by Peter M Ball
Phil says he can catch a bullet, and none of us believe him.
You have to know Phil: he says shit like this. The first night I met him, he swore he could backflip from a standing start. Bet me twenty bucks, and I put up the money. He got halfway over before he crashed into concrete.
We called an ambulance. They took him away.
I ran into him a week later, and Phil showed me the stitches, a neat row above his eyebrow, straight like the seam of a shirt.
"That looks bad," I said.
Phil nodded. "But man, it could have been worse," he said. "My head is full of bats, you know? If they'd gotten out, that would have been awful."
I said, "Better to have them out though, instead of leaving them in there, yeah?"
Phil blinked. Then he grinned. "I like you," he said.
And so I became Phil's friend, and learned you can't get rid of him.
The bullet thing is new. And this time, he's adamant. Swearing up and down that he can do it. It's not a good idea. Phil's been drinking. Hell, we're all pretty buzzed right now. When Angie holds a party, all of us fucking drink. And plenty of people will take him up on it, if Phil's got a gun.
No, not if. I know he'll have one. Phil commits. He throws himself into things. "For real," he says, "I can totally do it. Somebody get my Luger."
When no one goes, he calls us all a pack of assholes, gets the damn gun himself.
Daphne says she'd be down with shooting Phil. She says it quiet, in my ear, low enough that I'm the only one who hears. I'm glad of that, I really am. There are all sorts of people here who are tired of Phil's shit. All sorts of people who figure, what the hell, let the goddamn asshole get shot, you know?