Mars | Walmart Shooting in Richlands

**Part of the Mars Chronicles – more found under Writing in the Nav

In the 5 am darkness, a thin man in his mid-twenties walked out of the 24 hour Walmart in Richlands, Virginia. In his blue Walmart bag he had a package of cheap disposable razors, a can of shaving cream, and a package of Marlboro Reds. His jeans were well-worn and slightly dirty. The same went for his black, so old it was turning gray, tee-shirt. He didn’t even know the last time those clothes were washed. His head was shaved, and slight stubble was growing out of his face providing him with a little bit more than a five o’clock shadow. He looked tired, and he had glassy eyes. 

As he walked to his baby blue, dented 1982 Ford F-150 he started picking at an open sore on his arm. The sore was near his elbow and was the neighbor to a few bruises and some very noticeable track marks. That was obviously a favorite place for needles. He put the bag on the hood of the truck as he reached into his pocket and felt for his keys. Instead he pulled out his beat up brass Zippo, pulled out a cigarette, placed it in his lips and lit it. The sound of muffled music with heavy bass rattling a car trunk came from the car parked in front of him. He squinted his eyes and looked through the windshield of the black car. He could see a black male sitting in the driver seat bobbing his head to the music. The black man’s eyes met his, then the man in the car hit the button on his driver-side door to lower his window. 

“Hey buddy, can I bum a light?” the man asked while still sitting in his car. The man in the dirty clothes walked over to the car and lit his Zippo. Inside the car, the man pulled out a cigarette, placed it between his lips, and leaned toward the window. When his cigarette was lit, he took a hefty drag,  leaned back in his seat and slowly exhaled. “Thanks,” he said, “I appreciate it.”

Back at his truck the man opened the door and and threw his bag of Walmart wonders into the passenger seat. He climbed in and started it up. He had one hand on the wheel and the other on the gear shift about to pull it down into reverse, when he paused. He grabbed the door handle, opened the door and walked in front of his truck. He looked at the black man sitting in the car in front of him slightly bobbing his head to the music as he fiddled with something on his dashboard, probably his radio. The man looked up, met his eyes, and with a slight smile on his face nodded his head and waved his cigarette in appreciation at him. 

Standing in front of his truck, the man reached across his body with his left hand and pulled the bottom of his shirt slightly up. He grabbed his Ruger LC9, which was in an inside-the-pants holster on his right side under his shirt, with his right hand. He raised the pistol, pointed it at the man in his car, and squeezed the trigger. Pow!

He mumbled, “Allah Ahkbar.”

Then cocking his head as though he had just had a revelation and with a sneer on his face he squeezed the trigger two more times.

“Allah Ahkbar!”  he screamed.

The man in the dirty clothes put the pistol back in his holster. Let his shirt fall over it hiding it from view, and turning with a smile on his face, slowly walked back to the driver side door of his truck. He opened the door, got in, put it in reverse, backed out of the parking space, and drove away.

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