Friday, July 13, 2018

The Shootout

The bartender was eating ice cream with a fork. I inched my hand down to my blaster, suddenly aware of my situation. The only question that mattered was how many it had brought along.

Of the dozen or so patrons in the joint, I doubted more than three were true shifters. If I was in real shit, a handful would be labs - hopefully whoever set up this ambush didn't know the full price on my head and only brought a couple. In any case, I had to act.

I shot up from my seat and flashed the bartender a big smile. Only four sets of eyes locked on to me with the abrupt move - a good sign of odds I could handle. In a voice loud enough that everyone could hear, I pushed out a simple question: "shitter?"

I knew where the bathroom was - everyone knew where the bathroom was. The thing about shifters is that they wouldn't know a bullshit question if it were delivered in a pile of manure. Oblivious, the bartender pointed toward the back, toward the only door in the place that didn't open out to a street. The gunmen relaxed a little - and why wouldn't they? They were a minute away from literally catching me with my pants down. I twisted as if I were following the bartender's instruction and knocked over my barstool.

As it hit the ground with a 'clack!' I fired my first shot. It about blew half a shifter's face off. My second shot hit a lab in the throat. The bar erupted in sound - the shifter let out a raspy hiss as it lost its human form and the lab half screamed, half gurgled as his blood covered every surface surrounding him. The usual sounds of surprise began to crescendo as I swung around and planted a third shot square in the bartender's chest.

I transitioned to defense as I grabbed at my chest, screamed, and fell to the ground. I didn't have time to take out the other two outright, so I hoped this dumb ruse might just buy me the moment I needed.

Sure enough, in the chaos, the lab looked to the shifter like a pup to its master. I was to be taken alive and my theatrics deterred a shot on their end, to their end. Bouncing and twisting as I hit the floor, my next shot winged the shifter. I followed up with a shot that separated the lab's eyes from his head.

Although I'd count it as a miss, the damage I did to the shifter's frail frame caused its arm to fall off as it started to lift its blaster. My final shot of the encounter wiped the confused look off its face.

The whole thing took just a few seconds, but it certainly felt like an hour. As I wound down from full alert, the brevity of the encounter became evident as the other bar patrons just started to react. Most dove to the floor or otherwise found cover, but to drew old-style pistols. It was way too late for them to do anything, but I appreciated their implicit support. God knows we could have used more armed folk when the shifter first invaded.

Heaving back to my feet, I steadied myself on the bar as everyone digested what had happened. I reached over the bar, grabbed a random bottle, and spoke everyone's favorite words.

"Drinks on the house!"

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