Listen, you’ve gotta hear this.
I was over by my Ma. I don’t see her much, but I’m trying to do better.
Some of you guys have met my girlfriend, Doris. She comes from a big family so I figure I’ll take her over to Ma’s house and that way I get to see my Ma and Doris sees that I’m a good family man. Can’t hurt.
We don’t stay long, just have a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. Took Ma and Doris a few minutes to dance around and get the feel of each other, but they seemed to hit it off.
Nice girl, Ma says to me when we’re leaving.
Back in the car I turn on Bunker Street where there’s a stop light.
I look over at Doris who is laughing and see her expression change.
I turn to the side window and find myself looking into a gun barrel. Guy taps the window and makes a gesture to say he wants me to lower the window.
Get out he says, I’m taking your car.
You know I love that Caddy.
This is going to turn out badly for you, I tell the guy.
What’s going on? Doris says.
Get out, the guy says again.
Any way I can talk you out of this? I say.
Now, he screams so I shot him.
I used a revolver I keep in a slip rig under the steering wheel. I put two 38 special rounds into his right shoulder from maybe a foot away. That arm would never work right again.
Oh, my God, Doris says.
The gun man had fallen to the ground. When I opened my door, I had to push hard to move his body out of the way.
He says, You shot me.
Damn right, I say. What the fuck is wrong with you?
Doris gets out and walks around to stand next to me. Maybe we should call the police, she says.
I explain to her without telling her too much about the details why calling the police is not a smart move.
I’ve been unfairly accused a few times and that’s made me leery of getting involved with the police, I tell her.
Doris raises her eyebrows in an exaggerated look of surprise, but then just nods and says, okay.
I look up and down the street.
It’s pretty much deserted out there and even if somebody heard the shots they’d be more likely to take cover than investigate or call the cops.
Help me, lady, the guy says.
Doris gives him a good kick in his wounded shoulder. He screams again. I think she was aiming for his head, but missed.
Asshole, she says. Then she bends over and picks up his piece. I can see that it’s a Sig 226, pretty fancy gun for a street punk. Doris drops the mag and racks the slide to get the round out of the chamber. Then she dumps the gun in her purse. I wish to hell she hadn’t done that.
I would have just left him there, but now Doris has his gun and there is no way to run that clock backwards.
I bent over and looked closer. The blood was pooling, but not spurting so I figured I had not hit an artery. I made a compress of one of the gun rags in my bag in the trunk and told him to keep it in place. Then we dragged him into the back seat.
Where you taking me, he says.
For help, I say. You want me to send you to hell instead? Grab his wallet, I tell Doris.
I pull out his driver’s license. Martyn Cole. That you?
How come you spell your name like a fag?
I ain’t no fag.
I want to drop Doris off at her house so I can take care of this guy, but I cannot forget the gun in her purse.
I want to go with you, she says when I tell her.
Marty, you know I could have killed you, I say to the guy. Two in the head instead of the shoulder and you’d be trying to jack cars in hell.
I’ve got your name and address here. I don’t want to have to come looking for you after this is all over because you keep acting stupid.
You really taking me to a doctor? Through the pain in his face I see the fear.
I know a guy who’ll patch you up.
I look at Doris. She says, Maybe you shouldn’t take any chances. You could use his gun.
What the hell? I’m thinking.
Doris says, Martyn, I can patch up your shoulder, but either one of us could just as easily shoot you and leave your corpse down by the wharf till it rotted away. Your choice.
Help me, he says. I won’t’ mess with you.
What the fuck? Doris is a hostess at the Idlewild Tap. Suddenly she’s a killer?
You know, she says, I could bandage those wounds.
You know how to do that? I say.
I’ve patched up guys in worse shape. I was a combat medic in Afghanistan.
I think I just looked at her.
We can take him to my place, Doris says.
I think that means you’re not sure, Doris says.
She studies him for a minute and shakes her head. She takes the gun from her purse, jams the mag into the gun and pops him twice in the chest.
This is the biggest surprise of my life. I know the woman maybe a week and I know for sure I am going to marry her. Some marriages are made in heaven. Some are made in hell. But some are just meant to be.
And don’t forget; my Ma likes her too.