As the bullets rang out and the casings clanged to the floor, I thought to myself: “Why today?” The sound of the full auto high caliber gun firing was so overpowering, I could barely hear anyone else. For a moment, the gun was so booming loud and the five other patrons and three employees were so quiet that I thought I was alone with these two giants of men.
I was hiding under the dark oak wood round table and right in front of the small window seat with a bright flower design, clinging to the tiled floor as the man with the gun wearing the black Vans slip ons stood directly in front of me. I’m praying he doesn’t see me, but sadly it’s hard to make yourself invisible when you’re wearing a long flowing sapphire blue skirt, a tie dye of turquoise and sky blue crop top, and a floor length sleeveless white sweater. Not to mention having dyed neon blue long hair tied up in two dutch braids, wrapped into buns, similar in look to that of Princess Leia, only not so pulled forward on my face. My traffic-cone-orange headphones don't help, especially when they can’t decide if they are going to stay on my face or slip away onto the floor.
Before the shooting began, a woman wearing a nice pair of light blue denim jeans and a black, round neck t-shirt with the name of the shop on it reading out, Don't Spill The Beans. She also had a scarlet red name tag that spelled out, “Sophie: MANAGER”. When she approached, I looked up from my gray MacBook that is covered in decals from places I’ve been to around the states, to band logos, to sayings from my favorite authors or shows. I paused my music, and half pulled off my headphones so that one side would be on my ear and the other side be on my cheek so I could tell Sophie my order.
Just a moment ago this shop was a peaceful, quiet place to work on an essay for school, but now it feels as if I’ve just been transported to the front lines of battle. Thrusted violently into war with no clue on what to do next. There are bullets flying over head, children crying, people screaming, and. . . and now there is blood splatter on the originally bright, colorful wall that was once the counter in which people wanting to take their order to-go would order from. “What the hell?!” The man behind the counter grabbing the money yelled out to his partner. “This wasn’t part of the plan.”
They’ve turned on each other. It appears that one has 'gone off script'. I guess it’s true what they say, 'no honor among thieves'. The gunman’s partner yelling at him angered him and he began to open fire once more, but this time is different. Instead of aiming for the ceiling in an attempt to scare us, he aims at his partner and begins to fire.
The partner saw this and was able to duck before the trigger got pulled, and the bullets began to penetrate the walls instead. They destroyed anything and everything in their path. From cups to bottles of ingredients. From the shelves themselves to the bags of beans sitting beside them. Soon, a new noise joined in the chaos. The sound of the ungrounded Robusta beans flowing like Niagara Falls. The burlap sack looks as if someone took a box cutter to it. The high caliber gun spray drew a line through it as if it were attempting to chop the bag in half, spilling its contents to the floor without a care in the world.
“Why today?” I think again. Today started off as a glorious day. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky. I woke up to an email stating that I was chosen to play in the Bay Area orchestra. Hell, I even found a twenty dollar bill on the street as I walked into Don’t Spill The Beans. Today has started off great, so why did it have to change? Why is it the one time I decided to treat myself by getting a bitter sweet, freshly ground, nutty smelling, delicious drink in a gorgeous, bowl-like, royal blue mug with an image of a blue orchid beautifully hand painted on it, two crazed gunman come in here to destroy the tranquility that I had made for myself?
I get pulled away from my thoughts when yet another new sound enters the mayhem, but unlike the others this sound doesn’t scare me. This sound, if anything, brings hope to an otherwise hopeless, desperate situation. And just like that, everything stops. The gun fire ends, children stop crying, people stop screaming, glass stops shattering. In a moment, we believe our prayers have been answered. And in the next, we know they have when we all begin to see the flashing of blue and red lights reflect and touch nearly everything in the cafe.
“My prayers are answered!” A man in a black suit whisper-yells, as a small smile comes over his face.
BANG! A single shot rings out, and suddenly all I see is red. I can’t move. I’m frozen for what feels like eternity staring. Staring at what once was a man, that has now become unrecognizable. His glasses have been split in two, the glass shards everywhere. Blood isn’t the only thing splattered onto the walls, floor, and me. I look at my once snow-white sleeves that have now turned a dark crimson red and see bits of something gooey. I study it for a moment before it hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s brains. Pieces of this mans' brain is on me!
This realization causes reality to set in and I let out the most blood curdling scream you have ever heard. I tremble as I look and see the man that was behind the counter, who didn’t have a gun, was now holding a .22 caliber revolver. He had on white and black checkered slip-on shoes. He had come around the counter when he saw the flashing lights and was standing beside his partner in the black Vans when the man in the suit said what he did. The man in the checkerboard shoes heard him and pulled the revolver with the marbleized white grip out of his waistband, and shot him dead, right between the eyes.
Finally, I come out of paralyzing shock when the front and back doors burst open with such force that the glass on the front door shattered as it slammed against the wall. The police entered the building. The thirty or so officers and SWAT members flooded the small, cramped seating area of the cafe, all aiming their rifles and pistols at the two. Many of the rifles have lasers on them which made the two men light up in red like fully decorated Christmas trees. The men surrender immediately. They are soon cuffed and taken outside. Once they are put in the police cars, the SWAT team members begin helping everyone up and escorting them outside.
A SWAT member, who was tall, about 6 '3, and athletically built, brought me to my feet. “Are you okay?” echoed from his mouth. It was strange. He was directly in front of me, and yet sounded so far away. “Are you hurt?” he says, echoing ending as I snap back to the present.
“What?” I utter.
“Are you hurt? Do you need to see a paramedic?” he asks.
“I don’t know.”
He nods, and gently puts his hand on my back and takes me outside. As I get to the door, everything flashes to a blinding white.