Buchner_Craig - Author Photo1The porch looked empty, but when I opened up the screen door, a man rushed at me, arms raised.

That’s what I’d told the jury. They’d questioned me for what seemed like days. A surgeon who took the stand said the bullet had entered the man’s abdomen, burst his spleen, and lodged between his seventh and eighth vertebrae. The jury determined I couldn’t be charged with any wrongful doing as the act was declared self-defense. The man survived, but he wasn’t going to walk right ever again. Social media interpreted the event differently because the man who was trying to attack me was doing so with a very large carrot that he’d stolen from Safeway only an hour earlier. Everybody with an opinion screamed about our country’s failure to help those with mental illnesses, that people like me had no tolerance for the less fortunate. But I’d sworn he had a steak knife covered in what I thought was fresh blood, but it was only the carrot’s hue turned reddish under the dim porch light. My testimony, however farfetched, was convincing enough and nine out of twelve jury members determined it was a no fault case. Reports showed that the man was not mentally ill but high on a psychedelic called Gator Grip. Apparently the drug made you feel like you were drowning. I didn’t know what people saw in it, except it made you think that every second was your last one alive. I guess there’s something beautiful about that.