Categories > Original > Drama > Point-Blank0 Reviews
Drew tries to have a "normal day." But that kind of life is apparently not for him today....
Andrew completed his latest set of chin-ups. He dropped to the ground with a sigh, as he reached for his towel to wipe the sweat off his forehead. His lean, muscled body, which belied his ability to outlift most of the power-lifters in the room, was dripping from his exertions. He spent quite a bit of time at the gym, having been given a lifetime membership once by Dan. The smallest of grins crossed his face as he remembered that holiday, one of the few times he’d been able to just enjoy himself since......he’d retired.
Dan found him at the punching bags, pounding out a feverish staccato on the hanging bag.
“Hey, Point! What’s up today?” he called in his customary greeting.
Drew allowed himself another rare grin. If Dan was here at the gym looking for him, he was looking for something to pound besides the bag.
“All right, Dan, what are you willing to wager today? Any cash this time?” Drew knew Dan would never bet any actual cash on anything, being the polar opposite of a compulsive gambler. But, the wagers were sometimes good.
“Lunch at Mario’s sound good today?” Dan grinned back. “I hear they have a good special today—their new ‘Italian Lobster’, with salad and choice of appetizer.”
“Okay, Dan. Mario’s if you win, but Frank’s if I do. I’ll order the biggest sandwich he’s got, along with the biggest bag of fries he makes.”
“Frank’s? Come on, Point, when are you going to quit eating burgers and dine on something sophisticated?” Even after three years, Dan still couldn’t wrap his mind around Drew’s eating habits.
“How about when you beat me?” Drew challenged. It was true—Dan had yet to actually beat Drew in a sparring match, though he always put up a better fight than anyone else could that Drew knew in town. Not that the number was very high to start with.
They finished donning the mandatory headgear and padding, slipped the mouthpieces in, and without another word began beating the crap out of each other.
Drew always enjoyed his bouts with Dan, though he never really let on. Daniel Shaw was a former Navy SEAL, with 15 years of covert missions and top training. After landing an early retirement with full benefits, not to mention several commendations, he’d joined the City police, landing a doozy of a desk job high up in the hierarchy. At thirty-five, he was still one of the most dangerous men alive, and could take out a half-dozen Marines without breaking a sweat.
Drew considered him fairly good.
Dan had never said a word about Drew’s inability to fall down during these matches the past three years. He simply accepted that he had to work harder to beat Drew than any dozen opponents he’d ever faced before. In the end, though, after the twenty minutes of pounding, kicking, and general pummeling, Drew held out his hand to Dan, who gratefully accepted the assistance in standing up again.
“I will never figure out how you do that,” Dan laughed.
“It’s Frank’s ‘Secret Sauce’,” Drew deadpanned.
Dan laughed all the harder as they retrieved their gym bags and walked out to the car.
Later, at the “most expensive glorified burger joint in the city” as Dan usually put it, Drew was enjoying a Double-Decker Barbecue-Ranch with extra veggies (“Full pound of beef after cooking!”) and a Mega-Size chili-cheese fries. Dan...had a small cheeseburger.
“I’ll never understand how you can eat that. Besides the health reasons, I didn’t know a human jaw could open that far.”
“Mmphaste mphrackfass,” Drew replied before swallowing. “Takes practice. Besides I promised I’d eat these forever if ...” he trailed off. “...umm, when I got out.” He went silent for a minute.
Dan recognized this. He never asked about Point’s service record, or anything else about his past. As a SEAL, he’d done quite a few things himself, most of which was still classified. He vaguely gathered that Point had serious military training of some sort in the past, but the only thing he’d ever said about it was that he’d served in some obscure branch of the Air Force. Dan never questioned it. But he sometimes wondered exactly how someone like Point could underweigh him by fifty pounds and still take the beating that he did. Even at thirty-five, he weighed two hundred thirty pounds with a five percent fat index. But hitting Point seemed like punching a wall. He didn’t move, he didn’t flinch, and he never once fell.
“Hey, Dan,” Drew snapped out of his reverie. “You want to catch a movie or something tonight? I hear that new action flick is out, the one with that girl you like—”
“A movie? Point, I didn’t know you even leave your apartment, much less go to public places,” Dan replied, mildly astonished.
“Drew frowned at him. “Dan, I go to the gym, don’t I? And I have to eat somehow. Besides, even my apartment gets a little cramped sometimes, and tonight I just want to relax. Just tell the wife that you’ll be hanging out with me for awhile and she won’t worry a bit.”
“Yeah, right Point,” Dan chuckled. “She’ll think you’re going to get me in trouble.”
Dan’s wife Marie Shaw was a wonderful woman, a devoted mother, great cook, and always took time to tell Dan that she “smelled something disreputable about that Andrew” whenever he stopped by. But she accepted him as family, as she might a Harley-riding uncle or a mischievous grandfather. His children, on the other hand, accepted him without qualm. Robby, Dan’s seven-year-old son, thought Andrew was the greatest thing in the world. His daughter, twenty-three-year-old Serenity, had grown into a beautiful young and talented lady and had been eyeing Drew since he met Dan. Not that he would give Dan a reason to try beating on him harder than he already did, but...
“All right, I’ll call Marie quick and tell her we’re catching a show on the way home. But we’re going to see the new Jackie Chan flick, got it? We’re not going to see the Halle Berry movie at all, right?” He winked.
“Geez, Dan, I’m the troublesome one? How many more beatings will I take for you, man?”
“Shut up, and I’ll buy the popcorn,” Dan retorted, as they got up.
As they left the table to call Marie, neither one noticed the leather-clad teen nearby reach for his cell phone.
Because of the enjoyable weather, they decided to walk the few blocks to the theater. As they walked, Drew noticed a slight disquiet in the air. He wasn’t sure what caused it, but he did notice Dan walking a little stiffer than usual, too.
“Wanted to mention something, Point,” he suddenly interjected into the quiet. “That guy with the beret from yesterday, it turns out he was actually the ringleader for the group. Good thing you left him alive.”
All Drew could remember was the panic. She’s going to die, she’s going to die, why did I put the gun down, he’s going to kill her, I have to stop him, it’ll be my fault again, need to make sure he can’t shoot, hit the wrist, that’ll throw off his aim, if it fires it’ll go into the wall...
“We got some drugs in him, a new sodium pentathol combo Roberts mixed up, and he started singing like a canary. But he had some weird reaction to the stuff, sounded like he was delirious. Kept talking about “The eye, we’re gonna stab out the eye, ramen’s gonna blind the eye, the eye is watching”, crazy stuff like that. You...” he hesitated, “...It mean anything to you, Point?”
Drew’s mind was going like crazy at this exchange, though he didn’t reveal any of it. What did that guy know?
Suddenly, he noticed the two guys walking just ahead, heading their direction. In the deepening dusk, it was hard to see their faces...No, they were wearing stocking masks!
The two hoods sprang into action, knocking Dan and Drew into the alleyway before either could react. Once in, dozens of hands seemed to try and haul them even further into the darkness, to hide them all from friendly eyes.
An arm wrapped around Drew’s throat while fists began hammering his stomach.
“This will teach stiffs like you to mind your own business!” yelled one of them, causing the others to echo the sentiment in crude and faulty imprecations. Suddenly, Drew heard one of them mention “hostages”, and another “hotel”, and he realized that this was retaliation for yesterday. His mind cleared in an instant, his muscles tightened and he reached for the arm around his throat.
In a single practiced move, he twisted that arm around, using the leverage to fling the owner at the three or four trying for his ribs. They fell in a heap as he turned on the other behind him, turning a blocked punch into a shattered elbow and kneecap. He turned back toward the pile he’d left before, catching one in the chin with an upthrust palm, and a second with a swift hook to the jaw, followed by an elbow to the head. The two landed tangled together.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Dan handling his predicament in a similar fashion, so he turned his attention back to his own attackers. The other two had gotten up and were trying to rush him together; this tactic ended abruptly when he cracked their heads together. They lost consciousness before they hit the ground.
Dan had finished his five, and the leather-wearing teen from the restaurant, apparently the leader, started running the other way like a streak. Drew grabbed a small chunk of pavement off the ground, and hit the teen square in the skull, with one smooth motion.
Dan looked at Drew appreciatively as he reached for his phone. “Knew I should’ve picked you for the work softball team. Yeah, this is Shaw. I’ve got an assault and battery on Fifth, in the alley. Who? Would you believe me?” A squawk of surprise from the phone. “Yeah, I know. Not too bright. About a dozen of them, send four units over here for pickup.” He closed the phone and looked at Drew. “So, Point, did you catch what they were saying?”
“Yeah, the hostages. From yesterday.” Drew’s mind was spinning. There was something he was missing, something that was out of place. Suddenly it clicked. They were watched; they were followed. They were attacked. But only them?
“Marie!” he shouted at Dan, and took off running. “Dan, stay here!”
“But Point, what are...” he began, before understanding hit him. By then Drew was already halfway back to his car.