Two shadowy men in blue light, one heavier, the other wiry, grapple over a shotgun below the shop camera. There is no sound. They topple through the blue case. Ice cream treats burst over them. They bash against ordered shelves. Tins tumble. Packets explode. The heavier man wrenches the shotgun free. The wiry man flops into all the shop's goods littering the floor before the counter, the opened till, the dark back doorway.
From the dark doorway behind the opened till, a leveled gun in hand enters the grey frame. A man in uniform. Sergeant’s stripes on the arm. Badge on his shoulder. He jerks the gun toward the floor once. Levels his gun again at the heavier man.
The heavier man swings the shotgun over the wiry man curled up in the shop litter. The gun in the sergeant's hand kicks'kicks. The heavier man crumples over on his face.
The wiry man sits up. The sergeant lifts a hand to his shoulder. He has not advanced, gun aimed at the heavier man in the shadows on the floor.
Wait for back-up. His first instruction to every rookie trainee. But there isn’t time to wait for the squad car that just called in from four blocks away. He is the cop on the spot, heart drumming, throat dry, sweeping his service weapon in the dark as he advances through the back stockroom of Singh’s Grocery. The sergeant’s flashlight has died.
They’re tearing the place apart. He can hear it. He sees enough of them now, through the open stockroom door. Big guy. Little guy. Fighting over a shotgun in the blue glow of the ice cream cabinet. They smash through the glass case. They bash about the shop, two grunting shapes in the gloom. Big guy now has the shotgun. Little guy has dropped to the floor. Till’s open. Till’s in the way. Counter’s in the way.
“POLICE. DROP THE GUN. DO IT NOW.” He aims at the big guy’s head, faceless in the dark, silhouetted blue. He clears the counter, sights his weapon on the big guy’s bulk, aims at the center of mass. “DROP THE GUN.”
Big guy points the shotgun at the little guy, curled up like a baby on the floor. He’s dead – if the cop on the spot hesitates. The weapon kicks’kicks in his hand. Little guy shrieks. Big guy drops.
His heart hammering in his ears, he’s stuck to the spot. He isn’t sure how many times he squeezed the trigger. His hand is shaking. He keys his shoulder radio. “Bravo Eight. Suspect down. Request ambulance my location.” He has never shot a living person. He wants his wife.
Old bleeper’s…BLEEPIN’ STRONG. Why’s he got a bleepin’ shotgun for? Don’t like being knocked over twice the same week? Bleeper! My shoulder, man! Cornetto heaven, YUM. But, Hey, let’s tango, you old…BLEEPER. MY. OW. BACK.
BLEEP! He got the bleepin’ shotgun. HE’S CRAZY. Bleep bleep bleep. “Sorry. Sorry.” I’m down. Staying down, see? I’m small as I can make myself. I’d hide under the tins, cornettos, bags of chips. Can’t make myself any smaller!
“POLICE. DROP THE GUN. DO IT NOW.”
A cop. Oh, Thank You Thank You.
“DROP THE GUN.”
Old man Singh can’t hear you, Cop. It’s why we laugh at him.
Yeah. Okay. That was me screaming.
“Bravo Eight. Suspect down. Request ambulance my location,” the cop’s saying into his shoulder thing.
He hasn’t put his gun away. Still pointing it, over at the stupid old bleeper. The cop’s hand’s shaking bad. His eyes look weird. He’s just staring. I gotta say something. Like…Bleep happens. Maybe he’ll put in a good word for me with the judge.