In Defense of Self
Jack pulled out his phone and stared at it. The phone sat in his hand, doing nothing. It was just a phone, and he wasn’t sure what he expected. People stood all around him with their phones out recording and calling. Off in the distance, he could hear the first sounds of sirens. At his feet, the body of the person he just killed. He tried to think about what he was supposed to do. When he bought his Carry Concealed insurance, it came with a card listing what to do. The card was back in the car seemingly miles away, even though it was just a level up in the parking deck. He pulled the phone closer and made a call.
The Scent of Copper
His wife didn’t answer. She rarely ever responded to calls after 8 pm, and he was calling near midnight. The sirens slowly came closer. Someone in the growing crowd said in a profane tirade how he was in trouble and going to jail. Jack looked at his phone, then back to the gun on his hip. The small revolver felt like it weighed a ton. The smell of the smokeless powder, along with the copper and fresh meat smell was overwhelming. Most of the person’s blood was all around with the pants soaked, and smoking from the round the person fired as he tried to pull his or her gun. Jack felt the world starting to spin. Off in the distance, he could see the red and blue lights as they turned the corner down the street.
Leaving a Message
He remembered someone said to be polite and say sir, or mam. Just state the facts, don’t try and defend your case. Don’t talk down to the police; don’t talk about your rights. Jack called again, “Sally, when you get this; I’ll most likely be in custody. Something happened. I was on my way back into the office when someone tried to stop me. He pushed me going for my gun……. I just shot and killed some guy. Call Pat and let him know I need help.” Someone from the gathering crowd ran toward the police, pointing at Jack yelling, “I saw that guy gun that woman down….. he just shot her dead for being in his way.”
The police came over to Jack. One went to his right while the other went to the body. The officer near the body called in for an ambulance. The officer near Jack asked him, “Sir, what happened here.” Before he could say anything, someone from the crowd yelled, “He just shot her for being trans.” Jack said he had a concealed gun on him with a permit. The officer told Jack to put his hands on his head. He walked over to Jack and started to pat him down. Jack said the gun was on his hip, but the officer ignored him. When he came to the hip and the gun, he yelled, “gun.” The officer near the body drew her weapon. The officer pulled the gun out of the holster and smelled it. He opened the revolver and said, “we have a discharge.” A person in the crowd said, “no kidding. Just look at the body Columbo.” The officer continued to search Jack taking his wallet and phone.
For Your Safety
The officer took hold of Jack by the wrists and handcuffed him in the back. He said, “I’m cuffing you and placing you in my car for your safety. If there is anything you need to tell me, now is the time. Don’t let this go for too long, or there’s nothing I can do to help you.” The crowd cheered. An elderly African American woman yelled, “why are you locking him up; all he did was protect himself from that weirdo.” A young white woman with bright blue hair turned to her and started to scream profanities at her calling her everything from a Nazi to an uncle Tom. The elderly woman just said, “you probably don’t even know who that was or what that means.” The gathering crowd started to push toward the police car. The officer said they were going to move the shooter before the group turned ugly. As they drove away, they passed two arriving police cars.
Sally Wakes Up
Sally Anderson woke after falling asleep on the couch. She wanted to stay up and wait for her husband, who was working late on a new project. If his firm gets the contract, he will make partner, and the pay bump would mean they could buy that house and start that family they talked about for years. She checked the clock; it was 6:30 am. She checked her phone and saw she missed three calls and had a voice message. All three calls were from Jack. She played the message slowly growing sick with every word. Sally checked her phone, looking for Patrick Stevens, their family attorney, and her brother.
The Police brought Jack into a room. They spent the last six hours swabbing, scraping and poking, taking his clothing, giving him a pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt. They took his wedding ring as evidence. They put him in something more akin to a cage rather than a cell. Inside the cage, they handcuffed him to a bar running just behind a metal bench. He could hear other officers talking about a riot downtown and an office building on fire. His life’s work was burning to the ground because he shot a man trying to kill him.
Jack tried to think about what happened. Why were the people in the crowd calling that man a woman? Why were they there? He had stepped away to talk to a member of the planning committee on the new watershed variances being voted on. If passed, it could kill the project. When he left his office, a few people were hanging around in the courtyard nearby. One of them was a tall, gaunt-looking man or man-like shape in a dark gray hoodie with long grayish hair. Something felt off about this man. The others were either late teens or early twenties with that college student look, half professional; half just rolled out of bed. He came back to a protest. An office on the lower floor of their building was being rented out by a man running for Congress. His stance was closed borders, deportation, jobs, and illegalizing abortion. The protestors weren't his supporters.
Jack didn’t live in this man’s district, nor did he even know him. The building’s owners rented the candidate space. He had three years of his life in the office, and in two days, he would either be a partner or three years with nothing to show. He decided to be as polite as he could be and walk through the crowd. At first, nothing was wrong; they just let him pass. This was when the hoodie stood up, blocking him. He pushed Jack back, saying, “Nazis must go.” The crowd picked up on what he said, and it became a chant. Someone pushed Jack from behind; another struck Jack in the head just behind the ear. Jack got turned around and around as he came face-to-face with Hoodie. Jack remembered seeing the eyes, those crazy eyes. Hoodie had a gun in the belt appendix carry with no holster. Jack pulled his gun as he practiced at the range for the last two years since he got his CCW. Hoodie’s gun went off halfway out of his pants. Bloodshot down his leg just as Jack opened fire, emptying all five shots in Hoodie’s chest. Someone screamed. The crowd parted as Jack holstered his gun and went for his phone. Jack thought about his phone and hoped Sally got his message.
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron