"You gonna kill her?"
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Lola Bunny peeked over Lisa’s shoulder. “What a predicament,” she said, shaking her head from side to side sympathetically. She pulled a carrot from behind her ears and munched on it in a businesslike fashion, as if eating was an action item on a checklist. “You gonna kill her?” she asked, friendly curiosity in her voice. “Pretty sure Darryl would if he were in your shoes.”
“Not her,” Heath muttered under his breath. “Maybe the other two.”
He took his arm from around Nora’s shoulder and glared at her. She smiled sheepishly and shrugged her shoulders a little. Heath turned to Danny. “You want to tell me what this is about?” he asked irritably.
The pimp’s smile, for the first time, looked relaxed and genuine. He nodded easily at the meerschaum in Nora’s hand. “Take a hit, man,” he said, lighting his own pipe and taking a deep drag, as if to set an example for Heath. He exhaled a cloud of smoke. “It’ll be easier for you.”
Heath rolled his eyes. He took a deep breath and stood up with exaggerated care, telegraphing his movements to the point of pantomime so Danny wouldn’t see him as trying to intimidate or to leave. This wasn’t going to be the catharsis he’d hoped for. This, he knew, was going to be a rolling clusterfuck with repercussions, and he’d have only himself to blame for having gotten involved when it was over and done with.
He turned around and faced Lisa, or Ronnie, whatever she was calling herself now, holding out his right hand in gentle supplication. “Do you remember me, Lisa?” he said quietly. “I was your dad’s student. I used to go to the bus stop with him to pick you up when you were little and walk you home after school.”
Lisa’s mouth opened a little bit, and her face seemed to reconfigure itself. The hardness dropped out of it and she looked for a moment like a girl of nine or ten. “Heath?” she said in a voice that was both soft and hoarse, as if she hadn’t used it in a while and couldn't quite remember how it was supposed to sound. “Is that you?”
The muzzle of the pistol fell a few inches, at which point Heath took another deep breath in, raised his cupped left hand in the same gentle gesture, and fired a half-second burst of pepper spray into Lisa’s face from the ASP Palm Defender he’d spent the last two minutes working loose from the square of duct tape that had secured it to the inside of his wrist.
Lisa flinched, startled, and then dropped the gun, her hands flying up too late to protect her face as she began to cough and retch. The gun bounced off the doorframe beside her, slid across the parquet floor, and came to rest in the middle of the hallway.
Heath was already in motion. He wheeled around and backhanded Nora off the sofa, knocking her to the ground with his right hand in case she got any ideas, and emptied the Palm Defender into Danny’s face as the pimp rose from his chair.
Danny’s hands, too, came up in a futile effort to shield his face. Heath stepped forward and slapped him in the balls with the back of his hand. Danny made a little wheezing sound and doubled over, his head whipping downward. Heath’s knee snapped up to meet it in a short, controlled motion. There was an audible crunch as it impacted Danny’s face, and a fountain of scarlet erupted from the pimp’s nose and mouth, spattering Heath’s pant leg and boots. Danny went down on one knee and Heath helped him find the floor with an elbow strike that should have landed on the nape of his neck, but caught him on the back of his head instead. Danny fell back against his chair, which tipped sideways and landed on top of him. He lay there shuddering, his body spasming and twitching uncontrollably.
Heath turned around once more and climbed up and over the couch. He bent down to collect the pistol in passing as he strode past Lisa, who was down on her hands and knees, throwing up. He grabbed his peacoat from the peg on which Nora had hung it without breaking stride and hurried through the kitchen and out the door into the driveway. Only when he was outside and could feel the cold night air on his face did he exhale.
His eyes were streaming with tears and his nose had started to run uncontrollably, but he had managed to keep from inhaling any of the airborne pepper inside. It hung on his clothing, though, stinging his lungs, and he had a coughing fit. He got control of himself long enough to stuff the pistol in his pants pocket and unclip his keys from the ring on his belt. He opened the driver’s side door of his beat-up F-150, retching a little, and, fumbled in the console until he found the little nylon pouch he was looking for.
He slid one of the foil packets out of the pouch, tore it open with his teeth, and unfolded the decontamination towelette it contained with exaggerated care. He mopped his face, taking care to wipe his upper lip and the insides of his nostrils, replaced the towelette in its foil packet, and tossed it into the cab of the truck. He ripped open the foil of a second packet and tipped his head back, squeezing the liquid out of the towelette and letting it pool in his eye sockets for the requisite thirty seconds.
He wiped his eyes with the squeezed-out towelette, replaced it in its packet and tossed that, too, in the cab of the truck. He stripped off his tee shirt, balled it up with his peacoat and threw the bundle onto the floor of the passenger side, climbed into the truck, and started the engine. He peeled out of the driveway, did a K-turn, and careened down the quiet street for four blocks before switching on his headlights and slowing down to turn onto the road that would take him back to the highway and home.
Very well-done action scene. Tight, controlled, and clearly-intentioned, with just enough intrigue off the front end to make you wonder.
This is how scenes of violent action should be done; crisp, unsentimental and composed mainly of kinetic cause/effect imagery. Well done, brother!