Pluribus 23

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September 30, 2031, 11:30 AM.

As Don and Tap tried to drag Sherman Loman’s body across the wood deck, they heard the plinking of bullets puncturing the side of the trailer.

Don tugged the body toward the trailer’s front screen door. “Inside! Now!”

Tap was closer to the door and heard a low growl inside. “Dog!”

He pulled out his gun and fired a tranquilizer dart through the screen. They awkwardly dragged Loman through the door and around the sleeping dog and onto a worn sofa.

Tap petted the pit bull and removed the dart. “Must weigh 200 kilos. Who said dogs don’t resemble their owners?”

Don looked around the living room and saw something he hadn’t seen since his army days, Kevlar tarpaulin. The bulletproof tarp was hung on every exterior wall, with flaps for windows and doors, just like a command post trailer in Afghanistan. There were gun cases and ammo boxes everywhere. The kitchen cabinets were full of old MRE packages and fridge was full of beer. It was a redneck’s dream.

The sound of bullets plinking against the trailer at steady intervals continued. Tap pulled one of his darts out of Loman. “Well, we’re safe for the moment. It’s probably not my place to say this, but aren’t there lots of guns in here for a private home?”

Don turned from peeking out the window. “Americans have lots of guns in their houses. That’s why we haven’t moved farther inland.” He squinted at Tap. “What is that on your suit?”

A spent bullet was stuck in the left shoulder of his suit. Tap plucked it off like it was a piece of lint and looked toward the window. “Damn! Do they know how hard it is to mend a tailored Kevlar suit? Who do you think our sniper is?” He handed the bullet to Don.

Don held it to the light. It was a 22-caliber shell. “I think it’s from the same gun that killed the lawyer in Shanghai. Someone used to killing up close. If that had been a real sniper you’re head would be missing.” He put it in his pocket.

“It’s her, she’s trying to kill us.”

Don and Tap turned to find Loman awake on the sofa. Talking in a woman’s voice.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.