The world is a strange place.
Let's keep it that way.
Work had been rough, but he had made it. Jim had survived the week in that goddamned office, and at last it was time to relax. A smile beamed out from his face, greeting the nice old lady with the two dogs down the road from his apartment block and the friendly looking builders working on a nearby wall. He even forced a smile for the weirdo who lived two doors down the hall, who seemed to be donning a ridiculous feather hat and rainbow waistcoat.
He didn't care - he had bigger fish to fry.
Jim sauntered into the flat, the bag of Chinese takeaway grasped tight in his hand as he kicked off his shoes and made his way to the couch.
The world outside was relatively quite - just the usual 10 'o' clock traffic, with the hum of next door's TV left on a static channel and the sound of a squeaking bed across the hall. Typical teens - they'd moved in yesterday, and already they were at it. He flicked on his own TV as his hand reached into the bag on dim sum, calm as ever and beginning to wind down even more.
This was Friday night, and he was going to wallow in the glory that was junk food and cheap porn.
A single bullet put a stop to that.
His TV exploded in a barrage of sparks, and he leapt behind the couch as it fell to the floor, blue droplets still leaping from it. He kept down, and felt his hand start to shiver. Another bullet pierced the air, lodging itself into his wall - then another into a painting, precisely removing the left ear of the nude image it conveyed.
He scooted around the couch, fingers in ears as more bullets whizzed through the air and sailed into his wall - then, silence. He lifted his body to have a look outside, only to see the builders from the wall outside armed with revolvers, eyes trained on his windows. Another bullet missed his head by a few inches, and he collapsed with a shriek - one which, had he not been alone, he would have surely denied for its similarities to a Bee Gee having his balls caught in a vice...
His mental metaphor was cut short by the sound of reloading and a torrent of lead pummelling his walls - the mad bastards are using tommy guns, for fuck's sake! What did I do?
More manic firing before more silence, and a few more rounds were unloaded before he heard van doors opening and closing, and an engine roared into action. Wheels screeched - quiet once again.
He looked at the carnage before him.
The wall was riddled with bullets. The top half of the door no longer existed in any form other than singed splinters across the corridor beyond. The nude he'd had painted for "inspiration" was now a battered frame with scraps of canvas attached.
His bell rang from outside. He whipped out his phone and accessed the camera he'd had set up - it was the weirdo from two doors down the hall, feather hat and all, with a daft looking grin on his face.
"Saltuations," he boomed.
"Er..." Jim tried to wrap his head around the situation. First gunmen, now the neighbour he'd never really met - what next? Catholic schoolgirls with katanas?
He quickly fred to put that image out of his head as he attempted an intelligent response.
"Hello," he mumbled.
"Come down here, will you? I left my key inside, and - well - I need to get back in."
"Bring a corkscrew, will you? Bottle of red for your trouble." He beamed again, in that same false way.
"Honestly, I'd-" Whatever warmth from the neighbour's face left as his voice became cold.
"I insist. They're watching. Bring a corkscrew."
So much for Friday night.