The Shoot-Out

The three of them sat on the diving board, high above the indoor public pool, bathing suits still wet, Amra, Kelly, and Dave, watching below as the water filled with, alternately, dead mobsters and cops. The gunfire was deafening, every shot echoing across the water. The shoot-out had been going on for hours now and neither side appeared to be winning. As soon as it seemed the cops had the upper hand, riddling the gangsters’ Armani suits with bullets and watching the last one topple into the swimming pool, another wave would arrive and Tommy guns would erupt with volleys of bullets that sent the officers for cover behind the knocked-over lockers. Most of the regular swimmers had run out screaming long ago but the three kids had gotten trapped on top of the high dive when the shoot-out began.

They had been watching the bodies fill with holes and teeter into the Olympic-sized pool for an hour now, the blue chlorinated water turning a bright red. Amra tried covering Kelly’s eyes, who was the youngest, but Kelly struggled to free herself- she just had to see- and Amra was in such shock she gave up trying to shelter her.

“That’s my Dad,” Dave said suddenly. They looked down and saw a balding guy in a Speedo pick up one of the sub-machine guns and let the cops have it. Then he turned it on the remaining gangsters, who were too surprised to retaliate until it was too late. Before long all the remaining cops and gangsters lay on the tile or floated in the gory water. Dave’s dad walked up and down the pool, kicking the bodies to make sure they were all dead. “Dad!” Dave cried from above. Dave’s dad looked up at the kids with a crazed look in his eye and raised the weapon to point it at them. Just then one of the gangsters, who lay half in and half out of the pool, summoned the last of his strength and shot at Dave’s dad. He missed and was treated to an onslaught of Dave’s dad’s bullets, causing his perforated body to slip all the way into the pool. “Dad, it’s me, Dave!” Dave called down again.

“What the hell you doing up there, Dave? You could get shot!” Dave’s dad said. He dropped the sub machine gun and picked up another. “All right, we’re coming down,” Dave said.

“What the hell! Don’t come down here!” his Dad shouted. After picking up a few more pistols and draping an ammo belt over his bare shoulder, Dave’s dad went down the hallway toward the front of the building. More gunfire was heard. When it had quieted, the three kids slowly descended the metal ladder, knees trembling. When they reached the bottom they each wrestled a pistol out of a different dead man’s hand before heading to the hallway.

The entry was littered with more dead gangsters and cops but there was no sign of Dave’s Dad. When they got outside the sun was blinding. Dave’s dad, still in his Speedo, posed with his weapons for photographers as a SWAT team stormed past into the building. The kids, unnoticed in the commotion, dropped their pistols and slipped into the crowd, heading straight to their best friend Howie’s house, to tell him what happened.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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