The Joke This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   It was just a joke.

He was slouched in front of the television,

Engrossed by little Mario zipping across the screen.

I looked at the metallic black barrel of the shotgun.

Scary, even when motionless.

My hand shaking,

I gingerly removed it from the shelf.

Like a stealth bomber,

I moved with no sound.

No shadow.

No possible detection.

Laughing inside, thinking

Of his face, his expressions of




And possibly, horror.

I slithered through the crack of the door,

And he did not notice.


He did no acknowledge my call.


Pausing the game, he

Glanced in my direction.

He saw the gun.

His thoughts, his feelings were evident.

More than I could have ever fathomed.

He fell back, causing the upstairs floor which we were on

To shake.

Just enough

For the trophy on the back wall

To fall and startle me.

Just enough

For my legs to buckle

For my heart to start pounding

For my skin to sweat


For my finger to slip.

Just enough

To produce a click

And a crack.

The bullet

Otherwise seemingly as fast as light

Was slow enough

So I could track its every move.

Powerfully rifling through the air

It made its way toward him.

But only grazed his hair.

Smashed into the wall,

It caved in, leaving a gaping hole.

I saw

His expressions of surprise, and shock, and confusion, and horror.

This was not the joke I intended.

"Christ, Peter, what the hell are you doing?"

I looked at the cavity

Unstained with blood.

The one thought ran through his mind.

"Thank God he's not dead,

But, boy, are my parents going to kill me!"

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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