Early Warning

Mick Powers


Two days ago Ted Gilchrist brought a loaded rifle to his workplace and pointed it at his friend, Eamon. They had been friends for almost twenty years, for as long as Eamon worked at Haynes International Inc., or Haynes as it's known in the small town. As far as Eamon knew the only provocation came from Ted's belief that Eamon had feelings for his wife, Charlene. There'd also been the recent managerial change that appointed Eamon as Ted's immediate boss and a slight possibility Ted wanted the job did exist. But neither of these reasons seemed good enough in Eamon's mind for anyone to bring a loaded M 1903 (modified) Springfield to their place of work and up to the break room (where Eamon was executing pre-shift rituals) and then proceed to level the bolt-action rifle at the back of his head.

Eamon felt the idea that he was in love with Charlene to be absurd, a delusion. But Ted had arrived anyway Monday morning (the official report said approximately 6:49 a.m., a full eleven minutes before the shift started), carrying the loaded .30 caliber. Everybody knew Ted, and he was a childhood friend of the unsuspecting guard for Gate 2 of building 04. After smuggling in the firearm, he proceeded to direct the thing with an unfocused and confused attention, a man whose decisions were suddenly inexplicable, toward the task of aiming at Eamon's head. Meanwhile Eamon sat on a metal folding chair with a cup of coffee, the same acidic coffee he'd been making in the old coffeemaker for the last fifteen years. Eamon made no sudden movements as he stopped sipping and replaced both his Styrofoam cup and his newspaper to the break room tabletop.