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I held my breath as he pushed the revolver deep into the side of my neck.
"We were not going to steal from you. Honest, we were not. We only steal food from the stores. That's all!"

Those were the broken words that I tried to force from my pressed against throat.

I had met a ten-year-old boy, my same age, in the city park several hours earlier. We had stolen several packs of cigarettes from the local gas station, and were running because the owner was chasing us.

It was dark so we ducked into an alley to hide. We watched as the gas station owner ran right past us. The next thing I knew, a strange man had a gun pushed into the side of my neck.

Slowly, the man eased the gun away from my neck, allowing me to breathe.

"You’re a lying little bastard," he said. He gritted his teeth and moved the barrel of the gun within an inch of my right eye.

I stood perfectly still looking at the hole in the end of the weapon.

"We weren't doing anything. We just came in here so the police won't find us," said my friend.

"SHUT UP!" yelled the man.

I had no idea what he was going to do. I could smell liquor on his breath and I wondered if I should try to reason with him.

All at once, my new friend began running down the alley. I could hardly believe it when the man pointed the gun in his direction and fired twice. The boy hit the ground and lay there motionless.

"You're next you little shit," he screamed.

I broke loose from his grip and backed up against the brick wall. I could hardly believe it when the boy suddenly jumped up and began running again. The man began to chase him, waving his gun and yelling.

I looked behind me and saw that there was no way to escape, as the alley came to a dead-end. I started walking toward the entrance of the alley. I had taken less than five steps, when the stranger appeared again; he just stood there looking at me. I was sweating more than I had ever sweated in my entire life.

"That little shit got away, but you won't." He started walking toward me.

"Are you really going to kill me?” I asked him, in a broken voice.

"You’re one dead little f#$@r."

"I don't care. I don’t care a damn," I said, even though I was standing there trembling like a trapped mouse.

"Don't hand me that sob story line of bullshit!”

"Really, I really don't care."

"You two were going to rob me, weren't' you?" he growled.

"No, sir! We were stealing cigarettes from that gas station with the red horse on the sign and the man that was chasing us."

"Let me see the cigarettes," he said, slipping the gun into his waistband.

I reached in my pants pocket, took out two crushed packs of cigarettes, and handed them to the man. He examined both packs very carefully.

"You got any matches?" he asked.

I reached in my back pocket and took out ten packs of matches that we had also stolen.

The man stuck one pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket, and began hitting the other pack against the back of his hand. He opened the pack, took out a cigarette with his teeth, and handed it to me. He struck a match and gave us both a light.

"How come you are not scared?” he questioned.

"I don't know. I just ain't. But, ain't you worried about the cops coming in this here alley after hearing you shoot that gun off?" I asked him.

"Now that you mentioned it, I suppose I should get my ass on down the road."

"You still going to kill me?"

"Why should I kill you, kid? You told me you did not give a damn if I killed you. If that really is the case; then you are just like me. You are already dead."

I watched him as he picked up several personal items and headed down the alleyway.

"Can I have some of those there cigarettes?" I hollered out.

He never said a word. He just kept on walking.

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