The man in the yellow raincoat stared into the scouring sun. The streets of Austin, TX, were mostly empty for a moment's pause, then the cars hushingly rushed into the linear spaces, filling them with the faint smell of exhaust and multitudinous refractions of light.
"Can I help you, sir?" said the young thin man with thick square glasses and a McDonalds employee tshirt from the 1980s. He was holding an Oscar Mayer weinermobile made of small plastic, smoked only handrolled cigarettes, and had a show as lead hand organist in electro-hillbilly band Occam's Reznor at a fundraiser against violence against women.
In the pause, the young man added, "Cool raincoat. Are you from the downtown scene?"
His other looked back at him. Only silence.
"That guy's retarded stupid," he told his cashier, later. A fat tourist at the listening station inhaled milkshake with sucking sounds.
Across the street at the feminist book store they also considered him an idiot, if not retarded.
The dragworms panning for heroin money called him scum.
"Why would anyone wear a raincoat in this weather?" said a woman loading packages into her British racing green minivan.
Radio KASE continued broadcasting the usual cheese after the DJs commented on that idiot in the parking lot. "This is a tolerant town, but sometimes you have to realize that people are just stupid."
"...and need to die," thought Jack Ingraham, as he twisted a piece of pipe free from the contraption someone had jury-rigged in the back of the building he had rented for his business selling specialized Chinese lampshades to urban decorators.
There was another lapse in the traffic, like an ocean wave pulling back to the source.
He was wandering through the CD shelves. Beethoven, Bach, Jamiroquai, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Pantera, Venom, R.E.O. Speedwagon. WTF?
The British racing green minivan was rounding the corner when a coffeeshop was spotted, and it turned into the path of an oncoming junker, which hesitated long enough to verify they had insurance before plowing into the pampered metal with the tinkly golden sound of a settlement.
A dragworm had finally taken enough heroin to stop his heart. "We should call his dad," said another stoned dragworm. "He's CEO of Shell." One of the girls began singing "Dad, dead, Dan, dead, Dad, dead, Dan, dead," as she removed her clothing obligingly for the one they called Preacher.
The back of the recordstore was still and smelled of old paper.
Four men wearing suits of bright colors came in the side door, while the fat tourist sipping a milkshake with sucking sounds pushed open the exit so five others could enter, then left.
The cashier placed his vintage US army cigarette lighter on top of the Ani DiFranco CD he would be buying from the used collection, before it got out to the sweaty and deranged masses who pawed through that stuff like animals.
Three hollowpoint rounds caught him in the chest and spun him around, crashing to the floor. His hipster cohort was sliding through piles of promotional items, a single drillpoint in his forehead, the back of his head a mass of gore that had vomited across both crackstrewn windows.
Men in bright suits where everywhere.
One had a bum who had been cadging coffee and sugar at the counter. "Where is Daniel Quicksilver, son of the CEO of Shell Oil?"
More gunfire from the back.
"Someone, please help! Stop these maniacs," cried a woman from the suburbs. Her executioner stared down at her, raised his gun, and then smiled. But he did not shoot.
The man in the raincoat crouched behind the vintage vinyl aisle and flicked a straightrazor open into his palm. The first bright suit passing died in a shower of red, at which point he had a SIG sidearm and could kill four more. Then two engaged in shooting at him. He did not respond. Do not shoot until there is a target; soon, there was, as one got curious. The remaining four rushed him and he drilled two, killing one. Plastic and paper and wood rained down around him as bullets tore the vintage vinyl into timeless garbage.
Cars had ceased passing.
In a silence he stood up, and blazed away at two of his targets, knocking one out and driving another into hiding. The wounded man swung himself into position. Over the top of the folk rock section the last stood up, to receive a bullet in the forehead. The wounded man shot the man in the raincoat through the chest.
Dripping blood, he walked between aisles, dispatching those who remained. On the sixth body he found what he was seeking: a heavy cylinder with two imprints in the top. He pushed his finger into one, and, relieved that the body near him was still self-maintaing warmth, pushed its finger into the other.
There was a single loud beep.
He was slumped next to the corner when the police arrived. His skin was cold and his fingers arched in neurotic determination over the heavy cylinder.
"What the hell is that thing?" said cop number one. When they pried it away from the body, it detonated in a glorious arch of nuclear purity, tearing apart all things interlaced, with a strong scent of ozone.