Breaking the Line

fight in the airport, about Raymon, and wondering also if I was just looking for an excuse to call her.  And then I heard downstairs the click of the lock and light scrape of hinges as the front door eased open.  By the time the faint sound of the slow, measured tread of footsteps on the stairs ceased I was on my knees on the opposite side of the bed from the stairway, the cold, checkered handle of my new pistol warming in a tight, two-fisted grip – tight from tension, it is true, but not shaking.

A form passed into the moon's reflection, transiting into enough illumination to be recognizable.  It was him – the man from the airport, the man I was nearly certain was Raymon.  He wasn't carrying a knife this time.  That was a pistol he was clutching at a low, ready position.

“Alto!” I said.  I wasn't sure “freeze” would mean anything to him.  Apparently 'alto' to him meant 'shoot at Dylan.'  His pistol jabbed out a tongue of flame and a bullet whipped by above my head to drill through the wall behind me.

I fired back, aiming at a spot just below his muzzle flash, as he'd ruined my night vision.  The gunshots were loud, but my bedroom is good sized, so I heard his grunt and a growled, “ya me chingue.”  I fired twice more at the voice and he stopped speaking.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I waited quite awhile before creeping over to make sure he was dead.


I replaced the spent rounds and slid the magazine back into place.  I put the pistol and the box of bullets back in the drawer and thought, as I kneed it shut, that Scott had been right after all: a bit of insurance isn't paranoia, its prudence.  And thinking of Scott led to thoughts of Teresa.  After two obligatory calls – to the police and to my grumpy, sleepy lawyer – I fished her business card out of my wallet, fumbled the telephone off its cradle, and thumbed in the international digit string.

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