He stared at the gun lying on the bed.It was in his possession for nearly half his life and he’d never known what to do with it. The funny thing was, he’d always hated guns and yet, here he was.
He heard his wife moving around downstairs and knew that very soon she would call him for a cup of tea. He had to get the gun back into its hiding place.
He thought back to the first time he’d seen it. A late night knock at the door and a man from down the street had handed the gun and ammunition to him, wrapped in fertiliser bags.
“What the hell is this?” he’d blurted out.
“It’s a gun,” the man had said showing no expression.
“What are you giving it to me for?” he’d whispered, not wanting his family to hear them.”
“Because I trust you,” he’d replied.
“What the hell do you mean, you trust me? You hardly know me! And all I know about you is that you’re mixed up in the IRA. I have a family and I don’t give a damn about the North. Now please get away from my door and take that thing with you.”
The man had stared at him, but all calm had disappeared from his features. Then he spoke through gritted teeth.
“Now listen to me. The guards are going to be here shortly. Something serious happened tonight and now you’re mixed up in it, whether you like it or not. If you don’t take the gun from me now, when the guards arrive here and see us together, I’ll implicate you. Even if they don’t believe me, it will mean that you’ll have to stand up in Court and give evidence against me. Do you want that for your family? It would be much easier for you to stick the gun in the boot of your car drive off somewhere and hide it. But you’d better make your mind up fast, before they drive up and arrest us both.”
He often wondered why he’d taken it. Was it because he’d had sympathy for the man?He didn’t think so. Maybe it was the fear of being implicated, or like the man had said, being branded an informer. He wasn’t sure, but whatever the reason, it seemed like providence.
He heard his wife again. He heard her wheelchair go over the door saddle in the kitchen. He knew she was sitting there in the hallway looking up the stairs. He was safe upstairs, yet he always felt panic when he knew she was listening.
“Is that you love?” he called down.
“Yes, what are you doing up there?”
“I’m just checking my fishing gear.”
He hated lying to her but what could he say? That he was checking out his sniper rifle?
“Well I’m putting on a cup of tea, so finish up whatever you’re doing and come down and get it with me.”
“Right you are, just give me a minute. Cut up some of that Swiss Roll I bought yesterday.”
He pulled back the carpet, lifted the floorboards he’d loosened, and put the gun back in its hiding place. He felt a jolt of excitement. He’d already set his little plan in motion. They’re going to find out the hard way, that no matter who you are, you can’t escape justice.