“You don’t have to do this,” said Clark. This wasn’t the way he wanted to see Calum go down. The federale, Pique, slinked out of line with his precious Jeep, about twenty paces away in the Hinky Dinky parking lot. Calum stood his ground by his Davis County Sheriff car.
Calum looked at Clark inquisitively, so he nodded toward the federale to be clear who he was talking to.
“It’s my job,” said Pique. “He’s under arrest.” His exaggerated susurrations had a creepy, snaky effect.
Clark thought Pique looked ridiculous in his black and red leather strapped with dozens of gizmos and weapons, but his holstered Hochberg 290, responsible for most of the kills that built Pique’s reputation, was intimidating. Plus he had this sinister habit of blowing a kiss to the man he was about to kill. Ridiculous can be scary. Clark moved closer to Calum to give him cover.
“You didn’t come out here to help with the case, did you?” asked Calum. He lit a cigarette.
Clark’s chest jumped. He couldn’t know, could he? He hoped not, but he was more worried about Calum surviving the duel. Calum had this misguided, ignorant code where he would only shoot in self-defense. Clark had to stop this. “What grounds do you have, Pique?”
“Everything I need.” He sneered with smug satisfaction. “Habitual dereliction, and I have enough online material to put him away for sedition.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Calum.
“Like you don’t know,” said Pique. “You run this county like a dictator. I have so many counts of misconduct documented, I don’t know where to start.” He fiddled with a gadget on his right sleeve. “But that’s nothing compared to the fabulous treason you exhibited online.” He giggled. “Does the username ‘luckylamda’ mean anything to you?”
“That was you?” asked Calum. “I knew I didn’t like you. You can get the hell out of my county now.”
“Not without you,” he said. “You’ve got an appointment with the EREP tribunal.”
“I don’t think so,” said Calum. He moved away from Clark, but Clark followed.
“Hey, hey,” said Clark. “There’s no reason you have to take him now. Write up your case, and if a judge orders his arrest, you can deal with it then.”
“That’s not how it works, darling. Are you loving on this clown?” Pique put his finger to his lower lip. “Look at you in your blue suit and tie, trying to look your authority. My authority and my style beats yours.”
“I can’t touch your style,” said Clark.
Calum laughed. “Look. I know you think your all that with your federal authority and your fancy pants, but this county depends on me. You come in here barking orders about how we should do this and do that, and when I don’t force my people to do what you want, I’m the tyrant. Well, that’s fine. If you want to make me the tyrant, I really don’t give a shit. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m taking care of them, and your just a gun-slinging asshole. So can we just get this over with?”
“Calum!” spat Clark. “If you take down a fed, all hell will come down on Davis County.”
“It can’t be helped,” said Calum, putting space between them. “We’ll have to deal with that when the time comes.”
Clark couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Wait. Pique, let’s apply the law to remove Calum properly.” He moved toward Pique, hoping to find a way to immobilize him. “There’s no reason we have to take him in now.”
“I am the law,” said Pique.
“No. Not around here you’re not,” said Calum. “Get out of the way, Clark.”
Clark turned and started back toward him. “You know, that gun he has automatically fires when he’s acquired his target. All he has to do is get the gun pointed at you, and you’re done. He won’t miss.”
“I’m aware of that,” he said. “What has to be done has to be done.”
Clark choked on the words. “Do you know how stupid that sounds?”
“Get out of the way, Clark.”
“To hell with both of you,” he said. Clark took several paces out of their way.
Pique smiled. “Now we can have a heart to heart, bigot.”
“Sticks and stones,” said Calum.
Pique blew him a kiss, and before his gun cleared his holster Calum shot him. He fell to the ground, bleeding out with a bullet hole right of center of his chest.
“Damn,” said Clark.
“That’s about how I see it.”
“I thought you never took a man down unless he drew on you first,” said Clark.
Calum pursed his lips and nodded. “Yep. With this man a kiss was as good as a draw.” He holstered his gun. “Besides, he really pissed me off in that last blog post.”