All American Madness 




I woke up Sunday morning with a smile on my face. Sweet sounds of sweet music that reminded me of home twinkled past my ears. I hoped for time to shower and have a meal. I got in my car and drove towards daily activities- a normal day in my normal life. Driving felt cathartic. I had one foot on the gas and one to do nothing but balance my body on the seat as I turned the wheel, hit reverse, parked the car, stopped.  

I swung the door open and got myself up. I was at the grocery store buying milk, cheese, eggs, necessities. I felt like buying beer for the evening: a case for friends. It rolled down the conveyor belt towards the cashier who rang it up and asked how I wanted to pay. I paid.  

The end of the summer seems to feel like it lasts forever. Yet, come October is when it must come to end. With bittersweet energy and cowboy boots on my feet, I went to my happy place. I swayed and smiled to the sweet sounds of music that I loved. A night sky so deep and dark created the illusion that this was the place to be and there was nowhere else to go. My normal life felt so extraordinary. A live show surrounded me with intent to entertain.  

The strum of the guitar was like hearing a smile and the crowd drew closer as we danced. It felt like someone slowed down time. Slow motion sentence to death when a bullet hit me in the chest. Over the sounds of screams, my voice rose. My pitch claimed space in the air like every voice which climbed higher to create harmonies of pain. Our cries haunt those who lived through them.  

Tears flowed down my cheeks, dripped down my chin, and fell to the floor or onto my shirt. In that moment, I felt the weight of every person departed from our Earth. My soul rose and with each dying breath, my chest fell.  

Familiar country tunes echoed every shot fired – all American madness. But life was no longer a sweet, sweet song. Gunfire mistaken for fireworks sparkled in the night sky. Las Vegas was a bright place before, but at that moment it was shining. Spaces that were empty of the flash of combusting gunpowder were painted by blood. Pools of blood weighed down bodies pinned down by bullets.  

I would have died there in that place if I had been there.  

On Monday morning, I woke up with a smile on my face. My soul was present on Earth, accompanied by my body and my mind. I got myself up with time for a meal and a shower. I got up and got on with my normal day. It went on as poor souls rose and their bodies were swept up. Blood was washed away and tears were dried though the pain of loss would never leave. Cowboy boots and concert tees floated away in the direction of somebody’s heaven. It was all American madness and yet another tragedy.  


Abigail Koerner ( writes short fiction, but not always while questioning gun control legislation in America.