Then I pulled a run to an Eastern European consulate in a city I knew nothing about. My flight was late and I arrived at the grey, gloomy air terminal around midnight. The place reminded me of a Greyhound station in West Texas. I never checked any luggage so I just hustled into the airport with my carry-on and my attaché case looking for my driver. Instead, I saw an attractive young woman holding up a cardboard sign with my name on it. I identified myself and she told me the airline had received a call that my car had been cancelled and that I should find alternate transportation.
That was unusual but not unprecedented. I headed for the taxi stand which was, predictably, empty. Less than a minute later a lone cab came around the corner and plowed through the pouring rain to stop right where I was standing. I jumped in and gave the driver a card with the consulate’s address in English and the local language. We set off through a maze of narrow, winding city streets as the rain became even more torrential. Finally, the driver told me in his broken English that he couldn’t see where we were going and had to pull over and wait for the storm to pass. I wasn’t crazy about this idea but my options were limited. Plus, I couldn’t see out of the windshield any better than he could. Then, he took a quick turn into a really tiny street that looked a whole lot like an alley.
Speaking slowly, as if that would make any difference, I asked “Why are you turning in here?” He didn’t respond. But, an instant later, the door on my side was wrenched open and I was grabbed by the arm and half dragged, half-tossed onto the pavement. Luckily, my reflexes were good and I stayed on my feet. The big guy who had pulled me from the cab had lost his grip and was maybe five feet away. In his hand was a very large knife that actually gleamed in the dim light in the alley. I back-pedaled hoping I had some room behind me as he lurched forward with the knife in striking position for my abdomen.
I didn’t have time to present my weapon but I had a hard shell attaché case in my right hand. I swung it fast and caught him under the chin. As he fell backward, I kicked him in the groin as hard as I could. I couldn’t savor the moment because the cab driver had appeared on the scene, groping at his waist to try to free a handgun of some sort. Training and practice kicked in for me and I retrieved my 9mm from its shoulder holster just as he started to raise his weapon. A quick shot to his head, a dark spot blossomed between his eyes, and the gun dropped from his hand.
All this happened in maybe five seconds, so I was pretty completely disoriented. But, not disoriented enough to miss the first bad guy making it to his hands and knees and groping for his knife. At that moment, everything became slow and clear. He grasped the knife and started to his feet. I remembered the old line “Never take a knife to a gunfight” and thought “Fuck it” as I coolly shot him in the head as well.
Damn! The third “D.” Two shots and two kills. At least I assumed it was two kills because neither of the other guys seemed to be moving. Now what? An American in a hostile country guns down two locals. That’s not going to look good in the morning newspapers.
The rain continued to pour down and I was getting soaked as I waited for the inevitable sirens and lights as the gendarmes responded to shots fired. Astonishingly, after several minutes, there was no such response.
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