I went over to my truck, got in, slouched down behind the wheel and waited. The sun was up and the dog shit had warmed up enough to release a subtle bouquet into the summer air. After awhile I almost didn't notice it. I dozed for a bit in the sun and woke up as my class began filing into the chairs for their graduation. Once again I had missed my graduation ceremony. I snickered and told myself "The more things change the more they remain the same." I noticed that Sherri had indeed shown up but sat as far as possible from Sledge who when he noticed her, smiled and waved at her. Damn, you got to admire a sensitive lug like that. I would kill him last.
Everyone from my class had reclaimed their weapons. It was interesting to see the change in how they carried themselves now. Well god may have created us but firearms made us all almost equal. I hoped Sherri wouldn't go off and drill them before I had a chance. I wasn't the only one who had thought of that. She a woman in camo with her who was there as much for moral support as to make sure she didn't go off on anyone and ruin the event.
The base commander spoke from his podium draped in the red, white and blue. His voice carried well, I could hear what he was telling them which was nothing unexpected. It was your basic welcome to the team, better days are coming, together we can make a difference speech. Then again what else was he going to say? I doubt if "We're glad you decided to join the firepower team. Give us your hearts and souls and we'll make sure you get enough to eat most days?" was considered politically correct. Actually, when I thought about it, that's all anyone could promise now.
He finished up and sat down behind the podium and some other numbnut in uniform told them they were great and remember that freedom was never free! Then they were dismissed. A couple of yo ho's actually threw their hats in the air.
I watched Sledge and the boys move in a wedge towards the parking lot. The two assholes behind him were laughing and looking back at Sherri. She was watching them and I saw her escort reach out, grab her sleeve, and say something fast to her. I stretched, opened the door and dropped down to the ground. I walked around the front of the truck in a wide arc so I when I stopped I was standing in the center of the lane that Sledge and his boys were walking up. He saw me and stopped on a dime. The two fools he had teamed up with weren't as fast and one of them walked up his back. I thought it was pretty funny Sledge didn't. He reached behind him and tossed Pockmark about six paces to the side of him.
When I was sitting in the truck I had thought about what I was going to say or if I was even going to bother to say anything. I knew I had to work "I have a warrant for your arrest" in there somewhere. I really wanted to say that.
"Hey Sledge...ladies." I touched my hat brim.
"Get out of the way Gardener."
Sledge wasn't in the mood it seemed for the formalities. Greasy Ink laughed and said "Look at the asshole. You think this is a fucking movie cowboy?"
He quit laughing a microsecond later when his face exploded. I shot Pockmark in the throat a twitch after that. He had bad skin but good reflexes. Just not good enough. He wasn't dead yet but he was pumping blood in a very impressive manner. He stumbled over to a Prius, and draped himself over it. Sledge just stood there and looked at me.
"I got a warrant for your arrest Sledge."
"It doesn't have to be this way Gardener. I had a feeling something was up when they didn't give me my HK. You know we would make a ..."
He was smiling again and moving very slowly towards me. I shot him in the left knee cap. He screamed and went down on his good knee.
"You okay big guy?"
Through gritted teeth he told me "Fuck you. Jesus it hurts. Help me." He reached out his arm to me and tried to smile.
I laughed. "Don't worry Sledge. I called the doctor." Then I shot him in the mouth. That smiling shit was getting on my nerves.