I’m over at Once Upon A Crime again today talking about how I kill people and get away with it.
And speaking of crime. Brett Winn and his date, Melissa are about to face a hostage situation in the continuing saga of Brett’s romance.
Stunned, Brett stared at the photograph held by the masked man with the automatic rifle. It was a glamor picture, with soft lighting and a grey background and Melissa’s smile was sweet and sensual. Not at all like the woman he’d met here tonight.
He kept the camera low, but trained on the man who made his way to each table. Brett jerked his head toward the counter and Melissa caught his meaning. She crawled behind the counter and hid. Only Brett remained in that corner with the cameral rolling. As the man came closer, Brett clicked off the camera and swept it into his bag on the seat.
The smell of sweat assaulted Brett’s senses as the gunman stopped beside his table and shoved the photo in his face.
“What about you? You seen this woman?” The man’s gun was aimed at Brett’s chest and the picture was an inch from his face.
Brett kept calm, though his stomach churned. “No, I don’t know her.”
“She came in here.” The man announced in a loud voice. “There’s no back door. One of you is lying.”
He strode around and pointed the gun at various people. “You’ll all stay here until we’ve searched every inch of this place and if you move or try and call for help, I’ll shoot you.” The gunman’s hand signaled the other two and they began to search the bathrooms.
Then, his ears picked up the sound of a cell phone’s buttons. The noise came from behind the counter where Melissa was hiding. She was dialing 9-1-1.
But the gunman walked back towards him. Any closer, and he’d hear the phone call and she’d get caught. Brett had to do something.
He whipped out his camera. Sure enough, the man strode to Brett’s table. “Put that away. Do you want me to kill you?”
Brett kept the camera trained on the man with the hostages in the background. “Well, no, I’d prefer it if you didn’t, but I would love to get this on YouTube.” His heart was pounding and he was convinced he faced a bullet in his brain.
Instead, the man just reached for the camera and tossed it against the wall where it made a sickening thud and broke into small pieces. “You’re lucky I don’t fucking shoot you.” The man raised the weapon and pressed the muzzle into Brett’s temple.
In his entire life, Brett had never been so terrified. He always wondered what he would be like under this kind of circumstance. He was pleased to see his bladder wasn’t failing him and he didn’t collapse in fear. There was a lot of sweat on his face, but he’d take that over hysterical screaming any day.
The shattering sound of police sirens broke the silence and the gunman whirled around to face the front door.
When several police cars screeched in front of the coffee shop, the masked man shouted for his two confederates and they sprinted out the door.
Brett watched, fascinated, as the police called for the gunman to halt and then sprayed bullets toward them and missed. A police chase began as the men piled into a black van and squealed tires as they barreled down the street.
Melissa appeared beside him, white and shaking, and watched the unfolding drama as well. Brett put his arm around her and made her sit down. “Are you okay? I think you just saved all our lives.”
She buried her face in his chest and murmured, “They were after me. What am I going to do?”