(12-2010, based on actual events)
He threw open his door. He waited. After a moment, the man with the rifle, holding the rifle away from his body—he looked, ‘about twenty-yards away was the bank robber,’ asking for a million dollars, a car to take him to the airport and a plane once there, giving no destination thereafter.
He had to change positions now, the man moved from his spot. (The accumulated sounds of rain, music, collective voices, the roar of motors and horns—come to the ears of the bank robber, deep. His face singed with too much, too much is going on, cheekbones tight with tension, eyes drowsy with a cluster of decisions. He is listening, answering and asking questions all at the same time it appears. The shooter wants time to swallow him up before he realizes it.) He rolls his rifle over his forearm, as not to make a loud sound—quickly; moving laterally about two-feet, and then moved forward cautiously trying to get full view into the main lobby. The lights inside the bank were still on, a few of the cameras had been smashed, the one by the front door in particular. He was sure there were more men, media, police and bystanders gathering outside of the bank, and that made the culprit busy, too busy to see him. There was a rumble of thunder outside—and a light rain, a drizzle of rain. Many low sounding voices in the lobby; He waited. The rain dripped onto his forehead, down into his eyes, tightening his grip on the rifle, he couldn’t wipe his face and eyes dry, looking through the sights of his rifle. (He takes in a deep breath, as if he is about to drown, his nose quivers as if he’s been on a long run, and he wants to spit, looks nostalgically at his rifle then back through the sights—listens, watches, he wants to cough, but knows he better not. His shirt is starched, it’s a high collar, it is irritating, perhaps because he is sweating, too tight, and also around his neck it feels like a rope: everything seems to be bothering him now. His thoughts, his second voice the one inside of him—the near silent one, is in a stammer, fearful of taking this one shot, then all his senses return to defeat this awkward moment that had started to fall apart.)
Passengers were getting in and out of the taxies, he no longer notices them.
He squinted ((the smell of armpits swirl about him, as if lurking, falling through his hair, his mind grows quiet. The people in the bank, sad faces, square and round faces and mouths –copper faces, some with no necks, a man with a white beard, sunken in cheeks, fat cheeks; a bank full of worms—he tells himself. Nobody knows anybody, but everybody is becoming buddy-buddy now, out of necessity. They are all timid, respectful now. No one dare protest. ‘It’s all suspended time,’ the shooter tells himself) (‘It’s good…good enough,’ he tells himself—yet his stomach is a bit queasy, but good enough. His head stopped spinning from over thinking. It’s three o’clock. He is feeling better, his eyes weak, but clearing up, the image is still there); fired once. The man staggered, his head jerked back, fell backwards. He did not move. His body now sprawled awkwardly on the bank floor (‘…there was no real choice,’ the shooter mumbles). He now rubbed the water from his face, eyes, forehead, with the sleeve of his shirt, and the side of his forearm,—now he could see much better.
People started yelling in the rain, in the bank, behind the counter; the shooter leaned forward and called to the sergeant; he had hit him in the head, a dead shot (a silhouette shot).
The air had turned a bit humid—and there were still scattered rain drops, it had not stopped yet. The three dozen or so citizens that had gathered outside of the bank were starting to move away, getting into cars, small buses, taxies, in anticipation of a coming storm, the sky was darkening. School children stopped staring, hoping the weather would pass, hesitate, but moving slowly away; the police urging the flow of people—everyone to stay away. You could hear the police radios, and the news media was announcing the details of the shooting, and storm warnings for the city of Huancayo.
The shooter didn’t want to wait any longer, but still hesitated. The sergeant had told him to stay in place, lest the media located him and dog him down with questions, and they wanted to brief him first.
He drummed his fingers on the sights of his rifle and decided to give it another five more minutes; at which time most of the crowd would have moved away and perhaps the media.
He saw a cameraman, looking about as if lost. A woman stood by his side, pointing, but not at him; it was definitely a day for news.
“By golly,” said the sergeant, “that was one hell of a shot!”
Looking down, full of emotion, the Shooter says, “It was okay,” tangled in his mind, he moves from the table in the bar to a barstool at the bar. The light of the afternoon has faded; twilight has set in, and you could see from the window a stream of cars, small trucks, mini buses, faceless pedestrians—silhouettes, like the one he saw in his rifle sights.
“They all look the same,” he comments as if talking to the person in the mirror across from the bar, on the wall, “you do your job and that is it” (he needs a job, everyone needs a job in Peru, especially in the Andean city of Huancayo) he murmurs, “You’ll never see these folks again. Heck, I never even spoke to the man I killed.”
He needs a siesta, but he orders a beer, “What a sticking job,” he tells himself, out loud, the bartender hears, but doesn’t turn about. “Make that a bottle of Crystal, no tap beer please,” he says. He knows he shouldn’t have come to the bar, but he has.
After several beers, his mouth is open; his chin is resting in the middle of his palm, his elbow on the bar, he stares at his beer, as someone sweeps underneath his barstool. There is a terrible dark stubbornness that has fallen over him.
*((Dedicated to the shooter)(also, it might be of interest to the reader, the actual shooting and bank location was in Lima, not Huancayo, Peru, in the month of December, 2010)) No: 630 (12-11-2010)