Target, Part Three

"So, Captain Lewis, that's the ATM you're talking about?" Dr. Janson asked above the din in the food court of Carolina Place Mall. She had agreed to meet him here after work once he told her what he'd seen on the small screen early that morning.

"It was working this morning," he said looking down at the out of order placard taped to the black screen.

"This is freaking crazy," she said.

"If you're going to keep talking all that psycho babble," he said. "I may be forced to let the man break your nose after all."

She shook her head, turned and walked to the table he'd been siting at when she arrived. He watched her walk and take a seat before he joined her. He opened one of the two coffees he had bought at the McDonalds and added cream and stirred it watching her think.

"I can't believe I'm sitting here with you." She said reaching for the other coffee.

"I was thinking the same thing," he said and smiled. "Probably for different reasons, but there you go."

She popped off the lid, blew on the coffee and sipped.

"Some guy is going to walk up and hit me in the face with a nine iron for no reason," she said.

"First, he may have a reason," he said. "Might be one of your clients taking issue with your psychological theories, might be a jilted lover, might be someone who just hates red high heels." She was defiantly overdressed for Friday night at the mall.

"And second?"

"It might be a three iron, or a putter for all I know. I've never been stupid enough to play golf or hang around people who are."

"You're a riot," she said.

"Also, you're not his first victim."

They sat and sipped coffee, watching people meander by. Eventually the man who Captain Lewis had previously described to Dr. Jannison as the first victim brought his supper over to the table across from them. He was dressed in tan Dockers, a white golf shirt and loafers with no socks. The tag on his shirt identified him as "Sam-Sears Automotive Associate”.

"Now what?" she asked.

"Now we wait for Arnold Palmer to show up," Lewis said.

"So what do you do with your time since you retired?"

"Read, watch TV, ride my bike, I’m a part time vigilante and freelance righter of wrongs..." he sipped a little coffee. "The usual."

"Gunsmoke reruns?" She ignored his humor, a rare talent.

"Someone at the hospital suggested Justified. I watched all four seasons while I was recuperating."

" Good one," she said. "How about Archer? It's on FX too and has some wicked lines."

"I know, right? Shut up." He said and they both laughed.

They didn't laugh long.

The guy at the top of the escalator was in his early thirties, white, stocky, and about six feet tall. He wore black linen trousers and a black T shirt with "ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE" lettered down the left side in white letters. His hair was red, cut short, and slicked back with some sort of gel. He wore enough gold chains hung around his neck to make Mr. T jealous, but it was the white purse he had over his shoulder that matched a cheap pair of white plastic mirrored sunglasses that really set him apart. He held the golf club by the head and walked with it cane-like as he stepped onto the escalator.

"Here we go," Captain Lewis said.

"You're not going to shoot that man, are you?" She asked.

He shrugged, they stared as the escalator slowly brought the red headed man closer and he was half way down when she repeated the question.

"Don't know,” he said. “Stay behind me when ‘Arnold’ there starts this."

Arnold stepped off and Captain Bob Lewis (retired) watched as the man removed his shades and began to scan the food court. The man's eyes swept over him and Dr. Janson and locked onto Sam, the guy from Sears.

Bob slid off the bench as Arnold approached and Dr. Janson slid over and eased out behind him. Arnold stalked by, flipped the golf club around and tossed his sunglasses over his shoulder.

“Watch out Sam,” Bob yelled as Arnold drew back the club over his shoulder. Arnold used both hands like a baseball player intent on hitting a home run. Sam’s head would be the ball.

Sam looked up in time to throw up his right arm and when the club hit it made an awful cracking sound which was quickly drowned out by screams from nearby shoppers.

Bob pulled his gun, a blue steel Smith & Wesson, and ...

The twenty year old unarmed security guard who had just rounded the corner could hardly be blamed for launching himself at the old man with the gun. It was gutsy and instinctual but the result sent him and Bob both to the ground with Bob on the bottom. The gun clattered across the floor.

As Bob squirmed out from under the security guard, he looked up into the crazed eyes of Arnold who now advanced on them with the golf club. He raised it this time like an ax when...

“Drop the club,” Dr. Janson said. Her voice was loud but controlled. She pointed Bob’s gun at the big man’s chest.

Arnold hesitated, mid swing and then turned toward her with the club still poised in both hands above his head. He took a step toward her.

The bedlam instantly settled to deadly unnatural silence.

“I’m going to count to one,” she said.





“You weren’t going to shoot that man, were you?” Bob asked.

They sat alone in the Security Office waiting on the PD to finish their paperwork and let them go.

Dr. Janson shrugged.

“I’m going to count to one?” Bob said. “You may be watching way too much TV,”

“It's simply perfectly natural compensation to external violent psychological stimuli,” she said.

"And also..."

"What?" She said.

"Wait for it..."

She stared at him. "What?"

"You know where we were, right..." he said.

"Don't say it."

"Danger Zone!"


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Comments 4 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Oh yeah! Great story, and looking forward to more!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This story is great. I love this character, and the shrink isn't bad either. The banter between them was enjoyable and sounded like it was real and natural. I will read any of these you put out and enjoy them. You are a great writer.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 3 years ago from South Carolina Author

Thanks, Becky. I'm glad you are liking this. I'm playing it by ear...


resspenser profile image

resspenser 3 years ago from South Carolina Author

Thank you WillStar, where do you think this story might go? I had thought about Lewis taking off on his motorcycle kind of like a cross between Then Came Bronson and Death Wish, but lighter sometimes...

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