Rest in Pieces
today.” He walked over to a huge—big enough to be a bank vault—safe built into the wall next to the range. It appeared that the safe ran the entire fifty meters. He entered a combination, scanned his thumbprint, and then a large electronic motor turned several hammers and the door opened. He flicked a light switch and a contagion of fluorescent lights flooded the long rectangular safe with a gray–greenish glow. Yup, the safe did run the entire length of the range, and it was filled with guns. Hand guns, short rifles, long rifles, shot guns, and several bulky items that looked like rocket launchers, were all neatly tacked along the walls. On a long, single set of horizontal shelves running down the middle, sat ammunition—crates upon crates of bullets. And when I squinted to get a better look—yes, grenades lined a couple of the shelves.
    I doubted that a military armory packed this much heat.
    “Are you planning on taking over a small country or is all this just for the neighborhood watch?” There I went prying into a drug lord’s professional life. Maybe one day I’d grow a filter from my brain to my mouth, but chances are if I haven’t grown one yet, I may be out of luck.
    I couldn’t take it all in. “You know, we really don’t have much gang violence out here unless you’re talking about the time that the Catholics and the Lutherans both tried to have their pancake breakfast on the same day. There was a little bloodshed, but nothing that would warrant this level of home protection.” I waved my arm like a game show hostess showing what was behind door number two.
    I looked around again and reconsidered. Okay, this might be overkill for Lakeside, but it seemed just right for a drug lord. Apparently drug lording required a bunker of weapons. Could he write these off his taxes? Surely they were a work expense.
    I’d always wondered if strippers could write off bikini waxes as a work expense, too. And underwear. They couldn’t strip out of it, if it wasn’t on.
    I made a mental note to ask Lyle Grenchwalt, our un–esteemed PTO treasurer, the next time I saw him. Then again, he threw a pencil at me the last time I’d asked him a tax related question. All I wanted to know is if I could write off all of the Starbucks coffee I’d bought last year. Surely the caffeine was a medical necessity because Lord knows I needed it to stay awake at my boring day job. I have receipts. It was a valid question.
    Probably Daman and strippers didn’t pay taxes.
    There I went prejudging people again. Daman might very well be a Catholic priest with a firearm fetish. I glanced his way. He eyed me like he was the Oreo and I was the milk—and he wanted to quadruple dunk.
    “Firearms are my hobby. Don’t you indulge your hobbies?” He grinned.
    “I don’t think Sudoku requires a bunker.” And I wasn’t sure cupcake eating qualified as an actual hobby.
    He pointed to the wall of handguns. “Choose any gun from this point forward. We’ll work up to the higher calibers later.”
    I didn’t plan on practicing so often that I’d actually work up to anything. I chose a smaller gun that was purple. “I like this one.”
    Gently, Daman took it from me. “The Smith and Wesson Shield, a very reliable gun. Why did you choose it?”
    “Because it’s purple and that’s my favorite color.” I know, I know, I’m shallow. I judge things based on their appearance. It’s both a gift and a curse.
    “Cool.” Monica took the gun from him. “I want a pink one…oh.” She handed the gun to me and took a pink one off the wall. “Can I use this one?”
    Daman nodded. “A Beretta Nano. Nice stopping power.”
    “I brought my guns, too.” Haley pulled one gun out of her purse, rummaged around, pulled out another one, dove back into her giant Hermes and pulled out two more.
    All I had in my purse were some Tic Tacs, a wallet full of maxed–out credit cards, a couple of pens, and a crap–load of receipts. I was pretty sure

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