Marcin teaches Kev how to shoot

A tiny story fragment written for a request someone sent me on tumblr. Kev and Marcin are from ‘In Case of Emergency’ in Love Under Fire.

Kev clutched his takeout coffee cup to his chest. A tendril of steam rose up through the hole in the lid and was immediately whipped away by the wind. “Why are we out here in the middle of nowhere at the buttcrack of dawn?” Kev said. “I was gonna ask earlier. Did I ask earlier?”

“No. You asked why I’m so cruel and why you weren’t still in bed and then you begged for coffee.”

Kev raised his coffee cup to Marcin, who ignored him and started pulling guns out of a bag. “Uh,” Kev said.

“I was going to take you to a firing range,” Marcin said. “But in the end I decided it would be more practical if you learned on the weapons you’re most likely to encounter.”

Kev looked over the guns laid out on a fallen tree. There were three: two handguns, one small and one larger with a silencer screwed onto the end, and some kind of small assault rifle. “These are yours?”

“Yes. The rifle and the suppressor are both illegal in this state.” Marcin paused. “And I don’t have a handgun license. But that’s slightly beside the point. You do still want to learn how to shoot?”

“Yes,” Kev said. He burned his tongue getting as much coffee inside him as soon as possible and then set the cup down. “Okay. Wow. I’m awake! Let’s do this.”


Twenty minutes later, Kev’s wrists felt numb, his shoulders ached, and his ears were ringing. They’d used earmuffs for most of it, but Marcin had wanted him to hear how loud it was without them. It was loud. It was fucking loud. Which he’d remembered from the warehouse, sort of, but a lot his memories from that day were kind of hazy. The silencer (suppressor, Marcin insisted) was his new favorite thing.

“So when do I get my own?” he said.

“You don’t. Not any time soon.”

“Then what’s the point of all this?”

Marcin sat on the fallen tree and leaned back on his hands. “I’m teaching you to use my weapons because they’re the ones most likely to be close by if you need to defend yourself. Because you are most likely to be in danger if you’re with me.”

“But if you’re there, why wouldn’t you be the one–” Kev stopped.

“If I’m capable of defending you, of course I will,” Marcin said.

Kev got a vivid mental image of himself pulling a gun off Marcin’s dead or wounded body. He shook out his hands and looked out across the frosted grass at the targets. He could feel Marcin watching him, probably for signs of panic.

“Okay,” Kev said. “You better show me again.”