Bullets for Dessert
by Jerry Guarino
Tony and his wife Heather drove up to the border from Washington State to Canada, getting into the shortest line at the border. The customs delay was usually much less than an hour, only a minor inconvenience, but worth it for a weekend in this pristine country far from the crazy political climate in the United States. Vancouver was clean, with friendly people and virtually no crime. At least none they had ever seen before.
As they crossed the barren plains toward the city, sunlight bathed the skyline and mountains, like silver slices of heaven coming to Earth. Snow covered the top half of the glistening mountains. As they got closer, they saw the Burrard Inlet, surrounding this peninsula, water as blue as the Caribbean, but so much colder.
Tony was very happy to be here. “I can’t believe this is only a few hours from our home. Look at all the natural beauty.”
“I can’t believe you haven’t stopped at Tim Horton’s for a donut yet.”
“There’s one near our hotel, sweetheart. You know it’s one of my favorites.”
After a long day of sightseeing — Stanley Park, the Granville Island Market and Gastown — Tony and Heather went back to the hotel to freshen up before going out to dinner. A hot tub in their room made for a restful pause before going out.
“Tony, let’s not stay out too late. I’d like to get a good night’s sleep before tomorrow.”
“Yes dear. We did too much today. But I made a reservation at a great Italian restaurant.”
* * *
“What a wonderful meal, Tony. It reminded me of our trip to Italy.”
“Yes, sweetheart. Even the ambiance was perfect.”
Heather put her arm around Tony. “I’m bushed. Let’s head back to the hotel.”
“Just one more to do, dear.” Tony led his wife towards a Tim Horton’s donut shop.
“Tony, you’re incorrigible. After that elegant dinner?”
Tony took her hand as they walked into the back entrance to the famous Canadian donut shop. “Well, I guess we can get a coffee.”
Tony held the door and Heather walked in. It was quiet. Maybe the store was closing. Then, suddenly, gunshots shocked the couple into fear. They dove under one of the tables and held each other.
Tony whispered to his wife, “I love you, Heather.”
“Is this how it ends, Tony?”
They heard more gunshots and the chaos of hostages being threatened. The couple could see the police taking positions outside the front window.
“Put down your weapons and come out! You’re surrounded!”
“Move back, or we shoot a hostage!” shouted a gunman.
The police threw a tear-gas canister into the store, and everyone scrambled. Tony and Heather were trapped.
* * *
“Cut. That’s a take. Well done, everyone. That was perfect.”
Heather peered out from under the table. She saw that the tear gas was fake and the bad guys were high-fiving with the hostages.
A producer came over to Tony and Heather. “Are you two all right? How did you get in here?”
“We just came in for a donut, through the back door.”
The director came over. “That was great. Would you mind signing a release? Your reactions really added to the scene. We could compensate you at union rates.”
“This was an experience,” Heather said with a relieved smile.
Tony added generously: “How about just a dozen donuts and two coffees?”
* * *
Tony and Heather walked back to their hotel. Tony put Heather’s hand on his chest. “Feel that? My heart is still racing. All I want to do is get into the hot tub, calm down and then get to sleep.”
Heather had other thoughts. “I’m too excited, Tony. I have a better idea.” She whispered something into his ear.
Tony smiled and gave Heather a hug. A tune and some words ran through his mind: O Canada!... With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the True North strong and free! A perfect ending to an eventful day. He and Heather slightly quickened their pace toward their warm bath.
Copyright © 2019 by Jerry Guarino