Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:23 pm
Sue was walking down a busy street to the copy shop because she needed to print, collate, and bind a presentation. Her shoes were new and caused her pinky toe, whose nail was wonky and hard to trim well, to rub against its neighbor in such a way that Sue was sure that there must be a ragged wound there that matched the scraping pain.
She was also feeling a fairly sharp sting of regret that she'd not had some breakfast before setting out. In her mind, the copy shop was only a few minutes away by foot, but in reality, it was more like a few blocks, and she was starting to get famished. The only cafe on this strip, The Naughty Bean, had closed its doors last month -- leaving only faux-European clothing boutiques and about seven ratball Chinese joints. Sue loved Chinese food, but not at eight in the morning -- and not from places about which the paper had published unflattering Health Department reviews. So it was with a foul and shouty mood that she clicked down the street.
Then, she heard three loud sounds that could have been gunshots. She instinctively wheeled around in the direction from which they'd come to see a kerfuffle in progress far at the other end of the block. People screamed and there was a lot of commotion, but Sue could not see any detail. She turned back around and went hurriedly on her way, the rogue toenail slicing painfully with each step.
The shots had come from the short black gun of the man who only hours before had bought some Doritos from the Circle K just outside town. He had hoped to be five hundred miles away by now, but when he'd called to check in, they told him that there was something additional that was ready for pickup in the city and would he please go back and grab it? A moment after he'd fired, he wondered if this had been a setup or if the cop had legitimately recognized him from some other jurisdiction in an unhappy coincidence. In any case, the cop was dead now and the man had a hole in the right handwarmer pocket of his leather jacket.
Also dead was an old man with a pointy beard who looked like the classic stereotype of a shrink, three-piece suit and all. It had been his fortune to be standing behind the collapsing cop as the man fired his second shot from the gun still concealed in his pocket, after his first had hit the cop smack in the neck. Nearly dead was a young woman with beautiful teeth whose femoral artery had been severed by the ricochet of the cop's bullet. That bullet had been fired after the man refused to be arrested and instead of putting his hands behind his head, dropped to his knees and shot at the cop. He had a pack of cigarettes in the same pocket as the gun, which made it hard to effectively grip the weapon quickly. The cop got his hollowpoint off first, but it missed the man and hit the pavement before deflecting onto a streetlight post and finally, in its new, disclike squished form, coming to rest in the leg of the young woman, whose name was Alexandra.
The chaos created by this scene was considerable, and in a blink half the block was rushing this way or that, yelping. The man was vexed. His black Buick, with the 2-methyl glycidate in the trunk, was less than three yards from where he knelt and its parking meter was only paid for an hour. But he knew that more cops were probably mere seconds away, and if his license number was noted, the whole thing was doomed. Likewise, it was only a matter of time before someone in this crowd of ticks either attempted to heroically subdue the man.
The man decided to run now and try to sneak back later to pick up the car. He bolted horselike through the crowd into the restaurant above which was the office where he had been supposed to pick up the additional cargo. He wasn't interested in investigating the setup right now, though -- he trampled over the bohemian waitstaff, rammed through the kitchen door where he encountered some aggressive line cooks, elbowed and kneed his way past these cooks nearly losing his shades in the process, and out through the rear delivery door into the alley.
Now, the man's immediate problem was to get his appearance changed so that he wouldn't arouse suspicion when he returned to claim the car. He continued sprinting down the alley as sirens blared up the street.
Archer Postwit was headed to his nine-o'clock meeting in a sharp khaki suit, two blocks away from where the man had killed the cop. Postwit had heard the shots and ducked, but being unable to see anything, just continued on his way.