Bullet Time

I’d heard the first two, but it was when the third one sounded that I came awake as if shot from a gun myself. Then came the fourth round. All of them in quick succession. But the fifth took just a split second longer. As if the shooter hesitated thinking maybe four was enough, or perhaps his finger got juust slightly fatigued.

Bang bang bang bang, bang.

Not a cannon of a gun — in hindsight it sounded like a .22 or .25 caliber — but still its reports invaded through the wide open windows of our bedroom. We’re still new to our recently remodeled second floor and this was another lesson in how different a few vertical feet can be. These weren’t the first bullets we’d heard fly around the neighborhood before, but from the first floor they’re a bit farther removed — their soundwaves blocked and deflected and muffled by various barriers.

Here on the second floor our ears are much more accessible. The pair of double-hung windows frame a grand and minimally impeded view to the north, with the street immediately in that direction being Sunset Boulevard.

As I came out of my sound sleep the loudness had me thinking for a moment that the gunfire was really close. Maybe out on the street where we live. I listened for an aftermath of voices, screams, tires screeching or the bullets hitting anything or anyone, but there was nothing. Nothing at all, which made it all the more eerie as if the perpetrator had decided to send five bullets into the air for no reason other than it seemed like a fun thing to do.

I looked at the clock. Or maybe he fired because it was 2:54 this morning. Susan stirred.

“We’re those gunshots?” I asked. I knew that they were but I was looking for confirmation that it wasn’t something I’d dreamed.

She murmered an mmm-hmm and I reached for the phone dialing 911. A dispatcher answered immediately and I got out of bed, crossing over the wood floor to the windows. All was still.

“What emergency are you reporting?” the dispatcher asked. I told her what I knew: that I’d heard five gunshots, that most likely they came from Sunset Boulevard, probably somewhere in between Parkman and Benton Way.

The dispatcher said officers would be sent to check it out, and I thanked her and hung up. Lingering at the window, I entertained a miracle payback scenario of the bullets coming home to roost and drilling into the fleeing maggot that set them loose. One in his left thigh making him look up in surprise just in time to take one in each eye and the other two through his forehead.

Thunk thunk thunk thunk, thunk.

In lieu of such high unlikeliness of the lead planting the scumbag six feet under I instead hoped that the bullets harmlessly found nothing but the city’s surface to bounce off of or bury themselves beneath.

Back to bed I waited awhile wide-eyed and tense for sirens telling of their approach to a discovered crime scene, but none arrived. Or at least not before sleep came to me.