I was hanging out with my parents. My parents were having a thing, it was the Fourth of July, you know, so they had people over, they had everybody over, they were having a thing. I liked my parents, they were fine.

    So everybody came over, they’re all from my mom’s side, everybody came over, it was fine. But, you know, we all like to drink, so everybody came over and we were drinking and it was fine. But it was always fine until it wasn’t.

    At the end of the night I was hanging out with my dad and my uncle, everybody had left. My dad doesn’t drink anymore, he said, “what did I say?” My sister had left in a huff, and he didn’t know what he said. I kinda knew what he said, but it wasn’t a big deal, she overreacted, she got like that. 

   Later, I was hanging out with my mom and she said, “well he knows how she is when she’s drinking.” But we were all drinking. He didn’t drink anymore, but he had ideas, he had beliefs. We had opposing beliefs from him, he wasn’t talking about that, but it was always a comment away from becoming about that. So she left in a huff. My mom said “he knows how she gets.” 

   Everyone knew how everyone got, but it never made it any better, it always ended like that, it never ended with a song. 



   I was there too, I was in line with them. Hard to say I was just an innocent bystander. I was there just as much as they were.   

  But I had the decency to never reproduce, give me that at least. At least I didn’t bring a clan of mini savages with me, and at least I wasn’t yelling a very personal conversation into my phone while ignoring the savages as they ran amok. Throwing hula hoops at each other and anyone else who crossed their paths, screaming across the store to the asshole who brought them into this world about some bullshit toy they wanted, as the asshole ignored them and yelled a very personal conversation into their phone, while their stomach drooped past the bottom of their shirt. Give me that, at least I didn’t bring all that, I just brought myself, give me that.  

   I had to have headphones in, I took out my headphones for a few seconds to focus on a text. I took out my headphones to concentrate and I heard the asshole’s personal conversation and the screaming savages and everyone else’s bullshit, and I understood mass shootings. I didn’t have a gun, but I understood mass shootings in that moment. 

  But I was there, I chose to be there. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I could’ve went somewhere else, but I went there. The sunglasses came in cool colors, and although the phone cases were dirt cheap, they were sturdy as fuck, so I decided to go there, I made that choice, I’ll concede that. 

  The guy at the register was old, too old to be the register guy at this place. Aloof teens should have been the only ones manning the register in such a god forsaken establishment. Instead it was this old man. He grinned at the behavior of the mini savages at one point, I was blown away. I was still somewhat young, and didn’t even work the register here, and I now understood mass shootings. Yet this old man, working an aloof teens job, grinned at these savages. He grinned as if to say, “kids, amirite?” But I thought they were complete savages. I was rooting for one of them to somehow get hurt by the hula hoops they were fucking with.

  I was there too, there was absolutely no denying that. I didn’t have to be there, I could’ve ordered a phone case and sunglasses online. That was the truth, I could’ve done that. But I was there. I was there with my nose up in the air, my eyes rolling back until I could see my brain. My higher functioning brain, higher than these savages and that fuckin asshole on the phone. Higher than the old man working an aloof teen’s job. Higher. Even though I was there too, even though I was also waiting in line. I could’ve left at any moment, I could’ve walked right out the door.