One Shot


by Brian Gates

“Man cannot see the future, but once in a blue moon, the future calls out to man.”

What would you do if you knew about future tragedies before they occurred? Would you stop it?

Jack Shot is bartender, content to do his job and focus on working up the courage to ask out Abby. Then one night a stranger walks in, turning Jack’s life upside down. After the chilling encounter, the riddles start appearing. Jack must decode them and stop the massacres, or risk condemning the lives of countless innocents.


Chapter One

My name is Jack Shot.

As it turns out, I lead an interesting life.

That’s not to say your own life isn’t interesting. I’m sure your existence on this blue planet is filled with its own shocking and exciting events too. We are both flying through space at sixty-seven thousand miles-per-hour on a rock which, on the cosmic scale, is nothing more than a speck of dust, after all. It’s hard to imagine things could ever get dull.

You may be wondering why my name is even important.

Well, to be honest, it’s not.

If we are going by today’s standards, one must be famous to have his or her name engraved in metaphorical stone. The rest of us will be forgotten in time, and several generations later it will be as though we never existed. I do not find this to be a sad thing. When dead, I doubt I will care about being remembered.

I am not famous. I do not care about getting famous. I am not related to any famous people. And for the most part, I cannot recall ever having even met anyone famous.

Once at a local fair, at the age of fourteen, I shook hands with a fat man who had just set the record for the most watermelons smashed with his head. That was my closest brush with stardom.

I am writing this not because I have any desire to achieve that worshiped celebrity state through massive book sales and an interview with Larry King, but for my own sanity.

I like to write.

It gives me peace of mind, although when pen hits the paper, poems are nearly always the result. What I am doing now is a bit out of context for me, but I feel it needs to be done.

I’ve been writing poems for nearly as long as I can remember. They aren’t half bad, either. Don’t get me wrong; you won’t find any of my works inside a Hallmark card, or even published for that matter. However, those who have read them all managed to avoid vomiting where they stood, so I take that as a good sign.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering just what attributes make up my not-so-normal life. I promise; I’ll get there. If I told you right now, I am not sure you would believe me. I would not blame you either, because often I don’t believe it myself.

For all I know, I could be living in my own mind, a severely brain-damaged patient currently rocking back and forth in the padded cell of a mental hospital. I’m pretty sure that is not the case, but with all that’s happened I cannot rule out the possibility. To be honest, I’m not even sure I dislike that idea. It would make things a lot simpler, to be sure.

Actually, I take that back. I don’t think I would prefer that reality. Even if the world existed only in my head, then not only would I be going through copious amounts of unnecessary stress, but I’d probably also be drooling on myself.

It’s a give-and-take situation at best.

For the time being, please give me the benefit of the doubt that this is reality, in which case there is one more thing I should explain to you. I tend to get lucky. Now, I should probably clarify that. By “get lucky” I am not referring to the slang used to describe a potential sexual experience. My luck is a bit different.

For example, during my seventh grade year of school, I was bullied by one particularly large fellow with diagnosable anger issues. At one point near the end of the year, I decided it would be a wonderful idea to give this oversized pre-adolescent classmate of mine the middle finger. I had just so happened to be standing near a tall, solid oak bookshelf when I raised my defying digit of justice. The bully’s face turned red with rage, and he charged me like a bull that had just received an electric shock to the testicles.

I froze with the terrifying realization of what I had just done and remained unmoved until the last possible moment when I had the presence of mind to sidestep.

The bully rammed into the bookcase behind me with full force, causing the bottom end to fly out while the top end crashed forward. The scene would have made any physics teacher ecstatic.

The tall set of shelves and all its contents crashed down on both of us.

One of the empty shelf spaces came down where my slim frame was standing. It passed right over top of me all the way down to my feet like one of those old school comedies where a wall falls on a joker, but he just happens to be standing where the open window lands. When the dust settled and the screams began, I was still standing, completely bewildered but untouched. Like the comedian, I was amazed my body had not taken the shape of a pancake.

The same could not be said for the mammoth bully. Unfortunately for him, the bookshelf had landed on his head, cracking his skull all the way through. The doctors later assured us that his death was instantaneous, but I swear I had seen his body squirming for a second or two as the puddle of blood spread across the floor.

That was one of my less pleasant childhood memories.

Apparently, the good luck I have just keeps me alive, but doesn’t bother to spare me the gruesome details. Don’t worry, though, not all my luck comes in such graphic forms. Yesterday, in fact, I just happened to win a fifty-inch flat screen TV for free.

I was the millionth customer to pass through the threshold of the Circuit-Plus electronics store. Upon entering I was greeted with confetti and a giant banner reading: “1,000,000th Customer.”

I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing at first, but then I was presented with the prize. By that point I realized it wasn’t a joke, I felt bad because I wasn’t even planning on buying anything. I had just hitched a ride with Larry simply because he was the only friend I had with a vehicle. He also happened to be my chain-smoking, alcoholic boss who has often passed out on the couch in my apartment. As we entered the store, I even happened to walk in behind him, making Larry the 999,999th customer and myself the millionth.

Before I left, I bought a three-dollar mouse pad with Shrek on it, because I felt like I shouldn’t leave without at least spending a little money.

I’ve talked to people who don’t believe in luck. They call the events that happen to me coincidences. I tell them I must have very lucky coincidences. Others who don’t believe in luck tell me all things are acts of God. I suppose that’s possible. If there is a God, perhaps he created me a lucky person.

Either way, my luck is very sporadic. Sometimes it does miracles and other times acts as though I have just broken a mirror and doomed myself to seven years of its bad side. I suppose then you can make an argument that my luck isn’t that good after all, but I will still beg to differ.

This luck that I speak of has nothing to do with why my life is on the higher end of the odd chart.

So, are you dying to know what makes my life more interesting than your average nine to fiver’s?

I can see the future.

"One Shot"



Amazon Kindle

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.



? Heat Level: 2