A bullet whizzed by my head, trimming off a stray eyebrow hair. The hair floated gently towards my lap and was halfway there when it was bisected by another bullet. The two pieces continued to drift down, the next seven rounds missing them all together.
“Hey,” I said, trying to make myself heard over the gunfire. “I really do appreciate this, I do, but-“
“Quiet!” the Dame interrupted. “I’m saving your sorry ass.” She crouched beside me, her shoulder brushing my arm and quickly reloaded. She leaned back out and unloaded, her .38 firing exactly 7.3 times. She ducked back as the Mountebank returned fire, each of his bullets tipped with a smiley face.
“And I’m overjoyed to see you. However, could you do me small favor?”
“What?” She said, as she pulled another speed loader out of her pocket and reloaded. The Dame was wearing one of her dark suits again, complete with black gloves and a pair of oversize sunglasses.
“Could you maybe stop using me as cover?”
The Dame didn’t pause. “You’re the only thing big enough to hide behind.”
I began to point out the flaw in her logic, but she unloaded again, directly in front of my face, briefly deafening me. I glanced over at Donna. She had fallen asleep in her chair, a tiny rivulet of drool running from the corner of her mouth.
I took a deep breath as the bullets continued to fly past me. There was already a pile of bullet casings around my feet and I sent a silent ‘thank you’ into the ether that the Dame wasn’t dropping the searing hot brass onto my lap.
A shoe flew by. I have no idea where it came from.
The Dame and the Mountebank continued their shoot out. I sighed and began idly tapping on the chair back with my right hand. One, two, blam, blam, blam. Three, four, blam, blam, blam. It was a tango in bullets, accompanied by Donna’s rhythmic snoring.
The Dame dropped behind me again. “Dammit,” she said. “I can’t seem to hit him.”
I sat up straight as a metaphoric light bulb flicked on in my head. Then it switched off again. And then on, repeating a pattern. I then realized that I don’t know Morse Code and that if I was going to have an epiphany, I should do it in a language I understood.
“Hey!” I said when the fire ebbed for a brief moment. “Stop shooting! This is pointless!”
“Is not!” the Mountebank called back, from somewhere off to my left.
I silently counted to ten, despite every fiber of my being wanting to shout back ‘is too!' “Could you please stop shooting for a second?” I said in the next lull. “None of us can get more than winged anyway.”
“Why?” the Mountebank asked. I could hear a fresh magazine being slammed into his pistol. And then I smelled cookies.
“Because we’re all main characters and this is the first shoot-out.”
The Dame poked me in the ribs. “What are you talking about?”
“Look, its simple. We’re all main characters. That means that no of us can get killed. Sure, somebody might get winged and be miraculously fine the next day, but none of us are going to die. We have to have at least two more shoot outs before that happens.”
I turned to the Dame. “How many shots have you fired?”
She shrugged and glanced down at her brass casings. “A lot.”
“And you,” I said to the Mountebank.
“One hundred forty eight,” he said instantly.
“So, the two of you have shot around three hundred rounds at each other from maybe fifteen feet away and haven’t hit anything.”
“That is,” began the Mountebank. “Kinda odd.”
“Plot armor,” I said. “None of us can die just yet.”
“Then what the hell are we supposed to do?” asked the Dame.
“It’s gonna go like this,” I said.
Next: Part 6