Author : James Patrick Riser

The wheelchair’s wheels creaked as The Private rolled himself up to the desk. A clock on the wall: half past midnight.

There are no pictures.

In a drawer: a purple heart, a dogeared, worn bible and a standard issue, new-era handgun;

Digitally signed to it’s owner, smartgun.

“The first and last word in Military Killmachine Technology” (Copyright 2030)

The light shines off the scar tissue on the back of his hand as he reaches for the soft, comfort grip. The weapon contours to his palm as he switches the safety off.

“Hello Private. You have switched the safety off,” the gun reports.

The Private studies the gnarled flesh of the healed exit wounds on his arms before putting the gun to his temple.

Pulling the trigger.

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up,” the gun responds.

The Private’s eyes flicker to The Bible in his drawer.

Pulling the trigger.

“Do not be a fool–why die before your time?” the smart weapon asks.

Pulling the trigger.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

The Private closes his eyes so tight, a tear forms, races down his cheek, cutting through stubble.

Pulling the trigger.

“You are attempting to deface government property. Automatic safety switching back on.”

The Private puts the gun down and produces a bottle of scotch from another drawer, a small glass; He pours himself three fingers.


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