Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tea for Two

It had been unsettlingly easy to get hold of a gun, Sandy thought. The new gun laws were supposed to stop people like Sandy from owning hand guns, but all she had to do was go to one of the seedier areas of Tulsa, find an alone pawnshop owner, and show a little cleavage and the gun was hers.

The shop owner hadn't asked any questions or for any identification and within minutes, after letting him squeeze her breast, Sandy had left the shop with the gun weighing heavily in her coat pocket. What had just happened and what was yet to come, weighed heavily on her mind. Her friend Anna of course was there by her side. There was no getting away from Anna, or her actions.

The cold steel of the weapon felt alien beneath Sandy’s strong, yet petite fingers, and contrasted strangely with the warm color and texture of the wooden hand-grip. Sandy slowly turned the cylinder of the revolver, her fingers brushing lightly over the head of each bullet in turn until she came to the chamber with the spent round.

"That's four hundred dollars well spent little darling,” the pawnshop owner had said as he handed the gun towards Sandy and placed the money in his pocket. Sandy had reached for the gun but Anna had picked it up.

"That's a sweet forty five.” he said grinning as Anna slowly loaded the pistol. "Just like "Dirty Harry had in the films." Anna thumbed in the last bullet and spun the cylindrical chamber.

"You shoot someone with that young lady and they won't cause you no more trouble,” the pawnshop owner said smiling. Anna had smiled to. Then she raised the gun and fired.

“No more trouble,” Anna mumbled and put the gun in Sandy’s coat pocket then she reached over and recovered the money, now damp with the pawn shop owners blood.

"We should leave now," she said with a grin and hurried from the shop taking Sandy with her. All the way to her car and for the rest of the drive home to her apartment, Sandy listened for the sound of sirens telling her that Anna's crime had been found out. But there had been none, and as the door to her apartment closed behind them, she had finally relaxed enough to allow herself to think about what had happened. Anna's laughter rung in her ears as she leaned over the toilet vomiting violently.

Sandy laid the gun down on the bedside table and walked across to the window. The darkness outside seemed to huddle in corners, away from the street lights as if trying to shelter from the heavy rain falling upon the city. The water poured down to one side of the window where the gutter was blocked with muck and filth. Storm clouds gathered overhead as if promising that this was just a sample of the dark times ahead. Anna smiled as the first of the lightening cut through the sky.

“This is my kind of weather,” she said with a big grin. Sandy just closed her eyes on the scene.

"Why did you kill that pawnshop owner Anna?" she asked, her voice no more than a whisper containing no emotion, just a great sense of weariness. Anna snorted in derision.

"You know exactly why I did it," she muttered. "I did it because you couldn't."

"But why Anna?"

Anna sighed in exasperation. “Because he was scum Sandy! The dregs of humanity. All the stuff in that shop, all the rings, the watches, the televisions, were stolen. Either stolen directly and fenced through that slug or stolen by him for a pittance from people who couldn't afford not to sell. The man was a leech, a parasite. He deserved what he got!”

Sandy sighed. She found it so hard to argue with Anna sometimes. All to often when she looked inside herself she found that she agreed with the sentiments, if not the methods.

Sandy reached out and drew the curtains closed, blocking out the world outside for a while. Moving over to the bed she laid down and stared silently up at the cracked and crumbling ceiling above her. Slowly her mind sorted through the events of the day again, searching, questing, probing for what? For something, for anything that she could hold up before Anna to stop what she knew was coming, but there was nothing.

Anna was right. The pawn shop owner got what he deserved. And as she decided this a tear gently rolled down Sandy's cheek and she wept for her own morality. Sometimes she really hated Anna.

Sandy turned to look upon the gun. Anna’s instrument of retribution. It would be so easy she thought. So easy to reach out and take the gun. To take the gun and kill Anna. But she knew she would not. Sandy knew that in Anna’s death lay her own demise. They were together now as they had been since Anna had first appeared in Sandy’s life. A day that would burn forever in her mind.

The jeers of the other children had rained down upon her with almost as much force as the fists and feet that struck her. She had tried to flee, to escape the torment but had been tripped and as her head struck the concrete they had closed in with the eagerness of the ignorant.

Then Anna showed up. Most of Sandy’s tormentors fled with minor injuries. One had received a broken arm. Two others had been hospitalized. Sandy had been expelled. Anna went with her to her new school though. And again to the next after a similar incident. After that there had been no more trouble. Rumors about Sandy began circulating around, and all the time Anna kept Sandy safe from harm.

“They deserved it too, Sandy,” said Anna her voice perhaps a little softer for just a moment, then back to its normal harsh self. Sandy sighed. Anna always knew what she was thinking.

"They were evil," yawned Anna, as she turned towards the gun. Reaching out a hand Anna caressed the cold metal and smiled darkly as the weapon glittered in the light of the bedside lamp.

"That's what they said about you after what you did to them," accused Sandy but with little conviction. This conversation had played through to often and she knew both sides of it by heart. But then, deep down, she always knew what Anna was going to say. Anna just laughed.

“That isn't what they said and you know it,” Anna retorted with a wicked grin. Sandy lowered her gaze from the gun.

"No," she breathed, her voice no more that a whisper. "They said that I was evil. No one ever blames you."

Anna shrugged. "Can I help that?" she asked with a smile. Sandy fell silent.

For several long minutes there was silence. Anna reached out and picked up the gun. “Time to get started,” she muttered, her voice suddenly serious.

Sandy rose from the bed and walked over to the window and peered out through the crack in the curtains. "Why us?" she whispered, staring out at the rain soaked streets as another round of thunder rolled across the city.

“If not us, then who?” growled Anna, her voice low and menacing. “The law doesn't work and the police can’t deal with the spreading evil.” Anna raised the gun. “Only you and I know how to fight evil, and that is to fight it on it's own level. Our evil against the evil out there.” Anna gazed out of the window, her eyes looking like pits of darkness in the shadows of the room.

Sandy sighed weakly, again feeling the weariness of her spirit, but knowing there would be no rest for her now. Slowly she moved over to the mirror and gazed at her reflection.

“I won't kill,” she said with a voice that was resigned but resolute.

“You won't have to,” replied the reflection of Anna. “I'll do it for you.”

“As long as we are clear on that,” whispered Sandy with a nod at her reflection. In the mirror Anna nodded back.


Sandy reached out with her empty hand, picked up her coat and put it on. Anna removed a bullet from the pocket and replaced the spent round with a new bullet. Sandy pulled up the collar. Anna put the gun in the coat pocket and smiled. Sandy took one last look around the dingy flat. Then Anna stepped out into the night and Sandy went with her in silence.

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