The Second Door:

Denver looks at me in the dim light.

“Daniel, I don’t know. Hearing that, coming here. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but out loud, it just sounds crazy.”

I swallow the fact that I’d been trying to tell him the same thing for two days.

“I don’t know either, man. We could just go home. Get some burgers, forget all this shit ever happened.”

“But this shit did happen, man.”

“What does that mean?”

“I need to see it through.”

“Denver, if you go through that door, you can’t turn around. That’s a life changer. You’re one of those guys, and even if you change your mind, that’s the kind of thing that sticks to you. Let’s just fucking go.”

“Not that door. The other one. I think that might be something I need to hear.”

“Denver, if you want to have that conversation, that’s cool. We can have it. Let’s not do it here.”

“I might need some help Daniel, and you’ll always be my brother. I’m not sure I can hear it from you.”

He turns toward the doors and, before I can come up with an argument better than hamburgers, he’s through.

He’s barely in when the bang comes. I freeze for a second, trying to process what happened. I run for the door.

“Fuck, Tyler, why did you do that?!?”

There are five or six of them in the room. I can only really see Denver, who’s lying on the ground choking, and the skinny kid standing a few feet away holding a gun.

“I don’t know! He came through the door and I got scared! It just happened.”

I snap to and get down next to Denver. I’ve seen enough movies to know that he’s bad off.

“Hey! Do any of you have a cell phone? We need to call an ambulance!”

They stand there, staring at Tyler, staring at us.

“I said do any of you have a phone? You shot my brother!”

Tyler is upset. He looks like he’s going to cry.

“I’m…I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to do it.”

“I need a phone!”

“This was just supposed to be a joke.”

I don’t want to leave Denver, so I try to calm down.

“That’s fine. It was an accident. Okay. Let’s fix it. One of you call for help. Please.”

“We were going to fuck with some Q freaks and make some videos.

“Okay. Please call someone.”

None of them are making a move for their phones. Tyler seems to be getting more upset.

“And I brought this for protection. It’s not even mine. It’s my mom’s boyfriend’s.”

He looks at the gun like it just appeared in his hand.

“Fuck. I fucked up. I’m sorry. Is that your friend?”

“My brother. And he’s going to be fine if one of you will just call someone. He needs help.”

“Man, I’m sorry. This was like, a joke. Fuck.”

None of them are moving. They’re all looking at Tyler.

“You know, we’re liberals. Like, good people. This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Tyler sounds calmer.

“I’m really sorry.”

Denver coughs and Tyler looks at him for a second, then back to me. The rest of them are still staring at him, waiting for him to do something.

I’m in trouble.

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