Awhile back someone on Twitter asked who was going to be the Tom Wolfe of the Dark Enlightenment/Red Pill (I’ll find it and give credit in due time). I decided it might as well be me, and I’ve been working on it for some weeks now. It will probably be mid-summer before it’s published, but while we wait for the fruits here’s a sample (yeah, my fictional style is different, and yeah, it’s present tense and no, it’s not the final edit):
San Jose, California, April 19, 7:35 pm
The second I remember clearest is that James is chewing his second bite of steak when the first pop! comes from somewhere out in the main mall. He’s still holding the fork pointed up at the ceiling and I swear to God I can remember every clink of glass that was in that moment, the green bottle of $200 scotch on the top shelf of the bar behind him, the red/brown paint on the walls and a million other things.
By now there’ve been enough shootings that some people are aware, one might say, but not one of the others there does much more than move their heads toward the sound but James and I look at each other for some part of a second and we know, then pop!pop!pop! three more and they’re louder. More like boom. I grab my empty bourbon glass, it’s the heaviest thing at hand, we’re down low on our hands and knees, partly under the next table toward the door and James has got his steak knife. I look at him and he looks at me and we don’t actually need to say anything at all, we talked this through a few times before: “What would you do if…” and the door from the mall slams open and two quick rounds go off, loud as the end of the fucking world, it’s obviously a rifle not some 9mm, I’m sure people are screaming but it’s quiet in my bubble now.
I can’t and won’t forget my research on the shooting at Virginia Tech back in ’97, the guy who did it, what when where and how, the psych drugs he was on like almost all these dudes, but the dry facts were nothing compared to the story of some poor bastard undergrad cowering in a lecture hall and as the shooting got closer telling others, “It’s okay, they’re coming, they’re coming to help us!” but “they” weren’t fucking coming, not in any kind of timely fashion and a minute later the guy was dead. Lesson number one is, They are not fucking coming.
There’d been plenty of the shootings, before and after that one, and occasionally I wondered why there had been hardly any until I was a kid, seeing as how high school boys used to bring their loaded Winchester deer rifles to school and anyone could buy a Tommy gun by mail until 1935. But I was mostly interested in what if?
A lot of times running fast and far away is your best chance but I look left and the door to the outside is traffic-jammed with four or five screaming, jerking people, the ones coming to the back of the line aren’t going anywhere, and there are three more shots and two of them start to fall, back of their shirts stained with blood and I look over at James and I go left and he swings around the base of the table right, two more shots and they seem right over my head.
I can’t see the shooter yet but those two locate him and one deep breath and I pop up, everything seems to have slowed waaaay down now there was the smell of burned gunpowder and yes, blood, it’s uncanny that you can smell at a time like that, but I’m not hearing anymore, the last two shots were just bursts of air pressure on my face. I pop up like I’m on a spring, arm back for the best fucking fastball of my life, the whole the space right around him seems so clear, like diamond, you can see so much in so little time when you’re focused like this everything around him is a fog but he’s everything in the world to me now, black thin hair, short haircut, patchy beard, black skintight shirt, he’s facing quartered away to my right some kind of AK-47 clone with the butt shoved in his right hip, a couple of magazines sticking out of the pouches in a web belt at his waist, and my vision is down to a square inch above his right ear, my arm seems to go in slow motion but I know where the glass is going, it’s in the air and I’m following right behind it like I can fly too, I feel the pressure wave of another shot going off as the glass hits, his head jerking sideways, and now I’m on him, he’s off balance and I hit him right in the hip with a form tackle, lifting the motherfucker off his feet and keeping him up off the ground, unable to do anything as I twist and do my best to make sure his head hits the floor first, he’s hanging on to the rifle with both hands and can’t break the fall, but as we hit it’s mostly on his shoulder, he grunts with the pain but instinctively he’s trying to swing the muzzle around but it’s a bad move because I’m too close and the muzzle is too far, pointed in the wrong direction, I stop it with my right forearm lever up and slam my left fist into the side of his face, I can actually feel his beard rubbing against my wrist, his head jerks away and I feel him heave trying to get me off but I’ve got all the leverage and I pin his neck with my forearm long enough to get to my knees and now I start hitting him with my right, hard and fast and I feel his cheekbone crumble on the second strike but I hit him four or five more times, it’s all a little foggy now, my arm is like a machine blood is streaming out of his mouth and nose and he’s not moving.
I rip the rifle out of his cradled arms and now I start to hear again, screams and cries and a ringing in my ears from the shots, I’m sucking in air so hard it hurts my throat but I don’t feel like there’s any oxygen in it, I stagger a few steps toward the bar and lay the rifle down on it, see the bartender in a fatal fetal position on the floor behind and gasp “Secure the fucking weapon,” I should wait to see if he does but I don’t, turn to my right and I see James on his side, facing me. There’s a hole trickling blood where his left eye used to be. His steak knife is under his hand, pointed at the shooter. The pool of spreading blood behind him makes clear that this is it.
There will be time to touch him in a minute. I feel the breath coming a little easier now and I stagger back over to the shooter, dirty insect Muslim motherfucker that shot my friend, my brother, my right hand is throbbing it’s likely broken and he’s still unconscious so I kickstomp his bearded face once! twice! making sure the heel is hitting him right in the eye, and I raise my foot again but I feel a squeeze on my shoulder, jerk my head around but no one is there, and I hear James’ voice whisper “It’s cool, man. This was it, and we did right. Perfect. Let’s take a rest.” But there’s no one there. James is still down but I know he’s right and I sit, he’s always right and my heart is hammering, hammering but I focus on it until I can see it and start to slow it a little at a time, if I tried to slow it too much too fast it would stop. I can breathe alright now but my stomach isn’t going to listen and I vomit out the beginnings of dinner, in seconds there’s nothing else but faint retchings of acid left and I feel fine now, great. We did it right. Mohamed or whoever-the-fuck isn’t moving and it really is time to take a rest. I lean back against the bar and close my eyes and wait for the police.