I always considered myself to be just an ordinary guy. Like everyone else, my life had its ups and downs. Maybe I had more downs than most, but that's the way it goes. The best part of my life seemed to be the earliest. I was born David Alexander Duncan, in nineteen seventy-nine. My parents owned and ran one of the two drugstores in our small town, and we were comfortable enough.
I had the usual childhood, and was an average boy. In fact, I was too average. I had average friends, made average grades, and didn't stand out in any way. Being average isn't anything to brag about.
I didn't get into any university, and settled for attending the local community college. That was where I found my niche. Purely by accident, I discovered I had a talent for writing software. Web design, in particular, fascinated me. I actually began to apply myself to my studies, something that was entirely new to me.
I'll never forget the day I made the dean's list for the first time. It should have been an occasion celebrated with my parents, but fate took a different turn. I rushed to the store with the report, only to find it sealed off behind crime scene tape.
Things were a blur for a while after that. A policeman, who looked not much older than I was, gave me the gory details. Some drugged up thug decided he needed more medication, and didn't feel the need to acquire a prescription. He didn't leave, however. Unfortunately, neither did my folks.
The security cameras dad had installed just the year before, told the story. It looked like mom reached under the counter. The robber probably thought it was to hit the alarm button. He was right, but he still shot mom. Dad, hearing the shot, grabbed the .38 he kept in the pharmacy and ran to the front of the store. In the exchange of gunfire, both my dad and the junkie were fatally wounded.
I didn't have any family to lean on. I was an only child of two only children. My grandparents were all gone, too. Somehow, I made it through the funeral. Afterwards, the first thing I did was to sell the store, and the house. I just couldn't deal with the memories.
The only thing I kept was the hundred and fifty acres we had in the country. It would have been unthinkable to sell that, since it had been in the family for generations. All the time I spent there, had been good. It was where I learned to hunt, fish, and just plain relax. I couldn't live there, though. I closed up the house, and rented an apartment.
Most of the cash I received went into stocks. Purely on a whim, I chose internet companies I believed showed a lot of promise. I had no Idea how much money I would make, and frankly, I didn't give a shit.
Knowing my parents would have wanted me to stay in school, I did. I even graduated third in my class, and went on to get my bachelor's degree and webmaster ticket. I also made a big mistake.
I guess the loneliness finally caught up to me, and I got married. It took about a week before I discovered how big a mistake that was. Before long, I was glad the job I landed after graduation required extensive travel. Every second I spent at home was an ordeal. Because Cindy was such a bitch, I never mentioned any of my investments.
The arguing was constant, and started during the honeymoon. The first issue was guns. I had never made a secret of the fact that I owned, and used them. I even let her in on a secret that no one else knew. I had a carry permit, and was never without at least one weapon. I was a lot like my father, and refused to be an easy target.
When I informed her that the guns were there before she was, and would stay regardless of whether she did, things went downhill fast. It seemed like the whole courtship had been an act on her part. She wanted to change me, and I was not receptive.
Children were an issue, too. While we were dating, she adored them. Now, she refused to have any. I quickly discovered that we had absolutely nothing in common, and I was miserable. I began sleeping in a separate room when I was home, and avoided her as much as possible.
I even took precautions with my computer, and password protected everything I could. I think it was the mail that tipped her off. Whatever it was, she found out about the investments. By this time, the one point five million in insurance money had turned into more than ten. She did some investigating, and found out some disturbing facts. Chiefly among them, was that she couldn't get her hands on it if we divorced. There was only one solution, in her mind.
Cindy wasn't quite as intelligent as she thought, however. The 'hit man' she hired was an undercover cop. The divorce went smoothly, and she got fifteen to twenty in the state pen.
During the trial she tried to say that I was a gun fanatic, and she feared for her life. The jury didn't buy it, but my employer turned out to be almost as anti-gun as she was. They gave me an ultimatum. If I carried a weapon while working, I would be terminated. My response was to resign, and they were happy with that. That is, until all of my accounts went with me.
I opened the old house in the country, and fixed it up. The T-1 line served me quite well, and I worked from there. I don't know if most people would call it work, though. The maintenance and updates took about twelve hours a week.
I began restoring cars, just to stay busy. Having sworn off women, I had plenty of free time, and built a range to practice on. There were a few glitches along the way. One of them was the electric company. They felt that I lived too far off the beaten path for them to read a meter, and started estimating the usage. Naturally, the estimate was three times what I was actually consuming.
I tried to be rational, but they wouldn't budge. I think they regretted that later. In less than a month, they were buying my excess electricity. I covered the entire roof with solar panels. With just me, I had a lot left over. As a kicker, by law they had to read the meter every month. They were not happy. I was, and that's all that mattered to me.
My only companions were of the four-legged variety. Devil and Angel were Siberian Huskies, and great dogs. Most of the time, I didn't miss people at all. I had to rig up a feeder for them, though. My work still required some travel to meet with clients. There was a spring, so I didn't need to mess with a watering system. They could probably feed themselves, too. Game was abundant on my place, and they got pretty good at catching rabbits.
My trips provided some interaction with others, and I even invested in some 'short term companionship' during these excursions. I still got horny, I just didn't want complications. I kept those instances as far from home as I could, though. I only went to town for shopping, and that only happened twice a month.
You can only stumble through life 'fat, dumb, and happy' for so long, I guess. Reality bit me in the ass one fine spring day. I needed some groceries and a new pair of coveralls, so I decided that a trip to town was called for.
I dressed as usual, complete with the Smith and Wesson model thirteen. I wore that in a shoulder holster. I had a smaller thirty-eight in my right front pocket. With a T-shirt under the holster, and a denim button up over it, nothing showed. I decided to hit the mall first.
'Situational awareness' is something most concealed weapons carriers practice daily. I was no exception to this, and paid attention to things around me that seemed out of place. As I entered the mall, one of those things rang an alarm bell.
It was seventy-five degrees today, and the guy who entered ahead of me was wearing a long coat. It wasn't heavy, but it was way too warm for the weather. I might be a semi-recluse, but I kept up with the news. I figured the best place to be was behind this individual, at least until I was satisfied he just dressed funny.
I wish that had been the case, but it wasn't. He seemed to be walking with a destination in mind, so I almost relaxed. It was at that point he pulled a pistol from under his coat, and started to point it at a group of people. I reacted immediately. I had trained myself for just such a scenario, and my response was automatic.
Because there were people in front of him, I went to one knee as I drew. The last thing I needed was for my shot to either miss, or go through him. The thought of accidentally hitting an innocent was abhorrent. That was also why I chose a head shot. It wasn't the best target, but the angle assured that if I missed, the only victim would be a ceiling tile. I didn't miss, but before I could appreciate that fact, something struck me in the back.
I knew I'd been shot. I guess my vaunted "situational awareness' needed some serious work. I fell on my right shoulder, and saw another guy dressed much like the first one. He was lining up on me again, so I took the only shot I had. I wanted to put him down as fast as I could. With this angle, that was a shot to the pelvic area. My first one was low, but the second one was better. I was still too slow to keep him from getting one more round off. The lights went out pretty quick after that. I figured I was dying, but didn't care all that much. I worried about my dogs, though.
I woke up staring at a blindingly white tile ceiling. If that hadn't tipped me off, the rails on the bed sure did. All the beeping and shit was probably what woke me up. There were tubes everywhere, and machines galore. It couldn't have been more than fifteen seconds after my eyes opened, before a nurse was there.
I couldn't say hello, though. There was a damn hose in my throat, too. I'm sure she realized the reason for my silence, as she explained.
.... There is more of this story ...