Funny Story About Gun Shots
By Surya Gemilang
Pajenong was applying deodorant in front of the mirror. He was listening to the newsreader on television describe the mounting number of rape cases across the city over the past year. Suddenly Sarimin’s gun pumped a bullet into the back of Pajenong’s head. He collapsed instantly.
Having sneaked into the apartment and quietly watched the owner from under the bed, Sarimin crawled out and examined Pajenong’s cellphone. The cellphone screensaver displayed Date with Vianna at nine o’clock at Cafe X, written in white Times New Roman font against a black background.
To open the phone desktop, Sarimin would have to enter the correct PIN. If Sarimin succeeded in entering the correct PIN, he was definitely going to send a message to Vianna saying, “Sorry, honey, I can’t make our date today. All of a sudden I want to break up with you. By the way, I think Sarimin is the most suitable man for you.” Then Sarimin tried entering a number of PINs at random. When Pajenong’s cellphone locked, Sarimin threw it through the open window. He couldn’t have cared less about the head of anyone who might be hit by the cellphone as it plunged freely from a height of ten stories.
In the end Sarimin didn’t know what else to do. At first he had intended to come into Pajenong’s apartment armed with a gun, but with absolutely no plan to kill him. He planned only to suddenly appear from under the bed, scare Pajenong, force him to cancel his date with Vianna, and force him to break up with her. But the sudden anger eating away inside his head had made Sarimin reach out uncontrollably from under the bed and shoot Pajenong in the back of the head, without time to think about how to secure his victim’s body, or how to save himself if the police chased him.
What Sarimin did then, after staring at the clock on the wall showing seven o’clock in the evening was to move quickly to Pajenong’s body and kick him violently. As a result he hurt his foot. Sarimin thought of the kicks as revenge for the rape Pajenong had committed against Vianna. Then Sarimin fired the remaining six bullets in his gun until Pajenong’s head was completely destroyed. He thought of the shots as an outlet for his frustration because he just could not understand why Vianna had wanted to date the man who had raped her.
There was a sudden knock at the door of Pajenong’s apartment. The sound of gunfire must have caught the attention of someone who happened to be near the door. A terrible jolt instantly struck Sarimin’s heart because he was completely unprepared to go to prison. He broke into a cold sweat that started to roll down his body like his skin was leaking.
Then a moment later there was another knock at the door, louder this time. Sarimin snapped crisply to close the bedroom door, turn off the television, and roll Pajenong’s body under the bed. He returned Pajenong’s deodorant to its original place after cleaning off the blood with a few tissues. Then he cleaned away the traces of the death from the floor with a towel he grabbed from the wardrobe and hurled it under the bed too.
Sarimin thought about stepping quietly to the door and peeking at the person knocking. But hearing the next much louder knock, he changed his mind about approaching the door because he thought the knocking sounded threatening, like the knock of a debt collector on the door of a house of debtor who hadn’t made a payment on a debt for a very long time.
Sarimin regretted he’d used all his bullets. The regret was just as heavy as when he expressed his love to Vianna two weeks ago, resulting in the complete breakdown of the friendship they’d been hiding for years out of shame. “Oh, if only that night I had decided to stay quiet, Vianna would not have become angry. She would not have run out of the house, would not have met Pajenong in the middle of the road. She would not have been raped in the car. And it would not have led to the murder I’ve committed here today,” Sarimin thought.
This time the door didn’t sound like someone knocking, rather it sounded like someone bashing hard. But it hadn’t come off its hinges yet. Sarimin’s heart almost flew out the open window. If he used the window to escape now it would definitely mean he was committing suicide. Sarimin also glanced around, looking for anything he could use to save himself, baseball bat, golf club, lamp stand.
Being hit with one of those objects should be quite painful. But it immediately crosses his mind that none of them might necessarily save him if it turned out there were more than one person waiting on the other side of the door. He wondered if maybe he should carefully explain to the person banging on the door, that Pajenong deserved to be killed, because he had even raped Vianna then arrogantly called him to boast about the rape?
But killing was just as bad Sarimin continued thinking to himself. Finally Sarimin’s gaze fell on a large wardrobe. Just as he could hear the sound of the front door being smashed down, Sarimin without another thought climbed into the wardrobe. The sweet scent of Pajenong’s clothes filled the inside of the closet, reminding him of the fragrant smell of flowers sprinkled onto a coffin.
Then he started to hear the sound of footsteps outside. Very light footsteps, as if the owner of the feet were trying to step through the air before ambushing an opponent from above. Even though Sarimin was very scared, he was still able to focus on what he was hearing, and he concluded it was the sound of just one person’s steps. There could not be more than that. And because there was only one person, Sarimin should be able to climb out of the cupboard right then and fight the person, or simply point a gun at him as he stepped away from the apartment. But neither of these possibilities would be easy. The person outside had to be strong and brave because of the way he’d been brave enough to break into the apartment.
A few moments later, the sound of footsteps suddenly disappeared. There was no way the person had left the apartment. If he had gone, what Sarimin would have heard was the sound of footsteps growing softer and softer, then disappearing, rather than disappearing all at once. The person must be able to fly! Then there was the sound of the wardrobe door being locked from the outside.
Vianna had been going to shoot Pajenong when they met at Cafe X at nine o’clock later that evening, without caring what the people around her would do. But Vianna had been in a hurry and couldn’t wait to slay Pajenong because she was so angry. So she had decided to take a taxi and go armed with a gun straight to the apartment of her ex-boyfriend, where the radio was broadcasting the news of the continuing increase in the number of rape cases in the city over the past year. She arrived at her destination at seven o’clock in the evening.
Because no one would open the door, Vianna pounded on the door to Pajenong’s apartment until it broke. She surprised herself that she could be that strong. Instead of finding a surprised Pajenong, Vianna discovered there was no one there. Maybe Pajenong had sensed she was going to come and kill him, so he was now in hiding. The woman then stepped inside very slowly, as if she was stepping through the air before ambushing Pajenong from above.
Pajenong’s apartment was not very big so it didn’t take Vianna long to finish searching every corner. She found no one. Not even under the bed. As she sat on the edge of the bed Vianna wondered whether Pajenong had been so eager for their date he had left already for Cafe X?
Suddenly something somehow made her lock her gaze onto the wardrobe. Her body shivered suddenly. With a silent step, Vianna approached the cupboard and locked the door. The she stepped back several paces, and drew a deep breath. She pumped out the seven bullets in her gun.
Blood dripped from the crack under the cupboard door.
Vianna smiled coldly, dropped her gun on the floor, then left the apartment feeling peaceful.
Vianna still went to Cafe X at nine that evening. She celebrated her glorious victory by ordering expensive food. While waiting for the food she had ordered, she took out her cellphone, looked up a trusted news site, and read the news about the continuing increase in rape cases in the city over the past year.
She suddenly missed Sarimin and imagined the man was sitting across from her. She thought, “Ah, I shouldn’t have been angry at the time. There’s nothing wrong with him falling in love…”
Just as the food arrived, Vianna noticed a well-dressed man enter the cafe. The man waved at her as he approached. Vianna’s breath suddenly froze. And she almost passed out as Pajenong sat down in front of her, face covered in freshly dried scars.
Surya Gemilang, Funny Story About Gun Shots (Humor Tentang Tembakan-Tembakan) was published in Kompas daily newspaper on 8 March 2020. [Retrieved from https://lakonhidup.com/2019/10/13/menembak-mati-tujuh-orang]
Surya Gemilang was born in Denpasar, Bali, on March 21, 1998. His books include: Chasing Shooting Stars (Mengejar Bintang Jatuh) (a collection of short stories, 2015), How to Love Monsters (Cara Mencintai Monster) (a collection of poems, 2017), A Taste of Death (Mencicipi Kematian) (a collection of poems, 2018), and Looking for a Head for Mother (Mencari Kepala untuk Ibu) (a collection of short stories, 2019). His other writings can be found in more than 10 mixed anthologies and numerous media publications.
Featured image credit: Cafe Batavia by Prayitno
— Elshinta News Online (@ElshintaDotcom) June 1, 2020