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THE SPLIT: Chapter One
In which we meet our heroine and her dainty little gun.
The campaign to elect the next CEO of the Confederation of Conservative States of America was in high gear, and no one who listened to the radio could avoid knowing all about it. “If we have to execute the woman to save the baby, then that’s exactly what we’re going to do. God personally told me that’s what he wants,” shouted Oliver M. Waldrip, the candidate of the Divine Party, who was, against all odds, trying to wrest supreme leadership from the popular incumbent CEO.
Lorinda Moon, in an elaborate cowgirl outfit with fringe everywhere, would have changed stations had there been another station to change to. “Damn it,” she said. “Just what I need.”
She was alone in her ratty old Ryonbong DragonFire, rapidly approaching a uniformed Perfecton police officer standing in the middle of her lane, arms akimbo, his mirrored sunglasses nearly blinding her. She turned off the radio, glanced at herself from the nose up in the rearview mirror, decided she looked sufficiently cute, hit the brakes, and tried to remember the little speech he would require her to give. Behind him, the rotating beacon on the roof of his official pickup truck flashed red and blue as the oversized chrome exhaust stacks spewed a fat plume of black smoke into the fetid air. Leaning against the truck was a hand-lettered sign reading “GUN CHECK.”
As he approached with his wary-cop plod she rolled down her window, ignoring the sooty heat blast, and said, cheerily, “Good afternoon, officer.”
“Loyalty oath, please,” he barked.
She closed her eyes, took a breath, and said, “I re-pledge my loyalty to Jesus Christ, to the sacred memory of Donald J. Trump, to the mighty Republic of Texas, to the Confederation of Conservative States of America, and to our beloved Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Ezra Ferrell McWeeny.”
Shaking his head sadly, the cop said, “Try that again, ma’am.”
She forced a girlish giggle. “Oops. I always mix those up. Okay. Umm … ’I re-pledge my loyalty to the sacred memory of Donald J, Trump, to Jesus Christ, to the mighty….’”
“That’s better,” interrupted the cop. He pulled a scanner from the bristling array of gear around his belt. “Your Citizen Card, please.”
She grabbed her purse from the passenger seat, fished out her wallet, removed a plastic card, and handed it over. He scanned it, looked at the screen of the reader, and sniggered. “Miss Lorinda Moon. Please show me your Lady SIG Sauer .22. Your pink Lady SIG Sauer.”
Rummaging in her purse, Lorinda said, “I’m sure I packed it when I changed bags…. I do have my Bible!” she said, holding up a tiny book.
“Your gun, please.”
She found it and passed the small pink pistol to him. He snapped it open and shook his head. “It’s not loaded. That’s a serious violation of the law.”
“But I have the bullets.” She plunged her hand into her purse and shoved aside the lipstick, the hairbrush, the bag of hard candies, the sunglasses, the tissues, the phone, the tiny bottle of ibuprofen, the tube of ultra-high-SPF sunblock, the gunshot first aid kit, and the HEPA face mask. Then she touched the little pack of condoms and realized she had a problem. “It’s amazing how much junk I have,” she said flirtatiously, hiding the condoms in a side pocket. “Look,” she said, holding her purse open so he could see the tiny projectiles rattling around the bottom of the bag.
“They’re not going to protect you in there.”
“If it’s loaded it might take a bad bounce or something and shoot my foot off.”
“That can’t happen.”
“It definitely can,” she laughed. “There are two people in my neighborhood it happened to.”
The cop shook his head. “I’ll let you off this time,“ he said, winking at her as he handed back the gun and the card, “but don’t let it happen again.”
“Yes sir. I’ll load it right now.”
“You can wait till you get wherever you’re going.”
“Yes, sir, I will. Thank you, officer. I’ll load it at work.”
“Where do you work?”
“I tend bar at PumpJack’s.” Another giggle. “PumpJack’s Oil-Fired Grille and Sports Bar.”
“Yeah, I recognized the uniform. Great burgers. Maybe I’ll see you there sometime.”
“I’m there every day, just about.”
“Well, all right then.” He turned toward his truck, then turned back to her. “You need a bigger weapon. That thing’s a joke.”
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