I was reading the end of the article when he finally returned from the register and scooped his keys and cigarettes, moved the messy plate out of his way and sat with his elbows on the table.
Here’s what I’m talking about, I told him and dropped my phone into my chest pocket, a SWAT team in Abilene, TX—a population of less than 120,000—is called to what was originally thought to be a hostage situation but by the time these armored goons get their stylish gear and guns on, the suspect has fled the scene and now it’s a manhunt with an armored personnel carrier and a bunch of squad cars and shock troopers busting down store fronts and at approximately 11pm, this municipal army, hopped up on testosterone, loaded with thousands of rounds of live ammunition, kicks in the door of a community theater during the climactic final battle of a Vietnam War drama. The cops shot eight innocent people, five actors and three audience members. In Abilene? he said, when did this happen? Looks like six hours ago but my point stands. Oh sure, let’s get rid of the cops and we won’t have anymore shootings; that makes total sense. There wouldn’t be anymore shootings by cops, I told him, they killed a 107 year old man in Florida last week and a black kid who walked up to the wrong house after he’d been in a car wreck. What do you propose we do about hostage situations if we don’t have SWAT teams? The threat of SWAT teams is the cause of most hostage situations. Look, I have to get out of here; make your point. My point is, I’ve got investors, found the land; I have learned and prepared people involved. It’ll never work, he said and rose from his chair and extended his hand. I stood and we performed a less than enthusiastic grip. This is going to happen, I said, I’m telling you so that hopefully your people won’t turn this into a mess. You really think I have any control? Maybe not but you have a presence. But I don’t believe in any of this. You don’t have to.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.