Mr. Hardenbrook peered out the front window of the coffee shop.
“How many people you think he’s got in there?”
“Well, it was prime noon so I’d think about a handful,” said Mrs. Gerrison.
“Hrm… My wife alone is a handful. I hope he doesn’t have a bunch of clucking hens in there. That’s enough to make a man consider murder.”
Mrs. Gerrison frowned.
Mr. Hardenbrook rolled his eyes at her. “Exactly my point.”
The two stood inside the coffee shop peering out the window with other locals as the police set up barricades outside Jed’s Corner Store. A call had been placed a half hour ago that Crazy Joe had walked in there with a gun and enough ammo to kill half the town.
“I always knew that boy needed locking up,” said Ms. Tomas, a woman who often seemed to know a lot about everything without really knowing much at all.
“Where is Gregory, anyway?” Mrs. Herald declared. “He went out back for that tea thirty minutes ago. What kind of manager takes that long getting tea?”
The police were standing up now. One lowered his gun as Jed came out of the store yapping at them. The police nodded their heads and turned towards the shop.
“Well, that’s weird. What did you think he said?”
“I actually read lips,” said Ms. Tomas.
Mr. Hardenbrook rolled his eyes. “Of course you do. Pray tell us, what did he say, Ms. Tomas?”
Ms. Tomas rubbed her wrist nervously. “He said, ‘I put in the call, you morons! Crazy Joe is in the coffee shop not the corner store…’”
The towns folk laughed at her as she gracefully backed towards the door. From where the police stood, the blend of inflections sounded like clucking.
Ms. Tomas opened the glass door, the bell ringing a welcome above her.
Just then, Crazy Joe came out from the back, tipped his hat to Ms. Tomas, placed a bloody box of tea on the counter, and opened fire.