Thirteen Today

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sam is thirteen today, no longer a child. He just hopes his Dad keeps his promise.
Thanks for the inspiration, Mike!!

Submitted: June 26, 2016

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Submitted: June 26, 2016

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Thirteen Today!

 

Happy birthday, Sam,” Ryan Metcalf said. “But this is not just any birthday now, is it son?”

 

Sam looked up at his father expectantly. He knew what he wanted him to say. He knew what he thought he was going to say. But until his father uttered the words he would not quite let himself believe it.

 

Today,” Ryan said, “you are thirteen years old. No longer a child, but a TEENAGER!” Ryan performed an imaginary drum roll!

 

Yeah, so....” Sam was still keeping a lid on his excitement. He really couldn't bear to be disappointed today. Disappointment on your birthday, he'd been told, ruined the whole of the year.

 

That means that you are going to have to start being RESPONSIBLE! When I'm away I'm going to be thinking, 'There's nothing to worry about at home because Sam is in charge.'”

 

Again Sam just stared at Ryan. He still had not said the words Sam so much wanted to hear.

 

Ryan cleared his throat and continued. “I am going to be confident that everyone will be safe because YOU will know how to keep them that way.”

 

Sam was starting to bounce up and down. He was going to say it. They were going to do it. A whole year of waiting.......

 

Today, as a teenager, you, Sam, are going to learn to use this.” With a flourish Ryan produced a gun that he had stuck in the back of his waistband.

 

Hurray!” Sam didn't bother to try to hide his enthusiasm. But then he thought that maybe he was behaving just a bit too childlike for the teenager he now was. He stopped jumping around, calmed himself down and said in a more controlled voice,

Thanks, Dad!”

 

Now, we're going to go on out to the range and I'm going to teach you just what to do with this little beauty. But, just one thing, Sam. Your mother doesn't know so we must slip out quickly and quietly.” Ryan winked at his son and Sam smiled, liking the idea that he and his father were having their own little secret.

 

Okay, Dad. I'll be quiet. When can we go?”

 

Well, Sam. The way I see it, there's no time like the present. I'll gather up some ammo, while you get used to handling this baby here. Don't be nervous. It's not loaded. Yet,” Ryan added.

 

Great, Dad! Meet you on the range in a few minutes.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

When Ryan got to the range he could see Sam standing there, holding the gun in one hand and pretending to shoot all the bad guys he made out were sneaking up on him. Looked just like he did when he was five years old, playing Western games with his cousins.

 

But Sam was a big boy now, almost a man, and the time for games had gone. A teenager was big enough for the real thing.

 

Okay, Sam! I see you've been getting used to handling her. But now we're going to get serious.”

 

For the next while Ryan had Sam stand in front of the target just so. He showed him how to hold the gun, just so. And he showed him how to aim.

 

Are you confident, son? Do you want to give it a shot?” Ryan laughed at his own unintended joke.

 

Yeah, I think I'm ready.” Once again, Sam found himself getting excited. After all, he was only a few hours past being a child so he couldn't be expected to not behave a bit like one.

 

Ryan loaded the gun and handed it carefully to Sam. “Just forget for a minute that there is anything different. Stand like you practised. That's right. Now hold the gun in both hands. Steady now!”

 

Sam stood, gun pointed towards the target. He squinted up his eyes. This was going to be his first shot and he wanted to make it a good one. If he could get centre target his dad would be so proud.

 

Okay, Sam. Are you ready? Gently squeeze the trigger.”

 

The bang made Sam jump, he hadn't expected it to be so loud. It even made Ryan flinch as he hadn't pulled the trigger himself and braced himself for it. The kickback made Sam stagger. He hadn't been warned about that.

 

And the bullet? Neither of them had a clue where it had gone. It certainly hadn't hit the centre of the target, or anywhere else on it, so it seemed.

 

Sam was so disappointed. He felt his bottom lip start to quiver but he was not going to cry. His arm hurt but he was not going to let that stop him.

 

Let me try again, Dad. Please!”

 

Of course you can, son. Nobody gets it perfect with their first shot.”

 

But Sam's second shot went wide, then his third, fourth and fifth. He was despondent. He had disappointed his father, and he had disappointed himself. He started to hand the gun back when his father stopped him.

 

Go on. Have one more go. You've got one bullet left.”

 

Neither Ryan nor Sam were quite sure what happened. Maybe in his haste to try again Sam was careless. Maybe Ryan was handing it back to him when his hand slipped. They both knew there was a big bang. They both dropped the gun. And they both stared in open mouthed shock, staring at what was Ryan's foot. The bullet had entered straight down and had passed right through the sole of his boot straight into the ground underneath.

 

Sam turned tail and ran. He didn't care that he was a teenager. He didn't care that he was a child no longer.

 

Mum! Mum, help.” Sam was sobbing as his mother opened the door. “I've just shot Dad!”

 

She went to get her phone before making her way to the range. “Stay with your sister. Watch her, you hear.”

 

And as she walked on down the path Sam heard her clearly say, “Stupid man deserves it.”


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