We need to be better than this

This has to stop.



(appears in Flash Fiction 40 Anthology 2009)

An eight-year-old boy saunters down the street, smiling proudly, armed with a powerful new weapon, a gift from his father the evening before.

He slips open the schoolyard gate and surveys the crowd with his sharp, green eyes, so like his daddy’s: Girls skipping rope; boys shooting hoops; teachers chatting amongst themselves, tired and bored. And, sitting by himself, leaning against a solitary tree, reading a book, is his target.

He makes his way over, fists stuffed tightly into his pockets, twitching to keep the grin off his face until just the right moment. He comes to a stop directly in front a pair of white, spotless shoes, rolling the weapon around his tongue, savoring the jagged consonants and tangy vowels. His father’s voice echoes in his ears as he lets loose his grin, pulls the trigger, and fires the word directly into his target’s fragile, tender heart:




The Trevor Project
It Gets Better




About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

One response to “We need to be better than this

  • Bryan

    RJ, unbelievably powerful. Gripping. And so painfully true of our time. I wasn’t gay, but I know what it’s like to be ridiculed because you’re not like the other kids. I was the one guy in school who didn’t play sports – who SUCKED at sports, who loved reading, and LOVED music and theater.

    Okay, maybe I haven’t convinced you I’m not gay… but, I was sure called that a time or two.

    My heart goes out to so many who suffer for not being free to be themselves. Blogs like this may help people see humanity just a little bit better.

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