Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

by Eric Poirier

From Dom’s Perspective

Dom pulled his pants up for the fifth time tonight. He finally decided to poke a new hole in his belt using the blade on his Swiss Army knife. This took him several minutes and put him behind schedule. The spaghetti noodles he had for fingers were not cooperating with him. They were trembling. To anyone watching from a distance he looked like a young man standing outside the 7Eleven trying to find his penis inside his baggy pants. But this minor detail was crucial and worth looking like an idiot to late night passersby. Can’t have my pants botching my escape, he thought.

Operation Make-Pants-Stay-On was accomplished. Dom returned the Swiss Army knife to his back pocket. He inhaled, held it, and exhaled. His immediate surroundings were dark and quiet. The street was empty. The self-serve gas station next door was lit up but the pumps were not being used. The parking spaces in front of the 7Eleven were vacant except for a Skoda Fabia that had parked over the right line and on top of the curb in front of it.

Dom held up the foot-long index finger on his right hand and, at the same time, stuck out his thumb; even his thumbs could polish the inside of a bullet casing. He took another deep breath. I don’t have any other choices, he thought before shoving his pistol-shaped hand inside his jacket pocket. It would have to do. He walked into the store.

The automatic doors pulled apart to reveal quiet aisles, undisturbed shelves of products and a goatee sporting, bald cashier staring him down; his red, sleeveless employee vest was barely being held together in the front by the remaining button. The sound of a bag of frozen peas hitting the floor startled Dom. He scanned the store until his eyes fell upon the top of someone’s head floating in the middle of one of the aisles. Whoever it was, they were short.

Dom realized he had been standing in the doorway inspecting the store. This is it. He made his jacket protrude again with his hand pistol before crossing the threshold and rushing the cashier; the top of his head just brushed the top edge of the doorway.

‘Give me the fuckin’ money,’ Dom demanded, pointing his protrusion at the cashier’s belly.

‘Oh my God,’ a woman shrieked behind him. Dom turned to see a short, blond chick cowering next to the rack of cheap sunglasses; she nearly knocked it over. This one wasn’t going to cause him trouble.

At the counter, Dom got a good look at the cashier. He wasn’t bald by choice. A new shadow of head stubble was already growing back. His deep brown eyes were surrounded by crows’ feet. A striking scar decorated the right side of his face from temple to jaw line. But the most significant detail Dom noticed was that the cashier never flinched or budged.

‘I said gimme the fawkin mawney maddafukka!’

‘I heard you the first time,’ the cashier calmly said. ‘What the hell are you going to do with that?’

‘Blow a hole in your fat stomach if you don’t do what I say.’

‘Unless your finger can project your nails at the speed of light, I don’t think you’ll be doing much damage, buddy,’ the cashier explained in a low voice.

This guy’s been in the shit, Dom thought.

He pulled his pistol hand out, extended his fingers and waved it at the cashier.

‘Gotcha?’ Dom squeaked.

‘Nice try.’ The cashier reached underneath the counter with his right hand. Dom’s heart stopped. He pictured how a shotgun blast destroying his head might look like from the cowering woman’s perspective. The cashier pulled out a phone receiver and with his other hand dialled. Dom could easily make out the sound of a chubby sausage punching 911.

The would-be criminal turned and bolted for the automatic doors. They failed to open fast enough to let him through. He crashed into them, bounced back and lunged forward again, this time making it through. He had a lot of running ahead of him tonight. But if it turned into a foot chase, his long legs might give him the advantage.

From Fran’s Perspective

I needed some sugar to stay awake. Nearly veering off the road into the ditch wasn’t enough of a jolt to make it home. Good thing the 7Eleven was still open. I decided to stop to buy a pack of Skittles, hoping the munching would work. I barely made it to the parking lot in front of the store. I tried my best to park properly but alas failed miserably like always. How hard is it to line up a small car in between two lines in an empty parking lot? For me, hard. I even hit the curb. The scraping noise made me cringe. Any person of normal height would’ve had enough leg length to fully depress the break pedal in time.

The burly cashier eyeballed me all the way from the entrance to the candy aisle. He didn’t say anything but his eyes read ‘Nice parking job, lady.’

I should’ve been out of there in less than five minutes, but quick and easy are not in my vocabulary; something my husband always jokes about. Buying a bag of Skittles at an empty 7Eleven after midnight should be a boring story. Not for me. Shit just always seems to happen. Like that time I was flying from Cuba to Frankfurt and some volcano in Iceland erupted, closing air travel over Europe, and diverting my plane to Palma de Mallorca. I was stranded at the airport for three days. Desperate travellers were rushing the one check-in counter like zombies fighting for the last human. Or, like when I was in Turkey thinking I was buying some time in a steam room. Instead, I was led to a tiled room by a Turk in a loin cloth and asked to lie down on a tiled dais. Tarzan then ripped off my towel and proceeded to exfoliate every inch of my exposed body with what felt like sandpaper. That’s what a Turkish bath in Turkey is, apparently. Shit just happens, like tonight.

It took me several minutes to find the Skittles rack. Once I zoned in on them it took me several more minutes to decide on what flavour: Original; Tropical; Wild Berry. Then I couldn’t decide on the bag size: small; medium; big enough to knock out a horse. I chose the jumbo pack of Original Skittles.

For some reason I started reading the ingredients on the back of the bag. I became fixated until the sound of the automatic doors opening made me snap out of it. The bag slid from my hands and made a noise. I didn’t look around to see if the cashier was still staring at me (not that I could see over the aisles anyway).

I picked up the bag and made my way towards the cashier. I stopped to look at the rack of sunglasses. A very cool pair of aviators caught my eye.

‘Give me the fucking money,’ a gigantic man in baggy pants and a jacket shouted. He rushed the counter, pointing what looked like a small canon from inside of his pocket.

‘Oh my God,’ I shrieked. I stumbled back nearly knocking over the rack of nice sunglasses. I dropped down to my knees, lowered my head and placed my hands behind my head; the jumbo pack of Skittles smacked me hard. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the appropriate defensive position. Some other pedestrian unaware of the situation might have thought a bomb was dropping.

I simply froze and hoped to see my husband again. I wanted to hear his ‘I told you so’. The blood was rushing to my head. It sounded like I was standing next to running water. I don’t remember hearing much. All I registered was what the robber said because he shouted.

‘Give me the fucking money or I’ll blow your stomach, fatty!’

The cashier must have cooperated. The robber then said ‘Gotcha’; probably some snarky remark as he grabbed the cash and ran. I then heard a crashing noise at the doors. I assumed the giant simply bulldozed his way out of the store.

I remained frozen until I heard the cashier talking to me: ‘You ok lady?’ I looked up to see him looking down at me, his ear stuck to the phone. I imagined he was calling the police.

The blood slowly drained from my head. Another ‘Shit happens’ story for my repertoire.

Copyright Eric Poirier 2013


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