was inspired by a Darwin Awards Nomination of 1990: "Wrong
Place, Wrong Time".
at his desk in front of a just-finished report, Goose peered into
his wallet, turned it upside down as if to shake the moths out of
it and snorted. "Zach, can you lend me a quarter for a
The ST shrugged. "Any other coin would work,
Zachary fumbled at
his pocket, then tossed a coin over to Gooseman. "Here. What
do you need it for?"
got to file this report," he nodded at the closed folder on
his desk. "Have to decide what kind of case it is." The
ST flipped the coin high into the air.
caught the coin before it hit the desktop again. "Gooseman,
you can't file your cases by chance! If you have a problem with
the classification, ask!"
the ST's mouth twitched sardonically. "Will you help me
classify this strange case of mine?"
Mike. How about a deal? Coffee for donuts?" Entering the
shop where various clients were already looking about, Gooseman
raised the paper box stuffed under his arm briefly at the
Mike Heraldy stopped polishing a Smith & Wesson antiquity and
put it back into its showcase on the counter. "Why are you
here? Don't try to tell me you've managed to drain the military
of available ammunition."
like that." The Ranger smirked deprecatingly. "I'm on
off your boss once again?" Mike found two mugs with the H&H
Firearms logo beneath the counter and poured them steaming hot
Goose opened the donut box and shoved it across the counter. "I'd
like to know what weapons are selling best at the
planning to open a rival shop?" Heraldy blew at his hot
coffee before taking a sip.
Like to know what the scumbags around here will shoot at me
"You know, I'm
not really supposed to give you that information without an
official request." Two clients entered the shop, griping
about the nearly-blocked entrance door. Heraldy looked at the
uniformed Ranger lounging against the counter. "Where did
you park your robosteed this time?"
steed. Standard police glider."
Mike asked disbelievingly. "In one of the things with
emblems, identifying paint job, and flashing
Goose had a sip of his coffee. "Boss's really
right in front of my door, eh?"
Gooseman grinned. "I was burdened with donuts."
heavy weight indeed." Mike laughed out loud, then sobered.
"I've got a problem with an AK-1101-LR. Somehow the thing's
developed a recoil and I'll be damned if I know how that's
possible with a laser rifle."
Goose frowned. "It could be the mechanical controls. Do you
have it here? I have to be back on tour in half an hour, but I'll
see what I can find."
And thanks. It's pretty crowded today."
More clients than bullets in here."
that despite a police glider blocking my entrance and a uniformed
Ranger at my desk," Mike smirked, putting the LR between
them on the counter.
grinned. "That's the reason. Those who are already here
can't get out."
shrugged. "As long as they buy..."
few minutes later, Goose showed the disassembled LR to Mike.
"Here. The laser's regulation mechanics aren't damped
enough. The positioning reset is too abrupt; that shock is
causing the recoil." Goose pointed out the components in
question. The bell at the shop's door indicated the arrival of
yet another customer. Man, the shop was getting full
Goose shifted a bit to
better include both the door and the open window front in his
view field, and idly studied the new arrival making his way
towards them. The rhythm of the man's movements indicated a
shoulder holster. Not that that was uncommon; hidden firearms in
public weren't forbidden. And someone carrying a gun into a
weapons shop wasn't uncommon either.
took a sip of his cooled-down coffee.
one with any active brain functions would try to rob a gun shop
that was full of likely-armed clients, with a police car
blatantly in front of the door and a uniformed ranger at the
counter, right next to the attendant who was checking out a
and Mike stared at each other in complete disbelief. In the
meantime, three laserbolts hit the ceiling, a fourth the wall
behind the counter. About twenty weapons were drawn in the shop.
Heraldy's returning fire was only a little slower than Goose's...
grinned at the memory. "I laughed so hard, I almost forgot
to shoot the crook."
he dead?" the captain demanded.
And under arrest."
I thought that setting on your blasters was rusted over by
Goose looked shocked. "I'd never allow rust to appear on my
and shook his head, deciding he'd better return to the other
aspects of the topic. "The guy obviously never considered
the reasons most men rob stores for booze and tobacco, not
his grin. "So, Captain, what is it? Attempted robbery,
attempted suicide, or just plain idiocy?"
suddenly sobered, looked blankly at him for a moment, then
flipped the quarter he was still holding himself. "Heads:
it's a robbery, tails: a suicide." The coin hit the surface,
rolled away, and finally came to a halt – in the slit
between their two desks. "Edge?!"
grinned and stuffed the file into one of his desk drawers. "Plain
idiocy it is, then."