This week one of the prompts from More Odds than Ends all but begged me to take it. [insert image here of little kid waving his hand at the teacher – pick me, pick me.]
The gun in the bathroom had been fired once, and the mirror lay in shards everywhere.
All I had to do was answer the questions of why and who.
I decided not to research this one, instead I outsourced. [grin] Much Thanks to Brena for answering a couple of firearm questions so I didn’t sound like a total duffus. Any mistakes in that section are mine, not bad intel.
If you read Night Hunts, you will recognize some of the cast. 😉
Thad stood in the doorway of the bathroom looking at the chaos. There was a .380 semi automatic lying on the floor, he could tell that it had been recently fired just by the smell. The mirror over the sink had been shattered by a bullet, presumably from the same gun, and apparently someone’s fists. There also a hole in the wall from the round. Fortunately the round had lodged in a wall stud so it hadn’t travelled into the adjoining room.
It had started out as a disturbance call. Teenage son had been home alone, neighbors called it in saying they heard what sounded like fighting. Thad and Rhea had gotten there just after the parents. They were in the master bedroom trying to get son to explain what had happened.
Thad could hear the son insisting that he’d been goofing around and the gun “just went off”. Dad was not happy and Mom was almost freaking out.
Thad shook his head and stepped into the other room. The parents were shouting; Dad was railing at the son about not following proper gun safety and Mom was crying that they shouldn’t have the gun in the house in the first place. A regular Ward and June Cleaver, he thought.
Rhea nodded to him and stepped away from the family sitting on the bed. “What’ve ya got?”
“.380 in the middle of the mirror.” He jerked his head towards the wall. “Really odd place to “accidently” fire a round.”
“Maybe he was posing?” Rhea suggested with a half grin. “One too many ‘banger vids or something, thought he’d see what it looked like?”
Thad snorted softly and eyed the kid. From what he could see, Mom and Dad notwithstanding, the kid didn’t seem the kind to go gangster. But then the Menendez boys had seemed “normal”. “So you’re not thinking EDP?”
“Nah, not more than any other teen. I think it was an accident. No one was hurt. I suppose, if we wanted to press the issue, we could call it Discharging within a building. The kid’s over 18 so there’s no Reckless Endangerment against the father for not having it locked up.”
“But…” Thad prompted.
“But, no one was hurt. Neighbors heard him shouting and the mirror break, but not the gunshot. The only real damage seems to be to the mirror. Unless the parents want to press charges, I’d say write it off as teen drama, maybe say that he punched the mirror and leave it go.” She cast a point look at the kid’s towel wrapped hand.
“Well, no photos were taken and no one called in evidence techs. You talk to the parents, let me speak to the kid? Maybe we can close this out with just a carefully worded report.”
Rhea nodded and walked back over to the bed. Thad motioned for the teen to follow him, then casually draped an arm over his shoulder as they walked.
He motioned for the teen to sit in one of the living room chairs. “Okay, Ian, you want to tell me what happened?”
Ian shrugged. “I got the gun from Dad’s night stand and was goofing off. I guess I pulled the trigger on accident. It just went off.”
Thad nodded. “I see. And why did you take it into the bathroom? Why not out here?”
Ian blushed and ducked his head. “I wanta see what it looked like.”
“I see. So, um, why’d ya hit the mirror?” Thad nodded to the towel around Ian’s hand.
Ian looked at his hand as if seeing it for the first time. “I, ah, I was … trying to hide the bullet hole.”
Thad studied him silently for a moment. Ian turned scarlet, almost matching his hair, and started to examine the toe of his shoe. “I’ll tell you what,” Thad finally broke the silence, “when you decide you’re ready to talk about what really happened, give me a call.” He pulled a card out of his shirt pocket and held it out to the teen.
Ian slowly looked up, started to reach for the card then hesitated, looking from the card to Thad. “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”
“You know, that I believe.” Thad glanced towards the bedroom door. “So, here’s the deal. Unless your parents want to press the issue, we’re not going to charge you with anything.”
“I didn’t, I mean, nothing,” Ian stammered.
“Yes, technically, you could be charged with discharging a firearm inside a dwelling. But, since no one was hurt, I’m inclined to let it go with a warning: Stopping fucking around with your Dad’s guns.” There was a hint of a growl behind that warning. “If you want to learn how to shoot, get Dad to take you to a range. There are half a dozen with half an hour’s drive.”
Thad and Rhea wrapped up the conversations, filed the report and considered the incident done.
A week passed with no farther contact, Thad guessed that Ian had decided not to come clean and started to write it off. You could offer all the help in the world but unless someone wanted that help, you could only stand by and watch.
Almost a month had passed, and the accidental discharge incident had been buried under over a hundred other incidents, nearly forgotten, when he got a text from an unfamiliar number.
Ian said he wanted to talk. Thad sent back a meeting time and place. Two days later he watched a beat up Corolla pull into his cousin’s driveway. A moment later Ian walked up and shook his hand, fresh scars showing on his hand. Thad gave him a warm smile and nodded towards the door.
“Thanks for getting back to me Officer Wilhelm.” Ian lowered his head and watched his shoes as they walked in. “I wasn’t sure you’d remember, let alone answer.”
“I’m off duty, call me Thad. This is my cousin Winfriede,” he inclined his head towards his cousin. “Winfriede, this is the young man I was telling you about. I am hoping you can help him, or point him in the direction of someone who can.”
Ian looked up and started at Winfriede for a moment.
“Hello Ian. Please have a seat.” She gave him a warm smile and waved a hand towards the seat across from her.
Ian slowly lowered himself into the chair and looked around. If he was expecting something out of the Addams family or New Age kitsch, he was disappointed. The room looked as normal as his own living room. He turned to look at Thad before answering Winfriede. “Why did you think I was lying?”
“Where the bullet hit.” Thad grinned and flopped into the other chair.
“Hun?” Ian blinked in confusion. Winfriede smiled knowingly and settled back in her seat to watch and listen.
“If, as you claim, you had been posing, the round should have hit the lower part of the mirror, about shoulder high. The round I saw was higher, about head high. As if you were shooting at something; something you could only see in the mirror.”
Ian’s eyes widened in shock and fear. He tensed as if considering bolting and looked between the cousins. Slowly he realized that there was no sign of disbelief in their expressions and relaxed. He took a deep breath and tried to figure out where to start.
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