A Song and a Pistol

by Nadiyah Abdul-Khaliq

She stood in the spotlight of the nightclubs half-moon stage and sung Etta James At Last to a lone piano as if the artist herself were singing through her. Aaat Laaast, she sang, her arms slowly rising at her sides like she was ready to lift herself to heaven with each note. She sang in a voice as rich and smooth as holiday chocolate. Every lyric that gracefully swung from her red lips was sung in perfect harmony with the silent life of her seduced audience.

The pianist played behind her, shaking his head and swaying from side-to-side as the notes went up and down, left and right. He was the wings on the song bird, making them both fly. My looove has come along.

Every man in the room was her lover, every woman her hand-maiden, willingly serving their beneficent queen for providing them with these gorgeous moments of bliss. The world, seated at round tables, and cushy green booths under the illustrious light of crystal chandeliers, was hers.

She wrapped her warm welcoming fingers around the microphone as if it were her lovers face and slowly moved down the stand, easily forcing the men into an upright position. The skies above are blue. Her hips swayed from side-to-side. The light rippled from the subtle black sequins strategically sewn on her deep blue dress and worked its way through the sheer blue sleeves, giving her a perfect silhouette. For you are mine at last. Oh, yeah yeah.

During the pianists cool melodic solo, the incarnation of a Shakespearian sonnet slowly moved her hands up the slits in the sides of her gown that rose a little past her knee and removed two pistols she had strapped to her thighs. Although, some seemed to notice the shiny, black handguns, it wasnt until she fired the first shot into the crowd that her hypnotic trance was broken. I found a dream, that I could speak to. Without ever losing her place in the song, without the slightest change in her breathing, she fired shot after shot into the panicked crowd, singing acapella after the pianist ran off.

Never losing her innocent, come-hither stare, she shot the people in the back of the room first, making it hard for the ones in front to reach the exits. In raging desperation, many of her unsuspecting victims tripped over the bodies they didnt see and were trampled; their last moments being filled with fear, confusion, and pain as they lived briefly through the torment of crushed hands, skins, and vertebrae. Over the sound of rhythmic gunfire and screams was her voice, still singing in that same honey tone.

Before her performance was over, no one was left alive, no one was in the club save her and her husband of 10 years who was holding his mistress of 4, cradling her bloody, cracked and punctured skull in his arms. They were sitting more than 20 feet from each other, pretending to ignore each others presence, trying to hide the affair from her husband and his wife; but everyone knew. Everyone knew about the affair, knew there was a possibility the baby was his, knew that his wife had found out, but no one wanted to say anything, no one wanted to acknowledge her pain.

You smile. You smile, she sang as she dropped a gun and walked off the stage like a classic-movie star, taking the microphone with her. Her high-heeled hips moved in a figure-eight motion befitting a woman of her coke-bottle stature as she stepped over bodies and into pools of blood, and broken glasses and dishware, with hardly a downward glance. Oh, and then the spell was cast. She continued to serenade him in unassuming, horrific, elegance.

With the microphone amplifying her harp-like vocal chords in one hand and a gun in the other, she kneeled to her husband. With brown, prismatic eyes she stared into his like a loving wife ready to open herself to him where they stood; but in the back of her mind she remembered his promise to stay with her even though she was incapable of bearing children.

He couldnt keep his eyes off of her. It was as if shed gone from being real to some bodiless spirit imagined in his mind. And here we are in heaven, she sang. She was a great white light calling him. And he was no longer able to focus on the quiet carnage around him, the bullet holes in every wall and bone. He could no longer hold the head of his precious heir-bearing side-item relaxing and letting her head slowly slide down his chest forever soiling his suit with blood and brain. He was unable to say, no, to not follow, to not go with her, to not go in to her white light.

Like the memory of a dream, she retreated from him, slowly rising to her feet. He watched her fade away and wanted to reach for her, to stop her from leaving him, but he couldnt move. He was a living man in a dead body. For you are miiiiiiine, she sang as she focused her gun on him. When she was ready, she fired her last five bullets landing them in his abdomen, chest, and head. She dropped her last gun, closed her eyes, and wrapped her fingers around the microphone. Aaat laaaast.

Thank you, she said bowing to her audience. She turned around, walked up the steps to the stage, and exited stage left.

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