Stealing Second (The Amendments Book One 1)

BOOK: Stealing Second (The Amendments Book One 1)
11.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Stealing second


Book one of the amendment series



Nicholas Antinozzi




Copyright © 2013
by Nicholas Antinozzi

Edited by Sue McInnis, MS





The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.




Chapter 1



I was one of those people who made a point of never watching the news. I shunned newspapers, despised talk radio; avoided conversations concerning current events like the goddamn plague. I didn’t follow politics, didn’t vote, didn’t care. I didn’t want to be involved. I was proud of my apathy, and many times I argued my right to remain ignorant with family and friends. I felt those matters were out of my control, felt that if I ever gave in and followed the herd, this useless information would be wasting valuable space on my personal hard drive. In my opinion, the news was always shitty and politicians all belonged to the same club of lying liars. I minded my own business, paid my taxes, and lived a quiet life. I just wanted to be left alone.

I know now that I was part of the problem.

Of course, it is virtually impossible to remain ignorant, no matter how hard you try. Information is like water and a healthy brain is a sponge. Some news stories are impossible to avoid. They attack you from every conceivable angle until you have no choice but to submit to their power. Despite my deep convictions, I learned long ago that like it or not, these stories would become the exception to the rule.

You can’t hide from a war, even if it takes place on the other side of the planet. Inflation slaps you in the face each time you make a purchase. Movies and music are filled with images to corrupt your beliefs. Headlines leap out at you from magazine racks and billboards. People talk. You form opinions.

I know, get to the point, right? The point is: I
an ignorant bastard. But something happened to change all that, which is where my story begins.

As apathetic as I was, that doesn’t mean I lacked compassion or empathy. As hypocritical as that may sound, I still cared
. So when the day arrived when all the crazy people decided to go arm themselves to go shoot up shopping malls, theatres, and schools, I was deeply affected by this illogical string of tragedies. Like many people, I placed the blame on the media for reaching new lows in hyping up these events. This is where I found myself being sucked into the propaganda machine. Like watching a train wreck in slow motion, I couldn’t turn away, even when the stations took six minutes of commercial breaks for each three minutes of coverage. Capitalizing on tragedies is both shameless and despicable, but it is the American way.

The lunatics began crawling out of the woodwork and the mass shootings became almost a daily occurrence. The media circus woul
d do no more than break a story when the tents would suddenly pack up and move to another town. I began asking myself how this could happen. I became angry. Where were these madmen getting their guns and ammunition? Why weren’t these people being weeded from the general population and being locked up, before they could go off on a murderous rampage? What was setting them off?

More importantly,
what were we to do about it?

At first
I foolishly fell in with the anti-gun crowd. Before passing judgment on me, try to remember that I was something akin to an alien who had just landed on our planet. I had no opinion either way on guns. I owned some, but out of fear they would be stolen, I stored them out at my parents’ farm. I also had no desire to shoot someone and spend the rest of my life regretting that decision behind bars.

As I fell deeper under the media’s
spell, because that’s what it was, I began to question the need for American citizens to own these so-called assault weapons. According to the media, these were the weapons of choice for the typical crazed gunman. Simple logic dictated that once these firearms were off the streets, peace would return and the lunatics would crawl back into their nests. With growing interest, I began watching new laws spring up across the country, restricting gun ownership. I cheered their decision to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

But the shootings not only continued, they continued to escalate, with each one becoming more heartbreaking and horrific than the last. The media demanded that still more needed to be done. Despite the outrage of the NRA, a Presidential Order decreed that not only were assault rifles illegal to purchase, but they we
re suddenly illegal to own. Gun owners were given a two-week amnesty period in which to voluntarily hand over their weapons for which they would be given a pat on the back and a small stipend.

This is where I began to question the government’s motives. Just days after the Presiden
tial Order, well before the two-week amnesty period had expired, reports began to surface about the authorities kicking down doors and confiscating weapons. Many of these weapons did not fit the “assault” category. According to some, most of the owners were law-abiding citizens. These stories were not nearly as well publicized as those of the mass shootings. In fact, they were hardly mentioned by the mainstream media. And even when they were covered, I began to take notice how they were cleverly spun to reflect their support of the government.

is when I began to wake up.

I was living in an apartment in Northeast Minneapolis, an area that used to belong to the Poles and Italians, but had become a melting pot of di
fferent cultures. My building was decent, especially for the area, and I felt relatively safe there. Across the hall from me lived this old guy named Sal Muscatto. Like me, he minded his own business. All I really knew about him was that he was retired and had lost his wife a few years ago. Still, he was a nice guy and we’d talk about the weather and stuff when I ran into him in the building. His thing was bowling, and he was in pretty good shape for an old guy. Every now and again, I’d catch him out in the hallway walking down to the elevator that led to the underground garage. Sal was an avid marksman and it wasn’t unusual for me to see him carrying a cased firearm and a small canvas sack that I assumed contained his ammunition. Honestly, I never even gave it much thought.

That changed the first Fri
day morning after the Presidential Order. I awoke to a loud crash out in the hallway. There was the sound of shouting, immediately followed by the unmistakable sound of gunshots. Scared out of my wits, I rolled out of bed and flattened out on the carpet. There was about ten seconds of silence before another shot rang out. I waited for about a minute, but it could have been longer or shorter. Time gets weird at times like that. Finally, I got to my hands and knees and actually crawled out of my bedroom and across to the door. Outside, I could hear the sound of men talking in official-sounding voices. Feeling somewhat relieved, I got to my feet and put my eye to the peephole.

The hallway was filled wit
h heavily armed police officers dressed from head to toe in black riot gear. The sight of them was enough to fill me with fear. I held my breath as they began shouting at my neighbors to stay inside their apartments. One of these officers began eyeing my door suspiciously as if he knew I was watching them. Scared as I was, I stayed at the peephole until two medics slowly wheeled a gurney into Sal’s apartment. Their lack of expediency, coupled with that final gunshot, told me everything I needed to know. My neighbor had just been murdered by the very men who had taken an oath to protect him. At that moment, I became a different man.

What amazed me mor
e than anything was the speed with which the entire operation was conducted. Barely half an hour had passed before crime scene tape was plastered to Sal’s door and the officers disappeared, presumably to continue their hunt.

Petrified, I turned on the television and tuned in
to one of the local news stations. There were no reports that seemed out of the ordinary. Every few minutes, I would go stand at the window and watch for a news van to show up. I waited until mid-afternoon, but they never showed up to cover the story. Through my open windows, I heard what sounded like the occasional pop of firecrackers. I showered and dressed and grabbed a fifty out of my sock drawer. I was angry, hungry, and I wanted to get drunk. I walked out of my apartment and could still smell the spent gunpowder.

Outside, it was a beautiful summer day. The streets were quiet and I walked down the empty sidewalk with a feeling of dread. A police cruiser slowly drove by. I turned the corner onto Central Avenue and I saw more police cars, dozens more. There were cops walking t
he streets, and some led German shepherds on short leashes. Something was going down, but they paid little attention to me, so I continued walking.



Chapter 2



I walked into Larry’s, a little bar a few blocks from my apartment. I sat down on a barstool and ordered a burger, a beer, and a shot. When I looked up at the television, I saw that the Twins were on. Suddenly,
Special Report
flashed on the TV screen and the game was interrupted. A television reporter stood outside the White House. The jukebox was playing some techno garbage and I waved Carrie, the bartender, over and pointed up to the television. “Can you turn that shit down?” I asked. “Something is going on. I’d like to hear what it is.”

Carrie stared up at the TV and rolled her eyes.
She was a curvy brunette, attractive, with big brown eyes and a no-nonsense attitude. We had been friends for the better part of a decade. She shrugged and walked down to the other end of the bar. A few seconds later, Carrie turned down the noise and returned with the remote for the television. There were some complaints from the patrons at other end of the bar, some snot-nosed punks barely old enough to drink, but Carrie flipped them the bird and aimed the remote at the television.
Second Amendment falls to Presidential Order
crawled across the bottom of the screen.

This is a crushing blow to the NRA and to gun enthusiasts across the country,
” said the familiar-faced television news reporter. “
President Brown is asking for calm as protests break out in the major cities.

“Oh shit,” said Carrie, turning up the volume until the reporter was shouting to everyone inside the bar
. The afternoon crowd was small; perhaps fifteen or twenty drinkers were there. They slowly began to gather around the flat screen as the news drew them in. We sat there in silence and listened to the report. A few of the customers began to shout at the television, but Carrie immediately silenced them. “Shut your goddamn mouth,” she hissed at one of the punks. “I want to hear this!”

According to our sources,
there will be a two-week amnesty period where gun owners will be able to turn over their firearms to local authorities. This includes all firearms; the only exception is air-powered pellet rifles. Let me repeat that so there is no mistake: all rifles, handguns and shotguns will need to be handed over to the authorities within the amnesty period. Failure to do so will result in felony charges and lengthy prison terms. Rumors floating around Capitol Hill say that President Brown has already authorized states to mobilize National Guard units to aid in the collection process.

Those last comments were the ones that broke the camel’s back
. We all began shouting obscenities at the television. Carrie shook her head and muted the sound. “If you want to watch the news,” she grunted, “you can go home and watch it. I’m not going to listen to any more of this bullshit.”

Five minutes later, I found myself alone with Carrie at the bar. I had half a buzz on and foolishly ordered a
nother shot. Carrie poured two and we drank them together. “This is some bad mojo,” I said. “Do they really think Americans are just going to hand over their guns? Are they out of their minds?”

Carrie shook her head. “I can tell you one thing,” she said, “Pete isn’t going to give up his guns.”

I knew Pete fairly well and had drunk with him on numerous occasions. He was Carrie’s husband and worked as a custodian at an elementary school. He was a little rough around the edges, but he was a good guy and an avid sportsman. I had no doubt that Carrie was right. Pete wouldn’t hand over his guns, not to anyone, not without a fight. “This is going to get ugly,” I said. “I think the shit’s about to hit the fan.” I told Carrie about what had happened to Sal, but she didn’t even bat an eye.

“Look what the cat drag
ged in,” Carrie said, nodding over my shoulder.

I turned to see Pete walk in. He was ta
ll and thin, somewhere in his thirties, with stringy blonde hair and a matching beard. He was waving his arms and swearing like a sailor. I chuckled, half buzzed-up and not fully comprehending what had just happened. Pete strode over to the bar and stared at me in disbelief. “Have you guys heard the news?” he asked. “They did it. Goddamn it, those bastards are coming for our guns.”

BOOK: Stealing Second (The Amendments Book One 1)
11.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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