Three shots was all it took for Harris Williams to capture the hummingbird in his backyard. He lined up his camera, and kept it steady. It was strange, he thought. Hummingbirds weren’t usually out this late. Three clicks later, he examined his work, satisfied. This would get him the first place prize for sure.
Three shots was all it took for Jamie Levi to become tipsy and stumbling in her high heels. She wandered the club, searching for someone to lean on. She found her phone in her hands, opened to a draft of a message to her ex. His chest would do nicely for support. She banged out a text, ridden with typos, and sent it. In the meantime, she could use some more drinks.
Three shots was all it took to incapacitate Pippin Arthur. One in his thigh, one in his shoulder. One between his ribs. He lay on the ground at the front of an alleyway, high out of his mind. He had come there for drugs and gotten bullets instead. His boyfriend would be so disappointed.
Two heaves was all Harris needed to lug his photo gear inside. It was supposed to rain tonight. He carried his camera in last, cradling it like a baby. “You’re going to get me a win,” he whispered to it, when a buzz on his phone distracted him. An illegible text from his ex-girlfriend, Jamie, popped up on his notifications. So she was drunk. Again. He rolled his eyes, set his camera down, and left his house. The first raindrops began to fall as he started the ignition.
Two heaves was all Jamie needed to barf up her dinner. She had eaten a plate of nachos at the beginning of the night; she finished them all and could recall the fabric of her mini dress pulled taut over her full stomach. The remains of the nachos now resided in the toilet behind the bar. She collapsed against the porcelain bowl. No one was there to hold her hair back, and no one was there to have her back.
Two heaves was all Pippin could manage as he struggled for breath in the alley. He suspected that blood had entered his lungs; he was coughing it up and spattering it on his clothes. It was a pity; he liked the sweater he had on. His boyfriend had bought it for him a few weeks ago, on their one year anniversary. It was blue, the same color of his boyfriend’s eyes. He imagined the sweater was a hug from his lover as he bled out.
Harris would always remember that date for a number of reasons. For one, the rain. He hated driving in it; it would always muck up his windshield even with the wipers on. It was also dark out. His hands gripped the wheel in anxiety as he drove to pick up Jamie from her favorite club. He would find her outside the bathroom, crying her eyes out. When he placed a hand on her shoulder, she sobbed harder. “Harrsss,” she slurred. “Harrsss. You came.”
Jamie would always consider that unofficial date their last. When Harris had shown up, she had known his scent meant safety. She vaguely recalled being helped up, cleaned up, and sobered up (slightly) by Harris. He had bought her a coffee, brought over some napkins and water, and helped her walk on her stilettos out of the club. She remembered walking to his car, which he had parked a few blocks away. She remembered passing an alleyway, when all of a sudden, his steady gait and strong arms weren’t there to guide her anymore. She had turned--almost falling--and found Harris crying at the feet of a dead man.
They served dates at Pippin’s funeral. It was strange, mostly due to the fact that anyone who knew Pippin well enough would know that Pippin hated dates. Harris was one of those people, so when offered one by the staff he politely refused. He felt that it would be an insult to Pippin’s memory. He nearly laughed when he remembered the conversation they had a month into dating each other. Pippin had said dates tasted like if someone turned the elderly into fruit. Now, remembering Pippin’s lighthearted wit made Harris’s heart ache. His dark suit felt like a mask, shrouding him in a dark cloud that hid his true emotions from everyone else in the funeral home. Several people had approached him, offering their condolences. Nothing could ever be enough to remove the pain, yet he grimaced and thanked them for their concern. Though Pippin was the one who had been shot, Harris swore he felt the bullets himself. His heart was bleeding, and he didn’t think it would ever stop.