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Spent a long career making lots of money for other people. Now it's my turn. _____________________________ Email: erikivanjames@gmail.com

Monday, September 04, 2006

Shooting Star

Chuck watched the shooting star glide across the clear night sky. He imagined the sparkles from the comet’s tail as being monstrous fireflies of space. He made a wish.

The hour being late, he walked along this path alone. The only discernable sounds emitted from his footsteps and the occasional rustle of the fabric of his lightweight jacket. The bulk and weight of his Smith & Wesson .45 nested snug under his left armpit…comfortable.

An unknown neighborhood to him Chuck had taken this route for this evening’s walk at the recommendation of the new night-shift desk clerk at the motel where he lodged. A sleazy looking little bastard, Chuck had thought, but what the hell, he was the employee of a reputable hotel chain.

Earlier in that day Chuck finished an intense week of business so he strolled along now allowing his mind to wander randomly and clear away the stress. He looked forward to leaving early the next morning on his return trip home. Two hard days of driving, he thought, and he would be sleeping comfortable in his own bed.

Chuck glimpsed a flicker of movement in the thicket of small trees just ahead at the right side of the pathway. A deer? He wondered. Deer were plentiful in the area where he lived. He thought it likely they were plentiful here as well. Chuck slowed his pace---maybe he would have a sighting.

But, this is a big city, he thought, so he deftly slipped his right hand through the partially open zipper of his jacket and unsnapped the retainer strap that secured the big Colt in its holster. A feeling in his gut had prompted a warning.

A muffled cough, that’s what it sounded like. Damn, he thought, human, not animal. A long time avid hunter Chuck knew the differences between human sounds and animal sounds.

He stopped walking. He searched the small stand of trees with his gaze and listened intently. A shuffle of feet, a rustling of the brush, and then two men stepped into the path directly in front of him...close

Fuck, he thought, here we go!

Predictable as well, he thought somewhat amused. Both degenerates; covered with tattoos and body jewelry. A look at their eyes told the real story, though, glazed by drugs. That frightened him.

One man seemed familiar---immediately his mind’s-eye flashed a picture of the sleazy little night clerk at the motel. Maybe a brother, he thought. A planned assault?

The larger of the two men held a small pistol in one hand. Chuck quickly assessed the pistol as being of a small caliber. The man didn’t seem able to focus his aim though. Drug-high indeed.

The smaller man caressed with thumb and fingers a large knife held lightly in his grip. He and the knife worried Chuck more than the man with the pistol, even though either weapon could wound him fatally.

Chuck’s mind quickly calculated three options. He could turn and run…hope he was fast enough; stand quiet and let them have their way; or, draw the .45 and attempt to stop their potential assault.

He didn’t like any of the three options.

Chuck killed them instead.

9 Comments:

Blogger Bernita said...

Damn straight!

9:24 AM EDT  
Blogger ivan said...

Highly professional writing.

But oh, those O. Henry ending lines!
But then maybe I'm wrong.
Jorge Luis Borges sometimes does the same thing, as in the shooting of all the old gods of mythology in an arena.

10:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Damn right, Bernita.

*****

Ivan,
Thank you. Appreciated.

Not an O. Henry line. When near the end, I asked myself: "What would I do?" Then I wrote down my answer.

10:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Bernita said...

Have to say, Erik, it's a killer last line.
Love it!

11:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Shesawriter said...

Chuck killed them instead.

You GO Chuck! LOL!

I liked this one, Erik. Very clear and clean. Straight to the point. Oh, and visual. :-) Great writing.

12:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Hmmm...Bernita and Tanya, I like the way you think. But, I'd best remember not to significantly irritate either one of you.

*****

Tanya,
Great to see you again. I trust all has been well for you?

7:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Bergie said...

A great hair raiser and spine chiller. Chuck made a smart move.

11:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Bergie,
Thank you for stopping by to comment. Appreciated. You are always welcome here.

I'll stop by yours.

8:02 AM EDT  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Yes, that is a great last line! Perfect for the story!

I'm so glad you share!

9:18 PM EST  

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