spent years searching. The paint from his car that the police had found matched the paint marks off of Dad's car from the accident. The detectives explained that John must have found out that the jewels were at the house after he forced Dad off the road and searched the car, then decided to get them while we were gone.

But there is one more mystery that is unsolved. Why did the gun shoot John in the thigh on impact instead of shooting Max when I had pulled the trigger so many times? Everyone is puzzled by this mystery. But I believe that I have a solution.

Dad had died that night at the same time the gun fired and injured John. I know in my heart it was Dad who did not let the gun kill Max, but fired it to stop John from killing us. At first I thought it was just to get revenge on John for running him off the road and killing him. But Dad would never get revenge on another person, no matter what they did to him. I know that Dad made the gun go off because he loves Max and me so much he gave us one last gift: our lives. He saved us, and for that I will always remember him.

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