ONE, TWO, THREE . . .

hose Trooper Don Mitchell is a tracker. When not chasing car thieves, he stalks four legged critters in the wilder places upstate. Just to make it interesting, he usually hunts with black powder, flint, and steel. But tonight he is in the big city and closing in on a very bad guy with a gun. And Don bailed out after him without his spare magazines.

From the first SAM DELAND CRIME NOVEL, SINK RATE:

It sounded just like the noise he made when he jumped earlier. Jamal tensed and flipped the safety off on the .45. An all night stay in the darkness of the bush was what he planned to do. He knew he’d been sitting under it for quite a while and heard the heavy rumbling police car engines prowling up and down the streets on either side. Someone was in the yard. He watched the corner of the house where the noise came from, ready to do anything he had to do. He wasn’t going back to that pit of a prison.

Don was an experienced hunter. He hunted wild critters when he was off and stolen cars at work. This deal was quite a bit different. Getting real serious. He slid to the end of the house and slowly peeked at the yard. That big bush was there. He asked himself, where would I hide if I was in this yard? He didn’t want to just walk up and shine his light into the bush and see if Yancey was in there.

He had to do something. In the dim light, he looked to see what was near him. A coiled up piece of garden hose was hanging there about five feet back in the direction from which he came. Slowly he moved back and picked up the coil. He’d learned a squirrel hunter’s trick years ago. Sometimes you walk up on one while you’re moving through the woods and catch a glimpse of it as it scoots around to the other side of the tree. You move one way or the other and the squirrel moves around the tree some more, always keeping it between you and him. The trick was to toss a stick or your hat over to a spot behind the squirrel and make him put the tree between him and the new sound. Squirrel for dinner.

Not exactly the same here, but close enough. Don wrapped the coil tighter by pulling the end of the hose around the coil and lodging it between the circles of hose. He moved back to the end of the house and judged the distance to the bush and the fence. About forty feet, he thought. Don focused on the bush and rolled the hose coil out onto the yard toward the bush.

The hose was spinning along like a wobbly wheel and the bush exploded in flame and noise. Dirt kicked up around the hose and Don counted the shots. One, two, three…and the noise paused. Don pivoted left, braced against the corner of the house and fired into the bush four times. Two shots came back and one hit the wood of the wall at Don’s waist showering his coat with shards of splinters and paint. Don returned two more shots.

Now he only had one left in his gun. Five hundred dollars of expertly crafted machinery in his hands that now functioned like one of his flintlocks. He pulled back behind the wall and waited for Yancey’s eighth shot. Don figured Yancey didn’t have a spare magazine either. Two into Calvin and five here, leaves one. If it wasn’t one of the high capacity .45s they were making now. Then he might have five more rounds. Tough time for math.

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