Knock knock knock.
He paused, as usual.
Knock knock knock. There was no answer from inside the house. He knocked again, louder. No response. He knocked louder still, and just as he considered the amount of force necessary to break the old door down with his shoulder, it creaked open to reveal a small, fragile old woman wearing sunglasses.
“Hullo, miss. I trust you are having a good day. What might I call you?” he began with his usual opener. It almost always worked, and people usually gave more information than they realized.
“What? Who’s there? Is someone there?” The woman was talking towards the doorframe instead of the salesman. He waved his hand in front of her face.
“Hulloo. Hullo, I’m right here!” On one wave he almost chopped down on her nose.
“Is that you, Sammy? Come on in.” She turned and inched towards a living room.
“No, I’m a salesman— I’m the Bang-Bang Bible Salesman. I’m here to sell you a Bible and trust me; I won’t leave until it’s in your hands.” He followed her into the house.
“Oh yes, that’s nice dear. Would you like some cookies?” she asked, still walking away from him. Blue and red flooded the room from the windows. Luckily, the door had been closed before the police arrived in the neighborhood, and he was sure no one saw him enter. He was certain that the only person who was any danger to him was almost entirely blind, and if she posed a threat, he still had four bullets.
“No, no cookies—I have some nice Bibles here, let me pick one out for you. I am selling them. Bibles.” He emphasized the words, hoping that she wasn’t as deaf as she was blind.
“Oh! Oh, Bible— sure, sonny, I’ll go get my checkbook. You stay right there. I’ll be back before you know it. And with cookies.” She never stopped her inch-walk, one step at a time in a great circle around the house like the world’s slowest train on a closed track. He knew he had some time before she got back, so he sat on the couch and opened his briefcase, taking inventory and inspecting the newest additions beyond the cursory glance he had paid them at the Jackson household.
It never occurred to him that he was in danger, and so the entire time the woman was gone from the room, he became enthralled in the examining of old books.
As soon as she was sure she was out of eyesight, the woman took a deep breath, and tiptoed to the hall closet. She withdrew a large double-barreled shotgun and two shells. She loaded the barrels and returned to the living room.
She turned into the living room and caught the Bang-Bang Bible Salesman staring up at a Bible he had hoisted towards a ceiling light. She could have killed him right then, but she wanted to enjoy this one.
“All right, sonny, the jig is up. Ah-Ah-Ah!,” she cooed as he reached behind his back. His hand returned the Bible he had been admiring, a 1986 New Jerusalem Bible. She saw his knuckles go white as they gripped it, but whether this was from fear or anger she did not know. In either case, his face remained completely emotionless.
“There must be some mistake, I—”
“You don’t think I got calls from every neighbor here to Timbuktu? Chrissake, we all heard them two shots you fired. You one arrogant son of a bitch,” she added, gesturing with the gun for him to look at the police cars outside. “Now we can either do this by way of legal proceedings, or fun. Personally I like the fun, ironic ending.”
“What ironic ending?” he asked, now clutching the bible to his chest.
“This one.” She fired both barrels at once, aimed directly at the Bible over his heart.