Joe Babysits Mouse



Joe Babysits Mouse

“This isn’t right,” I say.

“Quiet, Mouse,” Joe says.

“But I’m supposed to be in there, too.”

I feel Joe’s glare on me. We’re both supposed to be part of the team extracting Devlin McGee, but at the last minute Tom decided I should hang back and do “computing” from the perimeter. Computing. What’s clear to me is that he had a change of mind somewhere on the road north from Albuquerque. He decided I couldn’t hack it. (Ha! Hack it. Hacker. Get it? Okay, it’s not that funny. Especially under the circumstances.)

Joe is none too pleased either. I heard him mutter under his breath: “babysitting.”

We squat by the trucks, our guns held ready in front of us.

Enough of this.

“Let’s go,” I say. “This is stupid. I’m supposed to be trained.

I take off in the same direction the team went. I have my gun at ready. I am stealthy, maybe. Joe is following without complaint. We climb through the hole in the wire fencing the guys made earlier. The plan was to go south around the outer buildings.

We come to the first building and peer around the white stucco corner. The limp body of a guard is about twenty feet away. No one else is in sight. The lights from the main building glare yellow onto the grounds in front.

Joe puts his hand on my shoulder and points toward the shadows. I nod and then we’re creeping toward the back entryway. My heart pounds inside my chest so that I think I hear it. Something feels off. Shouldn’t there be noise by now? Or did they manage to sneak in and are out already? Crap. What if this was a mistake and they’re already back by the trucks? No. We would have seen them or passed them.

Overhead lights flare on from all of the buildings. A siren pierces the quiet night.

We hang back. We’re still in the shadow of the building. We wait.

Then there’s the sound I’ve been expecting. Weapons being discharged. Yells. We still hang back because we don’t know what’s going on. No one is running out of any of the buildings. All of the noise seems to be coming from the ranch house.

I glance at Joe and he nods at me as if we’re both thinking the same thing. At least I hope we are. We take off toward the house, crouching and running. When we reach the open door, the light pouring out, white in a long rectangle, we stand on either side and look in. Tom and Derek stand in the middle with their hands raised while two men, dressed in green fatigues, point automatics at them. There’s no sign of Brewster or Williams. I enter first. Tom sees me, but then quickly jerks his eyes back to the barrel of the gun in front of him.

The man holding the gun on Derek, notices Joe and me and immediately turns on us, but Derek knees him and then punches. The other man with his gun on Tom pulls the trigger. Tom dives, but I can tell by the jerking of his body he’s been hit.

I shoot then and it’s as if everything is in slow motion, like I can see the bullet traveling from the barrel of my gun into the man’s body, like I can hear the sound like a soft whoosh and slurp as the bullet penetrates. He falls and I watch, feeling apart from everything happening now. My hands still clasp the gun in front of me. I see blood pool. I am immobilized, except for a part of my brain trying to convince me to look at Tom, go to Tom. Focus.


end 2/16/2017

S. Darlington

3 thoughts on “Joe Babysits Mouse

  1. I like how you showed how her shooting/killing a man was difficult on her in so few words. She turns to Tom, so you get the idea she’s looking for comfort and reassurance, even though they are in a very dangerous/serious situation.

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