Illustration by Chris Murray

Getting The Point

It was a Saturday afternoon at the local monster-mega-warehouse club. The parking lot was packed and the closest parking space was about three-quarters of the way across the parking lot. I took the spot, locked up and headed in. The walk across the ocean of asphalt was uneventful.
I did my shopping and headed out to the car with a cart full of items. About halfway across the parking lot a guy walked past me, heading in the opposite direction. He had a cell phone in his hand and looked like the typical working class guy. His clothes weren’t dirty, but they showed a little age. He hadn’t shaved, but it was still just stubble. He could have been anybody, and did not stick out of the crowd.

Walking past I heard him let out a curse. I looked over my shoulder and he was patting his pockets. I thought, “I bet he locked his keys in the car. That sucks.” Then I just kept right on walking. A couple of seconds later I heard him coming up behind me. I didn’t think twice. I just assumed he was going back to his car, wherever it was. Then I realized he was keeping near perfect pace beside me.

I pushed the cart over a little to create some space. I looked at him and he made eye contact. I nodded and said, “Hi.” He nodded and looked away. Then I heard him say, “Hey buddy.”
It wasn’t a whisper, it was just slightly lower than conversational. So, I looked over to see if he was on the phone or talking to me. I looked down and saw that he had a knife in his left hand. It was low and near his body. It was displayed just enough to make sure I noticed it. When he saw me look, he said something like, “How about helping me out with a few bucks.”

Luckily he was pacing me on my left-hand side. So, his body was between the knife and me. To get me he would have needed to pivot and thrust. That is probably the main thing that worked in my favor.

I jumped to the right and pulled the cart between us. I turned so that I was facing him and my back was towards the parked cars. Everything slowed down to a crawl. It felt like my body was moving through cold molasses. A million thoughts were pounding through my head extremely fast. I was just backpedaling and trying to get my bearings. Then I felt my legs bang against the bumper of a car. That is when the fight instinct took over.

I reached for my revolver and began my draw. I brought it up and into the ready position. The front sight was hovering somewhere between his sternum and nipples. It felt like it took hours, but I know it was less than 2 or 3 seconds. By the time the gun was on target he was just getting his hand on the cart to shove it out of the way. However, he saw the gun and froze. We stood there staring at each other. Then I shouted, “Go, just f****** go!” He dropped the knife and took off running.

I almost left the house without my revolver that day. My wife had been ribbing me about carrying. I had become self-conscious about it and started carrying less. Now every time she asks me, “Are you really going to carry that thing” I have a perfect answer. “Yes, it saved my life once and it might save yours next time.”

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