It’s the end of a beautiful day. You’re sitting on a lounger, under a beach umbrella, with a Pina Colada in your hand, watching the sun go down and the surf roll in. Suddenly there is a large racket. What is that noise? Gradually your mind organizes itself and you recognize the ringing of your alarm clock. It has only been a dream. But reality has interrupted. Time to roll out of the sack and get to work.

It’s the end of a beautiful day.  You’re sitting on a lounger, under a beach umbrella, with a Pina Colada in your hand, watching the sun go down and the surf roll in.  Suddenly there is a large racket.  What is that noise?  Gradually your mind organizes itself and you recognize the ringing of your alarm clock.  It has only been a dream.  But reality has interrupted. Time to roll out of the sack and get to work.
You stumble out of bed, still half asleep and resentful for not being able to finish that dream.  Thank God it’s Friday.  Tomorrow you are taking your kids fishing.  After a shave and a shower, you are now ready to face the day.  You get dressed and choose a tie from your vast collection - the red one with the small golden elephants on it.  You strap on your shoulder holster and pull on your sports coat.  You do look sharp this morning.
You play many roles in this life: husband, father, businessman, and good guy with a gun.  You grab some toast with your favorite jam, raspberry, give your wife a quick kiss, and head for the door.  Just then she says, “Honey, could you pick up some peanut butter at the grocery store?”  “Sure,” you reply.
Afraid you might forget the peanut butter if you wait until after work, you decide to hit the Piggly Wiggly on the way in.  You pull into the parking lot, breeze through the automatic doors, and make a beeline for the far end of aisle four.  You’re a man on a mission.  Immediately you realize you should have asked more questions: Creamy or crunchy?Regular or low-fat? Name brand or store brand?  No time to worry about that now.  You grab one.
Just then you hear a loud noise - POP, POP.  Startled, you drop the peanut butter which hits the floor with a THUD. That sounds like gunfire, and from only a few aisles away.  This is your time.  You pull your weapon and in two steps you are looking down aisle five - only an old lady there, hiding behind a bag of dog food.
You move on to the end of aisle six and there he is facing you from the other end of the aisle with a gun in his hand.  POP, POP, POP you squeeze off three rounds and now a larger THUD as he hits the floor.  The adrenaline is pumping, your heart is pounding, and your hands are sweating, but you are the hero you’ve always wanted to be.
Then you hear it: POP, POP.  Is there another bad guy with a gun over a couple of more aisles?  You make your way to aisle seven.  Nothing there but an abandoned shopping cart and a couple of orphan Kumquats rolling around on the floor.  On to aisle eight.  At the far end is a cop, bag of donuts in one hand, gun in the other.  Thank God the cavalry has arrived.
Was the last pop this cop shooting the real bad guy in another aisle?  Better announce yourself.  “I’m a good guy with ...”   POP, POP, POP, THUD.  It’s the last sound you’ll ever hear.  Looks like you won’t be going to work this morning, or fishing with your kids tomorrow, or watching the sun set in Hawaii this summer.  
A moment ago you were a good guy with a gun.  Now you’re a dead guy with a gun.  But hey, look on the bright side.  At least now you won’t have to stand trial for the murder of the other good guy with a gun back in aisle six.  There is always a silver lining.



James Rhoades writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.