Stripped to his shorts, still sweating after pumping iron, Kurt inserted the rifle’s barrel in his mouth. His .338 Lapua Magnum with the telescopic lens, used by army snipers, seemed inappropriate, so he chose his father’s single shot hunting rifle. He remembered the year before his father died, the autumn hunting trip they had taken to slaughter small game. Dad blew the head off three rabbits; he nicked the ass of a fox, but plugged a squirrel right off a branch. The trick about shooting yourself through the mouth was to position the barrel in such a way that the bullet rocketed through the upper palate and ripped into the brain, riveting out the skull bone, and not back through the neck where it could do damage but not necessarily kill, unless it blasted the spinal cord. Billie demonstrated in front of a mirror. One shot directed behind the eyeballs and instantaneous death. Bloody, brains splattering, but no lingering.

He clicked and winced. Unloaded now. However effective, he couldn’t very well play Russian roulette with a single shot rifle.

Terry was expected any moment. If they played roulette and he lost, then Terry would be left alone and possibly chicken out. Terry had to go with him. He couldn’t leave behind what had become an inseparable part of his existence. When he imagined the scenario, Terry was kneeling, arms cuffed behind his back. Then he’d insert the barrel into the teacher’s mouth, letting it rest on the tongue before slanting it so the tip touched the upper palate just in front of the uvula. He would be very close to Terry, their bodies touching, and he would speak in the trembling cunt’s ear about how much they needed to do this to free themselves from this shit-soaked world.

Maybe buzzed on poppers or skunk to ease the nerves, or a flogging first, would get Terry in the proper frame of mind. After a beating, he always whimpered how much he loved the soldier and would do anything Kurt wanted. Terry could never be happy without him, and he now entered the apartment with a flushed face like a boy running home with good news. A six-cartridge hand gun would handle better under the circumstances than a rifle: first Terry taking the barrel in the mouth as if he was about to suck cock, Kurt holding his head, encouraging and loving, whispering what Terry needed to hear, then shooting as the tears rolled down his friend’s cheeks. Terry would cry from the ecstasy of sheer relief, from knowing he’d never be separated from his beloved soldier, and Kurt would then immediately press the barrel against his own temple, shoot, no chickening out, soldiers trained to kill also knew how to die, and their bodies would tumble into each other in death and they would be together and free forever.

He slid open the glass door to the balcony, where flies buzzed above the garbage can and humidity lowered the city pollution like a piss-drenched sheet. Shooting from a distance with the Lapua Magnum, taking out the enemy unawares until his body jolted back from the force of a sniper’s bullet, would also do the job. In the field, sniping concentrated his nerves, his body rigid with purpose as he took aim, sighting not a human being, but an object to be removed, an obstacle to be eliminated, a target, a disposable thing without significance once dead.

If he hurled his beer bottle as accurately as he shot a rifle, it would bounce off a truck or family van or smash and splatter a windshield. He sat on the third-floor balcony in his boxer shorts, arms crossed on the rusted rail, watching highway traffic. Heat and pollution yellowed the air. If he aimed his Finnish made .338 Lapua Magnum rifle with telescopic lens, especially designed for hitting targets 1,300 yards away, he could produce perfect holes in windshields with cracks radiating out from the centre like blood shot eyes. Not standard issue; he had to pay big bucks and acquire a special license to purchase the weapon. To avoid temptation, he kept it locked in his bedroom closet. Besides, the neighbours would panic if they saw him draw a bead on his target. Civilians, he spat the word out.

There was Terry’s car, pulling into a parking station. When Terry got out, he, Kurt, could take aim with the Lapua Magnum from his balcony and watch his friend collapse on the gravel, dying without so much as a moment to look up, without knowing the reason why or source. Instant annihilation, and he, Kurt, would still be alive, alone, on the balcony. Well-trained in the army, so many hours at target practice that he had earned a reputation for being the best sharpshooter in the company; he understood how to handle his weapon, its responses and sensitivities. He wouldn’t miss.

Shooting his bitch from a distance, however, troubled him. Knocking off strangers one at a time, from his balcony, from an overpass, from a rooftop, even from the branches of the scraggly maple in front of his apartment building, would be easy, except he didn’t see pedestrians, and there was something cheap and cowardly about taking out civilians. But he focused on Terry, and at the moment, distance contradicted his purpose. An easy kill, but no eternal embrace at the last moment. If he shot Terry now, he wouldn’t be going out with his devoted friend, and sharing that sweet moment of extinction, sharp and sudden. They’d die separate deaths in separate spots, and Terry would never know how much he mattered, how necessary it was that they each take a bullet almost simultaneously in the same spot. No, he’d wait until Terry came into the apartment, and then he’d be patient with his bitch, getting him ready, persuading and convincing, cajoling and loving, drugging and beating, if need be, and soothing, until Terry overcame reluctance and fears and like an eager recruit jumping out of a helicopter before it touched ground, he’d say yes, yes, I’m ready, take me with you.

Sure, they could plummet down a cliff in Terry’s car, or jump off a bridge together and drown in a, but for most of his life he had carried firearms, his muscles had reacted to the recoil. He had trained with weapons in his hand; he had caressed a Kalashnikov; his body had vibrated as he controlled and directed merciless machine guns. His mind whitened with ferocity and knowledge of kill or be killed. When shooting, he didn’t remember or think about anything else except the purpose of the exercise, and the target, his whole body electric with anticipation of the explosive moment, like that piercing moment of no return in his hard dick during a good fuck when he unloaded in a cunt. One more movement, the irrevocably pulled trigger and: explosion, the hot thrill, all too brief. Maybe he’d fuck before the kill, and Terry would know in the throes of submission, understand without words, and accept with his heart the rare gift that he, Kurt, was giving him.

A shot directly to the temple or the back of the head, execution style, also presented a possibility, except that method was cold and brutal, the elimination of an insurgent or prisoner, not the way to go with someone like Terry. There was also the attraction of the heart. Hold the bitch in his arms, face to face, their breath mingling, the gun between their bodies, Terry’s fear like a fragrance, one tilt, one click, and the bullet would ram into the heart faster than the surprise in his eyes. Terry would collapse wordlessly in his arms, slide to the floor and lie over his boots. One last look at his dead friend, then aim the barrel at his own heart and shoot. Options presented themselves. One had to choose. Shooting through the heart might be less messy than blowing out the brains. A clean, elegant killing like lovers in one of those fucking Shakespeare plays Terry gabbed on about sometimes. In the field, though, he had never witnessed a clean and elegant death. Guts and brains and blood and body parts, and one half of a soldier screeching over his missing half, begging for death. A soldier always carried that image in his heart.


“I can’t live like this anymore, cunt. You know that. Assholes in command won’t recommend me for active service again. No go, too risky, my fucking medical condition.”

“I’m sorry, Kurt.”

“Shit, you’re sorry. I’ll flog your skin off you keep up that phony ‘you’re sorry’ shit. You’re glad they won’t take me, bitch, because that means I stay the fuck here and you want me to.”

“I want what you want, Kurt.”

“I want what you want, Kurt. Yeah, right. Get me a beer, you stupid cunt, and where the fuck are my fags?”

Terry’s knee almost buckled as he searched for and found a package under a pile of old military and hunting magazines on the coffee table, and lit one for the soldier who blew smoke in his face.

“At least you’re good for something, bitch.”

The tone in Kurt’s voice warned him of a great and present danger. This wasn’t play. This wasn’t fantasy. If he said the wrong thing, Kurt would grab him by the collar and smack him senseless, just keep beating on him until he begged the soldier to stop. He could smell the violence in the man’s mood like sewage. His own blood pulsed down the back of his throat as if the vessels had burst from Kurt’s pummelling and his face had swollen into a black and purple bruise. A flogging would be better, but he feared for his back, strips of flesh thin as bloody ribbons.  There would be no soothing salve, no endearing words. And, yes, Kurt was right. He was good for something. He was good for Kurt. He wanted Kurt here. He’d be half-alive and bereft without him, lumber about like a failed zombie who couldn’t even die properly. He’d participate in daily activities, engaged in domestic and social activities, teach, and open Christmas presents with family like anyone else in his life, but he’d be devoid of heart: a mere animated corpse whose soul had evaporated.

From time to time, he had envisaged his life if and when Kurt left for another tour of duty: every afternoon during the workweek, he’d drive to the vacated apartment before going home and sit in his car, whispering to the windshield, his body and mind both yearning for the absence to be filled. He now wanted to say “don’t leave me,” but that would be setting a match to dynamite. Kurt needed action, Terry understood as much, and the very fact that he had seen action in the military, had toughened his body in drills and combat and shared experiences with men whom he trusted with his life—all this, Terry, too, needed, so how could he lament the soldier leaving him to do what a soldier must? He cracked open a beer, offered it to Kurt, and sat on the floor. Kurt adjusted his legs to give him room between his black military boots. And Terry wondered why he had never seen Kurt in his tan boots, the kind soldiers wore in the sandbox of Afghanistan.

“Yeah, just where you belong, bitch. Your students should see you now. Don’t move unless I tell you to.”

“I wish you wouldn’t…”

Unsure of what he wanted to say, Terry’s breath burned in his lungs as if he, too, were smoking one of Kurt’s acrid cigarettes. Something was terribly wrong, something more than family squabbles and recalcitrant commanders at the armoury.

“Don’t fucking tell me what you wish I wouldn’t do, bitch, Jesus fuck, you cunt, I could beat the shit out of someone right now. I could kill someone. I’m horny as hell. Shit, shit, fuck this shit! Get me the phone, bitch. It’s on the night table.”


For all installments of “A Good Kill,” click here.