April 9, 2010
Michael blew off going to the shooting range again. Sam found a job for Michael to do before we could even plan a date. I'm not sure what the job was—something about a marina, a storage facility and an apartment, all on 135th Street on the mainland, and they needed to go to their weapons stockpile on Miami Beach first. Michael didn't want me to come in case something went wrong. Michael's never been much of a romantic, so I'm not surprised. So instead of waiting as backup, I decided to go to Madeline's house and ask if she wanted to go to the shooting range.
Madeline greeted me at the door with her usual cigarette and let me in. We walked to her kitchen, where she stared and smoked around the toaster.
"My toaster isn't working again. It has a blown fuse. I wanted Michael or Sam to fix it, but they went to that abandoned motel, the one where they keep their weapons surplus in."
"I know. Michael called me as soon as I wanted him to go to the shooting range."
"Do you think you can fix this toaster, Fiona?"
"No. Unless you want me to turn it into a bomb."
"Oh, no. I don't want my house rebuilt again."
"I came here to ask you if you wanted to go to the shooting range with me. Michael thinks this job will last all day. I think that's code for 'I hate the shooting range.' He's always complaining about cops possibly setting him up and throwing him in jail."
Madeline put out her cigarette. "Well, it sounds better than waiting for someone to get this toaster fixed."
At the shooting range, I gave Madeline a quick lesson in holding and shooting off a gun at a paper target. The range has a variety of paper targets—you can shoot at circles in rows, one large circle, a generic scoring target, or zombies. I guess you can always be prepared for a zombie apocalypse that will never happen.
I shot at a scoring target. Most of my shots hit the sides of the target, the target's shoulders, or the white space of the target. If this was a real person I was trying to kill, I'd be lucky if I hit a vein on the body, and even then, there wouldn't be an instant guarantee the person would be dead. I sighed as the paper target was rolled up to our booth.
"You're still angry about Michael leaving you out on that job, aren't you, Fiona?"
"It's not like I can use a few extra dollars sometimes." I sighed again. "Besides, they don't even know whether the weapons stockpile has been emptied or not."
"Don't worry about Michael. I'm sure he has everything under control."
I took a breath. "Madeline, are you ready to shoot the target now?"
"Of course. I've been ready. I want to shoot at that zombie clown, though."
At the far right end of the shooting range was a zombie clown target.
"You want to shoot at Uncle Huggz." Uncle Huggz is a bald red-headed zombie clown with a tattered red and purple suit. He's not too far off from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus clowns that appear in those ads whenever they're coming to the American Airlines Arena. I always think of scaring them with my Walther PPK whenever they're in town.
I put earmuffs on Madeline's head. "You don't think he's too advanced for you?"
"Of course not. If there's anything I hate, it's clowns. Sometimes I'd let the neighborhood children come and watch Bozo the Clown on my television. I've never seen a group of children run out of a house so fast in my life."
"We both hate clowns."
"Don't you hate those commercials for Barnum and Bailey with the clowns?"
"You don't know how much I hate them. I'll tell the person on duty to give you Uncle Huggz."
The person in charged swapped out my generic scoring target with Uncle Huggz. Madeline started shooting at it. She managed to get several shots in Uncle Huggz's head and chest.
"Excellent, Madeline. Maybe Michael should take you on jobs."
"Fiona, I don't need money that badly."
We managed to do two rounds at the shooting range, taking turns shooting the hell out of Uncle Huggz and his equally bald clown friend Twinkles. I did much better with Uncle Huggz and Twinkles, getting several shots in their heads and chest areas. After the second round, I got a call on my cell. It was Sam.
"I thought you didn't any help on this job, Sam."
"We have a problem, Fi."
"You're at a police station somewhere, and you need me to come get you."
"Uh…it's not as bad as you think. Mike and I made it inside the stockpile. Thing is"—
"You can't get out because someone's blocked the exit."
"Madeline and I will be right down."
"I took her to the shooting range after Michael stood me up again. You may as well tell Michael."
Sam hung up. Madeline took off her earmuffs.
"Bad news, Madeline. We have to pack up and save Michael and Sam. I might need a hand pulling some debris from around that stockpile."
"Just when we were winning against the zombies."
Madeline and I had a talk while we were driving over the MacArthur Causeway.
"We don't have a lot of girl time. You're either helping Michael with his burn notice, your bounty hunting work or working on other jobs. And when you do come by the house, you're usually on one of your jobs or occasionally fixing something for me."
"Or leaving Sam some beer."
"We complement each other. You bring something out in me, and I bring something out in you. Have you noticed that?"
"I have. Otherwise, there might not be a MacArthur Causeway to drive to Miami Beach right now."
"You know what? We should do more fun things together, like the shooting range. I can't play cards with the women in the neighborhood all the time, and thank God I don't have to take you to therapy. I think Michael and I have scared every therapist in Dade County."
"So, unless something comes up, do you want to shoot more zombies at the shooting range next weekend?"
"That sounds great, Fiona."
At least our talk was more interesting than driving past the islands beside the causeway. Who cares if you live on Star Island, anyway?
A while later we arrived at the motel where Michael's surplus was hidden. Someone put a metal refrigerator in front of the doors. Madeline and I pushed the refrigerator out of the way.
Inside Michael and Sam were sitting on the floor. Michael was staring at Sam. I noticed Madeline staring at him as well, as if everyone knew the reason the surplus was blocked was Sam's fault. I decided to join in because it was fun.
Sam waved at us all. "Hello, Maddie."