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The Gun in His Schoolbag( a Short Story)

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"Are you going to watch the match this evening?” Dave asked his friend as they walked home slowly from school. “Yeah I might” Daniel shrugged. “Well you can watch it at my place; my mom won’t be home till past midnight” “Really?” Daniel asked excitedly. “Yeah” “Okay then, I will be there”. They said goodbye when they got to Dave’s house and Daniel continued the walk alone. Dave ran into the house, dumped his bag on the floor and went straight to the fridge. After eating, he switched on the TV and flipped through the channels but there was nothing of interest going on. He sighed and switched it off, thinking he might as well tackle the maths assignment that was due the next day. Muttering obscenities at his maths teacher, he snatched his bag off the floor and proceeded to his room.

Opening his bag, he stiffened when he saw something black. He pulled back and prodded his bag gingerly. When nothing moved or jumped out, he summoned courage and shook his bag, spilling its contents on the bed. He sifted through his books and gasped when he saw what he had been frightened of. And he had every reason to be frightened, for there was a gun lying on his bed. He stood there confused, thinking hard as to how the gun could have gotten in his bag but couldn’t fathom it.

His first thought was to call his mom. She would know what to do. He called her phone severally and finally gave up when there was no answer. He should have known, his mom was always so busy at her work place and had warned him not to call unless it was very important. “Well, this is important!” he thought angrily. He paced his room thinking, the whole time averting his gaze from where the gun lay. Then he stopped pacing abruptly. He knew what he was going to do.

“Where is it?” Lawrence demanded of his brother. He watched with a growing sense of fear and anger as his brother’s expression changed. “Oh my God, I forgot” he exclaimed. “You forgot what?” Lawrence asked impatiently. “Mum said she was going to clean my room so I took it to school, but…” Lawrence punched him in the face before he could finish. Daniel held his face, his eyes streaming and watched his older brother in fear. “Where is it now?” Lawrence yelled. “It’s with my friend, I left it in his bag” he sobbed. Lawrence grabbed his shirt, "If you don’t get me the gun before seven o’clock I will kill you” he spat and threw him on the floor. He then stormed out of the house leaving Daniel crying behind him.

Dave hurriedly changed his clothes, wrapped the gun carefully in a piece of cloth and put it in his bag. He was locking the front door when Daniel appeared. “Hey, it’s not seven yet, or has the match time being changed?” Dave asked. “No I just wanted to hang out before it started. Where are you going anyway?” Daniel asked anxiously. “You won’t believe it, I saw a freaking gun in my bag” Dave whispered. “What?” Daniel replied, his heart pounding. “I know right?” “So where is it now?” “It’s in my bag, I’m going to report it at the station” “No!” Daniel yelled.

“What?” Dave asked his friend incredulously and Daniel began to sob. “I put the gun in your bag Dave” he said amidst sobs. “What?” Dave asked in disbelief. “Please just let me explain” Daniel begged. Dave hesitated a moment and then unlocked the door.

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Both boys walked into the living room and stood looking at each other. After minutes of uncomfortable silence, Dave said “Go on, explain” Daniel took a deep breath and launched into his story. His brother had asked him to keep the gun safe as no one would suspect a fifteen year old of carrying a weapon. He had kept it under his bed but had taken it to school with him when his mom had decided to go on a cleaning spree that day.

As luck would have it, a classmate’s stuff was stolen and the teacher had asked to search everyone’s bags. In his panic, he had slipped the gun into Dave’s bag while he wasn’t looking. Fortunately, the thief was found before the teacher got to the desk both boys shared, and in his relief he had forgotten to take the gun back.

Dave continued to stare at his friend in disbelief minutes after he had finished. “So, you were willing to throw me under the bus?” he asked when he finally found his voice. Daniel hung his head in shame and said nothing. Dave turned away in disgust and both boys knew that something had broken between them. “Why would you put yourself at risk like that anyway, you are freaking fifteen!” Dave said after a while. “He is my brother, I wanted to help him” “well what do you want to do now?” Dave asked. “Can I have the gun back?” Daniel asked timidly. “There is no way I’m giving you this gun Daniel, what if he is going to use it to hurt someone? Have you considered that?”

“Well he is going to hurt me if I don’t get it back!” Daniel exclaimed. “Look Daniel I know you think you have to do this because he is your brother, but you must decide now if you are going to do what is right, or what is easy.” Dave said sagely. Daniel sat down confused and scared. Dave waited patiently for him to make his decision, though he had decided to go ahead with his own decision irrespective of his friend’s choice. Finally, Daniel stood up jaw set and declared his decision.

Lawrence was trying his best not to lose his cool. He was the only one out of the whole gang that didn’t have a gun. Looking back now, he berated himself for giving his kid brother such a sensitive material to deal with. But everyone had been so suspicious of him ever since he came out of jail that he had to be very careful.

“Lawrence I don’t think you would be able to go with us, since no one brought a spare gun” said Dray, the leader of the gang. Lawrence cursed silently. If he didn’t go with the gang for the robbery, he wouldn’t have any share of the proceeds. “Look Dray, I think...” he began, but Dray never found out what he thought, for at that moment, a police siren was heard. Before the gang could fully react, they were surrounded by the police. Lawrence didn’t know who had tipped the police off, but what he did know was that he was going back to jail.

“You did the right thing son” said the fat officer, as he handed both boys cups of coffee. Daniel nodded and forced a smile. “I’ve called both your moms, they should be here soon” he continued. Both boys nodded and he gave each a pat on the back and walked away. Both boys avoided each other’s gaze and after a while Daniel cleared his throat and said “I’m really sorry for what I did Dave” “its fine” Dave replied shortly. “Do you think we can still be friends?” Daniel asked hopefully. A short silence greeted his question, and then Dave said, “We’ll see”

© 2020 Oshinowo Sherif

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