If Amy was going to parley this into a winning situation for everyone concerned, both the victims and the perp, she’d have to walk carefully.

Sheryl’s Daily Prompt

If Amy was going to parley this into a winning situation for everyone concerned, both the victims and the perp, she’d have to walk carefully. When they’d first arrived, he’d sounded someone sane, but as time wore on, it seemed he was losing ground and had begun ranting and raving while waving a revolver around as he spoke. She desperately needed to get inside the grocery store find out who was yanking his chain before the situation escalated any further. If she could talk to him she might be able to calm him down before the situation became so inflamed there was no looking back.

Taking the bullhorn in hand, Amy identified herself then spoke directly to the perp. “Marty, I know you don’t want to hurt anyone. You’re not that kind of guy.” She paused then continued, “I’d like to talk to you face to face, Marty, see if we can sort this out. Would that be alright with you?”

With no movement nor response and the clock ticking, everyone was anxious. Finally, he said, “You and only you. And leave your hardware behind. I want to see you drop it.”

“Great, Marty. I’m coming in.” She handed the bullhorn to her partner and whispered, “right leg, take him out if I give you the signal, got it?”

Making her way slowly across the adjoining pavement and up onto the sidewalk, she continued on toward the double doors. He had a hostage, a terrified teenager maybe 14 or 15 by the shoulder. She pulled the door open and kept it open with her foot while she slowly turned and showed him her holster was empty, removed her jacket and said, “No weapons, Marty, as you asked.”

“Inside!” he barked.

“Marty, how can I help you?” she asked counting the crowd of people huddled on the floor. Fifteen including the teen.

“They stole my job and my money and my pension.”

“Who’s ‘they’ Marty?”

“Head office. Old Jerry there said he’d look into it, do something about it, but he stalled until I lost my house and I’m living in my car cause I have nowhere to go. He’s as full of shit as they are. He never meant to help me.” He turned and pushed the teenager away to point the gun at a man cowering behind a woman. ‘Nice!’ she thought.

“Mind if I have a chat with Jerry see if I can encourage him to take another look at the situation?”

“Be my guest for all the good it will do.”

“Ok, is it possible to move some of these people out of here, Marty? They are as innocent as you and they don’t deserve to be lumped in with the riff-raff, do they!?”

He thought that over for a time. Marty took his time to make decisions it seemed so it was unlikely he’d made this one rashly. He’d planned it out in advance. It would take time to change his mind if she could.

Twenty minutes went by and he said, “Angel, Franky, Jerome, Hudson, Macky, Andy, Lisa, Wendy, you go. You’ve always been good to me, stood for me, been friends. I’m sorry ’bout this.”

They stood slowly unsure he really meant it and when he lowered the gun to his side and pointed with his other hand, they hustled toward the door and out. That was a start, eight fewer hostages was a very good start. And they had a rapport started, that was a good sign. He could be reasoned with.

“You thirsty, Marty, can I order in food or drink?”

“Yeah, coffee would be good.”

The weasel hiding behind the woman said, “but there’s coffee in the back and there’s pop on the shelves.”

“I’m sure Marty would feel more comfortable having some fresh coffee and perhaps some donuts.”

“But…”

“Shut up, Jerry, you heard the lady. In five minutes she knows me better than you and you worked with me for 15 years. Shut up and sit down – over there.” He pointed to a spot by a cash register alone. “I’m sure Agnes doesn’t want you hiding behind her like the slime you are.”

“Agnes seems like a gentle soul. Can we let her and a couple of the others go too, Marty? You have me, I’m worth gold to the folks out there.”

“I’ve seen you in here before, you always treat the staff kindly, respectfully. I believe in you. Actions, they always speak louder than words.” He turned and stared at Jerry, “Always. Words are cheap!” Following another thoughtful pause he said, “ok, the rest of you go now.”

Agnes piped up, “What, before the donuts?” Marty grinned. “Yeah, go Agnes. Thank you for always being there, for the smiles and the jokes. You’re good people! I’m sorry to have involved you.”

“I’ll live, Marty. Make sure you do too. See you on the other side, ok?”

The rest of the staff walked out behind her and the only one left was the miserly manager who was huddled on the floor like a whipped dog.

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