the short story project


Memphis Doll

1.5 pounds

1.1 pounds of plastic and metal loaded with 0.4 pounds of cold hard steel. For some reason he always figured a life would weigh more. 

As if the many experiences a person has in their lifetime, the lives they touch and the events they live through, somehow weigh down their very soul under the fates inevitably cut their string. 

But no. 

A life weighed approximately 1.5 pounds, and he was holding it in his hand. 

A single twitch of his muscle, even on reflex, and that would be it. 210 pounds of flesh would drop to the floor and 1.5 pounds would sink even lower, that is if you believe in the whole heaven and hell thing. At the moment he wasn’t quite sure if he did. 

There was no tiny angel on his shoulder begging him to put the gun down, or tiny devil coaxing him to pull the trigger. It was just him, his weapon, and a man whose 1.5 pounds were being weighed on the scale in his mind. 

Justice is blind, but he isn’t. He’s seen the evils this man has wrought, been on the receiving end of several of them even, but while he makes his decision he tries not to let their troubled past cloud his judgement. Justice is blind so that it can be truly fair, but life too often is too unbalanced to be fair. 

Will dropping the 1.5 pounds of this man’s life on one side of the scale be enough to balance it? Or will it be more akin to spitting in the ocean, leaving only his mouth dry and changed. 

There’s only one way to find out. So with a deep breath…. He fires. 

Humans lives can often be summed up fairly simply as: suddenly bright, loud,  and filled with activity until they’re just as suddenly met with silence. And it turns out that sometimes death is the same way. 

The flash from the barrel is bright, the shot loud, and now suddenly everything seems to have come to a standstill. The other man doesn’t move, he doesn’t move, and maybe he’s in shock but it also seems like the world around him has stopped moving to. There’s no sounds of animals or cars, no signs of life from the world around them, everything seems calm and silent and almost…. Peaceful. 

Slowly, he drops 1.4 pounds onto the ground and leaves, feeling so much lighter than the weight he just left behind.


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