With Drawn: Part 15 — Into the Den

Jacob's HouseContinued from: With Drawn: Part 14 — A Space No One Used

Jacob returned home through the back door. He walked through the kitchen and into the Walsh’s living room. He could hear a murmur of voices coming from the room off the back of the living room. The room off the back of the Walsh’s living room was the Walsh’s den. Jacob recognized the first murmuring voice from the room as that of Dennis. Jacob didn’t need to hear the second murmuring voice to know who it was. Jacob saw the big, black truck outside. Both the truck and the voice belonged to Dennis’s best friend, Rod Rogers. Rod Rogers was Tommy Rogers’s father. Then a burst of laughter from the room, and Jacob was able to detect a third person’s voice in that laughter. Jacob recognized that laugh. It was the laugh of Tommy Rogers. Jacob had heard that laugh directed at him enough times to pick it out of anywhere.

Jacob crept to the den and he peered in through the room’s doorway. Jacob saw Dennis standing at his gun cabinet, Dennis unlocking the cabinet’s glass doors. Dennis was talking over his shoulder to Rod.

Rod Rogers was built like a pit bull, which was to say he was short and squat and vicious looking. Pit bulls are dogs that were bread for fighting, and the same could be said of Rod Rogers, as if a mean disposition was imprinted in his genetic code.

Jacob also saw that he had been correct in identifying the third person’s laugh as that of Tommy Rogers.

Jacob felt for a moment as if he’d stumbled upon a den of dangerous animals, and he turned to creep away from the room.

The two men in the den stopped their conversation suddenly, the two men and the boy turning to look at Jacob.

Jacob wanted to run away, but, as if he’d actually stumbled across a dangerous animal’s den, Jacob knew that running would only cause the animals to chase. If Jacob ran, Dennis would come after him, demanding to know what Jacob was up to. So, instead of running, Jacob just stood and stared into the room.

To use another animal comparison, Jacob looked like a “deer in headlights.” This was an expression Jacob’s dad had liked to use.

The expression, a deer in headlights, refers to how a deer, when faced with danger—like a car bearing down on it—will stop and look with wide-eyed confusion at the danger as the deer tries to decide what action to take.

Dennis had a variation of this expression. Dennis liked to say: “You look like a deer about to get its fucking head blown off.”

Dennis didn’t use this deer expression now, instead, he said this to Jacob: “Where the fuck you been?” Dennis’s tone was the tone one might use to address his own vomit, should anyone ever have a reason to do so.

Jacob glanced at Tommy. Jacob could not decipher the expression on Tommy’s face. Jacob was able to decipher the two men’s expressions. The men’s expressions were that of disgust and disappointment. But the look on Tommy’s face was like a sneer and a smile. The combination of these two seemingly contradictory expressions made Tommy’s face even more cryptic. Jacob calculated that most likely this expression was in response to the way Dennis had spoken to Jacob. Tommy reveling in Jacob’s stepfather speaking so rudely to Jacob.

Jacob glanced at Dennis before looking away from him again, Jacob answering his stepfather’s question with, “Out.”

Dennis said, “I’ll out you.”

Rod and Tommy both had that sneering smile on their faces now. And they both made a snorting sound. Jacob was able to determine that what they were doing was known as scoffing. This scoffing was in response to Dennis’s joke, even though his joke, “I’ll out you,” made absolutely no sense.

Dennis said to Jacob, “So where have you been?”

Jacob said, “Walking.”

Dennis shook his head, Dennis now scoffing, too, and then Dennis turned his attention back to Rod.

Jacob was still a deer in headlights, not knowing what exactly to do, still not wanting to leave, afraid leaving would somehow bring unpleasantness. So Jacob continued to stay where he was.

Dennis said to Rod, “So, anyway, here it is.” Dennis took a handgun from the cabinet. The handgun was a black Glock, 9mm. Dennis said to Rod, “I picked it up yesterday.” Dennis was holding the handgun like a mother holding a newborn, meaning he held the gun very affectionately.

Rod regarded the handgun in Dennis’s hand. Rod whistled.

Men sometimes whistle when they see things that they find attractive. Sometimes men whistle at women passing by them. Men use this whistle somewhat like a bird uses a whistle for a mating call. Whistling is more effective when used by birds than it is for men.

Dennis said, as if more to himself than to Rod, “Not bad, huh?” This question was rhetorical. Dennis tested the gun’s heft in his hand, saying to Rod, “Here, feel that weight.”

Dennis handed the gun to Rod.

Rod was an experienced gun owner himself, and when he took the gun from Dennis, he popped the weapon’s bullet clip from the handgrip. He peered into the clip, at the stack of bullets residing within it, and then he popped the clip back into the weapon’s handgrip. Rod made sure the safety was on and then he tested the heft of the gun in his hand. Rod whistled again.

Tommy was craning his neck to look over his father’s shoulder at the handgun in his father’s hand, Tommy pleading, “Can’t I see it, dad? C’mon, I want to see.”

Rod looked at Dennis. Rod raised his eyebrows. This expression was meant to request permission from Dennis for Tommy to be able to hold the weapon.

Even though Rod had not actually spoken a question, Dennis understood Rod’s request, and Dennis said to Rod, “Sure, go ahead.”

Rod popped the clip of bullets from the gun’s handgrip, and he carefully handed the unloaded gun to Tommy.

Tommy took the handgun, checking the heft of the weapon in his hands. Tommy then turned toward Jacob, who was still standing in the doorway like a deer in headlights, and Tommy pointed the gun at Jacob. He pantomimed shooting Jacob, Tommy saying, “Pow. Pow.”

Rod snatched the gun from his son, smacking Tommy in the head, Rod saying, “What the hell’s the matter with you? Haven’t I told you to never point a gun at anyone?”

Tommy clucked his tongue.

Someone clucks his or her tongue when he or she thinks someone else is being unreasonable or is overreacting.

Tommy said to his father, “It’s not like it’s loaded.”

Rod said, “No such thing as an unloaded gun. I told you that a million times.” Rod handed the gun back to Dennis, Rod saying to Dennis, “Sorry about that.”

Dennis took the weapon from Rod, Dennis saying to his friend, “Don’t worry about it. It’s okay.”

Rod turned to look at Jacob, and Rod said, trying to keep that speaking-to-vomit tone from his voice, “Sorry about that, Jacob.”

You might wonder why Rod would apologize to his vomit. It’s because it was the right thing to do, whether Rod liked it or not. Rod thought it was a man’s duty to do the right thing, and Rod thought of himself as a man—even if he was a mean man by nature, and that meanness would sometimes cloud his ideas of right and wrong.

Jacob didn’t look at Rod, or at Tommy, when he said, “It’s okay. I’d like to shoot Tommy, too, if I had the chance.” And then Jacob left the room.

Continued in: With Drawn: Part 16 — Words Unheard

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