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Put the Gun Down, Warren

by Kelly Gillette


“Put the gun down.”


“Put down the gun, Warren.”


“Put it down. Put it down now.”


“You know you have to put the gun down sometime. You can’t get away with it. Your shift is over and you have to go back to the Home.”


“Yes — you have to put the gun down — you really have to. The store manager and the police are aware of this little situation and are on their way down here right now.”

“Excuse me? Did you say the police?” asked Frampton Harley, Assistant Manager, motioning him closer.

“Well, when we put in the call to Security, they didn’t get it was a pricing gun...”

“They just got the gun part?”

“Right. So a S.W.A.T. team is en route and we can’t call them off.”

Glancing back at the disgruntled employee who refused to surrender the pricing gun, they saw he was gone; or saw him not, to be exact.

Boswell Grant, S.W.A.T. team leader, was no stranger to hostage situations.

“In these kinds of hostage-type situations we like to cut the phone lines, then go in hard and fast with lots of tear gas and concussion grenades,” he said.

And that’s just what they did. Warren, weird but wily, was long gone, as was the pricing gun. If you think the employees were angry, or the poor innocent customers, I’ll tell you what: the S.W.A.T. team was really mad that there was no one to rescue. They were highly pissed and broke things and cussed.

Warren was never seen again around these parts; but strange truth be told, he had somehow found time to misprice over 172 items on the way out; with four different prices from 79¢ to $12.98 for a color TV. Word got out and there was a semi-riot, with tramplings. Because of all the personal injury lawsuits, the store closed.

The big store closing was the start of the downtown rot, as shoppers moved their biz to the Ku-Ku Mart SuperStore.

Now the downtown after dark has a few dirty bars and a liquor store, the Bottle Shop. But later, the streets are empty and haunted, the alleys littered with empty bottles and empty wino dreams. Garbage and leaves blow underfoot; most of the streetlights and some of the windows are busted out. A street punk has spray painted ‘Warren Lives’ on the side of the Commodore Hotel, closed and boarded up four years now. And really late at night, when the autumn moon is full, you can hear the Click! — Click! — Click! of Warren’s price gun.

Copyright © 2005 by Kelly Gillette

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