The Pearl River Excursion (The Final Part)

Harry cleared his throat, then crooned, “We’re caught in a trap… I can’t walk out… Because I love you too much, baby.” He nodded at Mr. McAllister. 

The old man cleared his throat then sang in a rich, soulful—if slightly gravelly—voice, “Why can’t you see… what you’re doing to me…” 

Harry watched him with wide eyes and an awestruck smile. Mr. McAllister stopped and coughed. He tapped his chest and cleared his throat. 

“Are you okay?” asked Harry.  

Mr. McAllister coughed again. “My throat is very dry. Would you mind getting me a glass of water? I’m sure that would help me sing better.” 

“Oh, yes, of course… Elvis. May I call you Elvis?” 

Mr. McAllister’s eyes narrowed. He shifted forward a little in his chair. He nodded and smiled. “Sure. Call me Elvis.” 

Harry smiled and nodded to himself. “I’m singing with Elvis,” he whispered. 

“Now… the water, please,” said Mr. McAllister. 

“Oh right! The water.” 

Harry glanced toward the kitchen. Mr. McAllister grabbed Harry’s right wrist, twisting it sharply and turning the gun away from himself. Harry yelped in pain. His reflexes twisted his body just enough to prevent a broken wrist, and, coincidentally, just enough to evade Mr. McAllister’s kick at his groin—the old man’s foot struck his upper thigh. Mr. McAllister tried to wrench the pistol free, but age had sapped his strength. Harry held tight to the weapon while he brought his left fist around like a club to the side of Mr. McAllister’s head. The old man collapsed face-down on the carpet; blood streamed from the sudden gash at his temple. Harry jumped up. He switched the gun to his left hand, while he held his quivering right hand in front of him.  

“Damn it!” he said, wincing. “Why’d you go and do that? You nearly broke my arm!” 

Mr. McAllister rolled onto his side. Harry shot him in the stomach. The old man groaned, low and horrible, and clutched his abdomen. A police siren wailed in the distance. Harry went to the window; he turned back to Mr. McAllister.  

“You called the cops?” Harry shook his head, went back and stood over the bleeding man. “What happened to you? You used to be so cool.” 

Mr. McAllister’s wheezing mouth hung open. He looked up at Harry. Harry shot him twice in the chest; Mr. McAllister slumped and became still. His eyes closed. Harry dropped the gun on the floor and cradled his right wrist with his left hand. 

“You nearly broke my arm,” he mumbled. He looked down at Mr. McAllister and sighed. “It had to be done. I had to protect you.”

The sirens grew louder, nearer. Harry knelt beside Mr. McAllister. He leaned down and kissed the old man on his bloody forehead. The howling siren gave a final whoop then ceased as the patrol car pulled up in front of the house. Car doors opened then thumped shut. Harry picked up the gun. Footsteps raced up the path. Harry raised himself to his feet. A fist banged on the front door.  

“Police! Open up!” 

Harry began to sing softly, “We’re caught in a trap… I can’t walk out…” 

“Open the door now!” 

Harry raised the gun. 


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