Made of Broken Things

Dorian Turner
4 min readSep 15, 2020

Chapter 1

The handgun was holstered on the officer’s hip buttoned down and secured by a seemingly leather strap, but Howell couldn’t tell for sure if it was leather or a highly polished plastic composite. He’d assumed the Boykins PD wasn’t cutting corners when it came to upholstered holstery, but this fleeting obsession with fabric quickly resulted in a who really knows or cares conclusion. It was interesting, as he relaxed his eyes and focused in on the weapon he became lost within himself. True, he was still standing in line at the bagel shop. A black coffee had drawn him in but it was the blueberry bagel which seduced him with its strawberry cream cheese negligee. He loved that his seemingly rational and intellectual mind lied to him so effortlessly and convincingly as if the fruit topping laden with a sugar and cream concoction somehow transformed the carbohydrates they sat upon as a healthier option than the donut in the case to his right. The fleeting thought only gave Howell momentary solace as that handgun summoned his attention teasing him in the reflection of the glass case. He imaged what it would feel like in the palm of his hand. The textured grip against his palm and fingertips. The oddly cold metal which felt more like a personality than a temperature. How he would manipulate it’s weightiness, leaning into the officer as if stumbling, one hand on the butt of the weapon the other draped across the officers back to manipulate his shoulder. All this would take place while applying pressure with just the right leverage on the standard issue sidearm popping the snap on the polished pleather strap allowing Howell to squeeze two off underneath the officers rib cage.

It’d be so easy.

Of course, no one called him Howell anymore, in fact, very few ever did. The forty-one year old professor at the local theological institution — Waters Bible College — was known as Professor Howell Gibbs, or just Gibbs by those who had any relationship with him beyond student/teacher. There was nothing overly noticeable about Gibbs. He was a standard young professor filled to the brim with knowledge the result of which left his past hollow and void of human interaction let alone relationship. The demands of getting to where he was now — which is where he has wanted to be for as long as he can remember — formed that wake of a relational void; but he got used to filling his time with work and other things. Other things that weren’t a public matter by any stretch of the imagination. It was as if Gibbs profession was the fruit on his recreational carbohydrates.

“Next!”

Gibbs had been slipping into these day dreams more and more lately. He didn’t think of them as daydreams through, instead he thought of them more as fantastical fixations. They’re themes rarely the same. Sometimes it was a random murder of a police officer standing in front of him at a bagel shop, other times it was carnal seduction or even vehicular manslaughter. When these fantastical fixations grew more and more prevalent Gibbs knew his rationale became increasingly less trustworthy. He was prone to zoning out, overlooking details. He once replied to a students text regarding an examination study guide with a kissy face emoji instead of the thumbs up he so regularly overused. It was a simple mistake, one that resulted in some uncomfortable interactions in class for a week or so but nothing more. These fantastical fixations served for Gibbs as a warning sign. Much like a the feeling of gravel under the feet of a major league outfielder who is chasing a fly ball. Once the grass turns to gravel, you’re near the wall… that’s why its called the warning track. These fantasies, they were Gibbs warning track, and when he felt this gravel under his feet it was not the time for his recreational activities. No, these fantasies were too regular… the leather strap… the gun… the fake stumble… it’d all be so easy…

And the fantasies are so real. In that brief moment of clarity Gibbs feels a tactile bump on his left elbow from behind, in his mind he spins around dropping the freshly wounded officer to the floor before grabbing the man who disturbed his physical proxy by the back of the neck forcing the cold personality of the gun past his while veneers, scraping porcelain until the man gags just enough that his eyes fill with tears.

“NEXT!!”

“Hey Gibbs. Gibbs, you okay? You’re up.”

Just like that, Gibbs was back in the bagel shop. Bell on the door finishing it’s ring after the Boykins officer exited the eatery. It was Gibbs professorial peer Chet Landon who had tapped him on the shoulder as the woman behind the counter couldn’t get his attention.

“Oh yeah… hey Chet, thanks for bringing me back,” Gibbs said with a degree of social humor only recognizable by satirical manipulators. That kind of humor that doesn’t give two shits that nobody notices it’s intentionally poor delivery.

“Sorry about that,”

“No worries, I’m paid by the hour sweetie. What can I make you this morning?”

“Blueberry bagel, toasted, strawberry cream cheese.”

The healthy choice.

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Dorian Turner

lover of humans. participant of family. seeker of self. oracle of opinion.