It’s time for the policewoman to arrive.
There is such a thing as pure dumb luck.
If she did not walk through the door when she did then Jack would have walked away.
From the policewoman’s perspective:
She crossed the street from the corner instead of remaining on the same side of the street as she did every other night. When she reached the other sidewalk, she was about 20 yards from the nearest window of the store.
As she crossed, she got a better view of the three people in the store and noticed the woman, or girl, was acting oddly as if she had something in her hand, and, from time to time looked down beside her.
A yard or two from the window she stopped, took a deep breath, and then moved slowly, getting a better view of the scene with each step.
Then she saw the gun in the girl’s hand, and the two men, the shopkeeper and a customer facing her, hands up.
It was a convenience store robbery in progress.
She reached for her radio, but it wasn’t there. She was off duty. Instead, she withdrew, and called the station on her mobile phone, and reported the robbery. The officer at the end of the phone said a car would be there in five minutes.
In five minutes there could be dead bodies.
She had to do something, and reached into her bag and pulled out a gun. Not her service weapon, but one she carried in case of personal danger.
Guns are dangerous weapons in the hands of professional and amateur alike. You would expect a professional who has trained to use a gun to not have a problem but consider what might happen in exceptional circumstances.
People freeze under pressure. Alternately, some shoot first and ask questions later.
We have an edgy and frightened girl with a loaded gun, one bullet or thirteen in a magazine, it doesn’t matter. It only takes one bullet to kill someone.
Then there’s the trigger pressure, light or heavy, the recoil after the shot and whether it causes the bullet to go into or above the intended target, especially if the person has never used a gun.
The policewoman, with training, will need two hands to take the shot, but in getting into the shop she will need one to open the door, and then be briefly distracted before using that hand to steady the other.
It will take a lifetime, even if it is only a few seconds.
Actions have consequences:
The policewoman crouched below the window shelf line so the girl wouldn’t see her, and made it to the door before straightening. She was in dark clothes so the chances were the girl would not see her against the dark street backdrop.
Her hand was on the door handle about to push it inwards when she could feel in being yanked hard from the other side, and the momentum and surprise of it caused her to lose balance and crash into the man who was trying to get out.
What the hell…
A second or two later both were on the floor in a tangled mess, her gun hand caught underneath her, and a glance in the direction of the girl with the gun told her the situation had gone from bad to worse.
The girl had swung the gun around and aimed it at her and squeezed the trigger twice.
The two bangs in the small room were almost deafening and definitely disorientating.
Behind her, the glass door disintegrated when the bullet hit it.
Neither she nor the man beside her had been hit.
She felt a kick in the back and the tickling of glass then broke free as the man she’d run into rolled out of the way.
Quickly on her feet, she saw the girl had gone, and wasted precious seconds getting up off the floor, then out the door to find she had disappeared.
She could hear a siren in the distance. They’d find her.
If the policewoman had not picked that precise moment to enter the shop, maybe the man would have got away.
If he’d been aware of the fact he was allowed to leave.
He was lucky not to be shot.
Yet there were two shots, and we know at least one of them broke the door’s glass panel.
Next – the epilog
© Charles Heath 2016-2020