Chapter Three

Bill was in the kitchen making a fried-egg sandwich. He wanted a fried-egg sandwich and he pretended not to care what his doctor said. Besides, he’d stopped topping them off with peanut butter and avocado. At seven o’clock at night an egg sandwich was still better for him than a fast-food burger.

Sally was sitting in a high-backed leather chair near the fireplace reading a book. A heavy branch thumping against the window made her look up.

“What was that?”

She looked up just in time to see a black shape flit past the front window toward the back yard.

“Bill! You better come over here!”

Bill walked into the living room with the egg sandwich still in his hands.

“What’s wrong?”

“I just heard a thump and saw somebody in the front yard.”

Bill went to the computer and expanded the view of the remote camera from 1/8th-screen to whole-screen.

“Yep. Look at that! We’ve got a Mexican’s low-rider parked around the corner with two guys in it. I sure wish I’d bought the color version of this camera! They must have gone down the alley and then climbed over our back wall — we didn’t get a beep from the front gate.”

Bill touched the numeric keys on the PC’s keyboard — the image switched to a view of the front of the house. He took another bite out of his sandwich.

“Why are you eating an egg sandwich? If I was gonna eat that I’d at least put ketchup on it.” Sally said, looking at him with disgust.

“Hey, ketchup was originally called ke-tsiap and was made in China from fermented dead fish. In 1750 the British tried to make it using fermented liver. It took H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh to use tomatoes. You know how Swedes eat spaghetti? With ketchup. I ain’t touching ketchup. Besides, sales of Mexican Salsa have overtaken ketchup in the US. You should be putting salsa on your eggs if you wanna be politically correct!” Bill dripped a bit of egg yellow on his shirt.

“Oooo! We got one guy at the front door right now. Your guy is walking up toward the front. He should be trotting past the front window again any second. Don’t look around.”

The doorbell chimed BING BONG.

“Okay, so they know what a door bell’s for — now let’s see what these guys want.”

Sally followed Bill to the front door. Bill gently motioned her back around the corner.

“If these guys have guns they might be trying for a home invasion — better stay clear of the door.”

Bill popped the door-stop out of the tile floor and into position. He then turned the handle on the Fiche lock and pulled, the massive front door gently swung open in his hands.

“Hi guys! Can I help you?” Bill could smell the beer-breath and the sweat of the Mexican’s armpits. The Mexican’s eyes were dilated and his face was sweaty. The guy needed a fix of something — heroin, methamphetamine, crack?

“We’re lost man. You got a phone we can use?”

“I can’t do that. Maybe you can try the Anderson’s house — that’s the one just next door. Oh. The Andersons are kind of cheap. Here’s five bucks you can give ‘em for the use of the phone.”

He was putting all the leverage on his side of the bar. If anything happened, he could tell the police that he took every available action to avoid confrontation — even paying the guy to go away.

Bill turned his head to see if Sally was still clear of the doorway. The Mexicans took that moment of vulnerability to lunge through the door.

Both Mexicans slammed against door and tried to leap inside. The one with the beer-breath quickly forced his left arm and part of his shoulder into the house. He moved fast — he’d done this before. The Mexicans probably thought Bill’s front door weighed sixty pounds and would just snap off its hinges. This door weighed three hundred pounds and wasn’t going anywhere.

There was a cheap .380 pistol in the Mexican’s left hand.

“Fuck you man! Fuck your five bucks. I gonna get all your money now man!”

His partner threw himself at the door again. The massive door moved rearward — gently tapping the floor-mounted steel post. Bill saw the glint of the chrome pistol, jumped clear and yanked at the CO2 fire extinguisher’s lanyard but missed. He grabbed the Mexican’s pistol by the slide and pointed it toward the ceiling. Bill pulled down on the pistol’s slide — moving it rearward almost an inch. With the slide pulled back the pistol was safe.

Bill yanked again at the lanyard and this time an ear-splitting, squeaking “SHHHHH” sound filled the entry way and the door began closing — hard.

“Man! What you doing to me man! I just wanted to use the phone man!”

The Mexican continued to force himself into the house, pushing with all his might against what he thought was Bill’s efforts to keep him out. Inert gas filled the bag — 70 psi, 80 psi, 90 psi — now more than 5,000 pounds of force was squeezing on the Mexican’s arm — tighter and tighter and tighter.

The Mexican realized he was in trouble. Whatever was on the other side of that door was far stronger than he. He was losing this battle fast. He was caught, trapped, crushed and now he was crying out in pain — screaming. He thrashed about — kicking and wriggling and pounding — doing everything he could to get his arm free. But all his wiggling did was align his arm’s glistening white tendons into a more compact space. The door closed even tighter. This door was a 300 pound mousetrap with a 15,000 pound spring — and it had sprung on him.

Bill took the pistol from the punk’s now puffy-but-limp left hand. The door continued to close.

“Carrrrnalll! AYEEE!”

The Mexican’s arm bones twisted and snapped like green twigs. The door continued to close. The Mexican’s arm jerked upwards — crushed between the door and the jamb. The Mexican could take no more and he fainted — suspended only by his nearly-severed limb.

His partner threw his shoulder against the door again and again — and then kicked at it.

“Move away from the door!” Bill yelled.

The partner backed up and then slammed himself against the door as hard as he possibly could. Bill looked through the peep hole and realized that Mr. Mexi-partner was getting frustrated — and was now lifting what looked like a Remington 870 pump shotgun from under his coat. If the idiot actually fired that shotgun into door the blast would bounce off the door’s interior steel plate and cut the trapped Mexican to pieces. Bill never thought he would have to save the life of some once-wriggling vermin.

Bill squatted to the floor and grabbed the nail gun.

“Big mistake guys!” Bill’s words echoed off the floor and walls of the confined entry space.

Bill grabbed the CO2 lanyard again and pulled himself up off the floor and peered through the peep hole. The Mexican had the 870 out and in front of him.


The Mexican racked a shotgun shell into the 870’s chamber.

Bill slammed the muzzle of the nail gun through the peep-hole and pulled the trigger.


Two inch long steel nails filled the air in a 30 degree arc.

Nails sparkled like fireflies in the glow of the yellow porch light.

Bill emptied most of the nailgun’s tray into the 870-owner’s chest — at 400 nails a minute. Some of the nails bounced off the steel action of the 870. Some nails perforated the Mexican’s arm and then nailed the arm to the shotgun’s black plastic stock.

“AYEEE!” The Mexican screamed — more out of surprise than pain.

“Wha choo dooeeeng to me man!”

All the Mexican could do was look down at his arm and the blood that was oozing out from around the nail heads. He tried to move his fingers but nothing happened — the nerves and tendons had been traumatized if not actually severed. He pulled at the stock of the shotgun — a gooey slurping snapping sound filled the air. The Mexican screamed and then ripped the shotgun stock away from his arm. Inch-long spikes stuck out of his arm and glistened pink in the yellow glow of the porch light. He dropped the gun on the walkway and just stood immobilized staring down at his arm.

But he had other — more serious — problems.

This Mexican had purchased a bullet proof vest from a mail order company advertising in the back pages of Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Wearing it, he thought he was really just too cool. Bill’s two inch nails easily slid through the 36 layers of the Mexican’s KEVLAR vest and only stopped in the Mexican’s lungs, thorax, pancreas and heart. His heart would continue to pump — until most of the Mexican’s blood had leaked into his chest cavity — then this Mexican would die. There was really no way to save him. His bullet proof vest was now nailed — and then hot glued — to his chest. It would take at least an hour for an hospital emergency room team to cut it off him. He didn’t have that much time.

“You guys really need to go to the hospital!” Bill yelled through the door. He couldn’t help but chuckle at the utter stupidity of these Mexican thugs.

“Step back from the door and stand where I can see you.”

The perforated Mexi-partner just stood there in a daze — this was not supposed to happen. He staggered three steps back and stood where Bill could just barely see him while peeking over the mangled remains of the other Mexican — his arm now crushed firmly in the grip of door. Bill placed the nail gun on the entry table and then released his grip on the lanyard. The gas stopped flowing. The room was silent. He turned to Sally who was peering around the corner.

“Wow, this stuff sure worked good! We oughta have one of these at the ba …”

The Mexican with the crushed arm suddenly came-to and started thumping his free arm against the door. “AYEEE! Lemmee go man!”


“Lemmee go man!”

“Quiet! Or I’ll let you hang there until you bleed to death!”

The crushed Mexican held his scream. The Mexican dart board was standing on the walkway — immobilized by shock — and listing ever-so-slightly to one side. Bill hoped the guy could last long enough to make it someplace down the street.

“Now, I’m gonna let you go — and you guys are gonna go far, far away. Please don’t come back. Do you understand?”

“Fuck you man!”

Bill grabbed the nail gun and stuck it through the peep hole.

“You guys want more of this? I can put about fifty nails into your eye sockets. You want that?”

“Oh no! Nooo! Senior!”

“You gonna go away now?”

“Oh kayee Senior, we go! Baht weee joos wanteed to use de phone!”

Bill released the gas pressure and the Mexican jerked his unnaturally flaccid limb out of the vice-like grip of the door. Both Mexicans were now entering a dream-like mental state — the first indication of massive shock. Neither had much time left on planet earth.

Releasing the door’s pressure on the Mexican’s arm allowed pinched nerves to re-awaken and generate undulating waves of excruciating pain.


In his generally debilitated physical condition there was little hope for the arm — even if he did get immediate medical attention. Then too, the crushed muscles were already sending an overload of poisonous protiens to his liver. Lastly, there was gangrene. All he had for a future was returning to Mexico and waiting to die.

The other Mexican was already all but dead on his feet.

The two thugs turned and then stumbled away into the night.

“Now that was interesting!” Bill looked at Sally just as their two children scampered into view.

“What happened daddy” Samantha asked.

“Somebody came to the door to use the phone and I told them to go next door.” Bill answered — looking down at the chrome plated ROSCO .380 automatic in his hands. He then picked up the nail gun and checked the pressure. There was more than enough for another load of nails. He reloaded the nail tray and placed the nailer in its place of honor on the floor.

“Now Bobby, I want you and Samantha to go upstairs and get ready for our trip tonight. I know that we’re leaving a bit late but we’ll still have a barbecue and stuff. Now, go on!”

“Sally, please close the drapes and turn out the lights at the front of the house. And you children, go back upstairs!”

Bill and Sally walked to the PC and looked at the video image of the outside of the house.

“I really didn’t mean to crush that guy’s arm. Hell, we’ve never had to use that door-closer before. He’s gonna lose that arm. The only reason it ain’t bleedin too bad right now is that the door crushed all the veins and arteries — there’s no place for the blood to spurt out.”

Bill didn’t mention the Mexican pin cushion — that guy would be lucky to live another ten minutes. Bill wasn’t too concerned. The Aztecs spent three hundred years draping their victims over a barrel cactus and then cutting out their still-beating hearts. All Bill had done was bring the Aztec tradition up to date with an added feature — steel nails coated in hot glue.

Bill picked up the .380 and looked at it again, then glanced at the PC’s screen.

“Look at that. Those scum ain’t leavin. They’re just sittin in their car. What kind of crap is this! I’m gonna give these guys a reason to leave. If we’re gonna get out of here tonight we better make sure those guys are gone. Don’t we need something from the store?”

Sally looked up at Bill. “Sure, three dozen eggs — for you — and some more cottage cheese.”

“All of you guys are safe here in the house. But just in case — how about staying upstairs until I come back …”

Bill walked to the kitchen and took all of the Burger King napkins stacked at the side of the tiled kitchen counter. Bill never actually went to Burger King to eat. He only used their napkins. He looked under the sink and found a bottle of liquid Spic and Span floor cleaner. He doused some of the floor cleaner onto the napkins and began smearing the ROSCO pistol with the liquid. He then opened a drawer and found two freezer sized plastic bags. He slid his now-sticky hands into them as if they were gloves.

“I’ll be right back. Now don’t open the door for anybody — and put the stop back up when I leave. Oh, and maybe it would be a good idea to wipe both sides of the door and the door frame with straight chlorine bleach.”

Bill pressed the floor post into its down and locked position, held the Burger King napkins in his right hand and continued to coat the .380 with the gold-colored floor cleaner while he opened the front door and headed toward the garage. It was not good to have a detached garage when Mexican thugs were on the rampage — but the house had been built more than sixty years ago — in a very different age.

At the side of the garage Bill found his bag of blood meal fertilizer and a stack of plastic leaf clippings bags. He put the pistol down and carried the bag of blood meal and one of the plastic bags to the front of the house.

He first used the plastic bag as another glove for his left hand — the one now coated in liquid Spic and Span — and flipped the 870 shotgun inside. The only traces of his house on the gun were grass seeds — and almost everybody in San Diego had the same kind of grass. He then sprinkled a fine layer of blood meal all over the porch, all over the grass and then over the walkway. Finally, he turned on the sprinklers for a 20 minute cycle. He then carried the blood meal bag and bagged shotgun back to the garage. There, he slid the well-coated pistol and the remaining napkins into the bag — and tied the bag shut. He then rinsed his hands under the hose bib.

Bill then put the bag with the guns into another plastic bag — using the new bag as a glove. Any trace evidence of the evening’s goings-on at his front porch would be quickly diluted in a veritable ocean of cow blood and floor cleaner. The Mexican’s weapons would be slipped from their bag and dumped with a “clank” down some distant storm drain.

He rolled the garage doors to the side, placed the double plastic bags on the back seat and backed the Hummer out and down the driveway. He paused for a second — to make certain the Mexicans knew which house the Hummer had come from — and then headed around the corner — right past the Mexican low-rider — and south toward the business district.

Bill hadn’t driven south for more than twenty seconds before a pair of headlights came on a quarter mile behind him. Then another set came on.

“Oh, damn, I’m sure getting sloppy! Two cars! I’m glad it’s only Mexicans who wanna kill me!”

Bill hadn’t seen the other car on the TV monitor — it had been parked farther up the street. These bastards had been planning on a full blown a home invasion!

He picked up speed. The sound of the Hummer’s engine was more like that of a cement truck than a car. It had been a long time since he felt this way. The adrenaline rush was great. Whatever happened next — it was gonna be fun — and certainly not a fair fight for the Mexicans. It all made him grin.

The Mexicans were pacing him. Block, after block, after block the two cars trailed him — waiting for the street to clear of traffic or to build up their courage. Suddenly, the most distant Mexi-car pulled into the on-coming lanes and rocketed in front of him.

“A Honda Civic! What the do these guys think they’re doin? A Honda Civic? A lime green Honda Civic?”

All Bill could do was chuckle. The Honda Civic DX looks something like a pregnant horseshoe crab and it was the vehicle of choice for many of California’s Asian and Chicano street gangs. It would often be customized with extra wide, small diameter tires — this was perceived as sexy by certain small minds — even though the vehicle was then so low to the ground that just turning off a street and up a driveway could rip off the exhaust system.

The Civic pulled back into Bill’s lane and skidded sideways to a stop. Oriental-ish looking Mexican heads popped out of the Civic’s windows and started making gang signs. The driver turned on his under-car blue florescent lighting. Two blue-tinted florescent tubes pulsed to the bass of the car’s sound system. It’s amazing what you can buy at Pep Boys.

One of the passengers stuck a big black single-shot Thompson Contender handgun out the window and brought the sights into alignment with Bill’s head. This pistol had been a fad in the 1970’s and were designed to accept any of a dozen different barrels and cartridge types — a quick barrel change is all that’s needed. This one had been stolen — probably from some 60 year old gun buff — with a .44 magnum barrel attached. Mr. Mexico had stolen three rounds to go with it.

There was a flash and a loud slap as a .44 caliber slug spattered against the Hummer’s bumper. The Mexican had jerked the trigger and missed — big time.

Bill pushed the gas pedal to the floor. A Hummer is little more than a locomotive on rubber wheels and Bill’s was equipped with a Mexi-plow of solid steel.

The Mexican fumbled with the pistol — he was trying to snap it open and remove the fired brass casing and slam in a fresh one but all he could do was look down at the pistol and then up at the oncoming Hummer.

The Hummer and the Civic collided at Fourth and Maple streets — in an older business district about a mile south of Bill’s house and a mile north of downtown San Diego.

The Civic crumpled like a cheap Chinese toy and skidded sideways sixty feet. The four occupants were driven against the car’s far wall and crushed. Pink hi-octane dribbled from its crumpled gas tank.

Bill calmly turned off the Hummer’s lights and selected reverse on the transmission. He adjusted the rear view mirror to get his second target fully into view. He braced his head against the headrest and slammed the gas pedal to the floor — backing the Hummer straight into the oncoming Mexican low-rider at thirty miles an hour.

There was no time for the Mexicans to react. The Hummer slammed into a 1972 Chevy Impala loaded with three Mexicans — one with a crushed right arm and another who seemed to be very busy gurgling foamed blood all over the Chevy’s back seat.

The Chevy had been built before the days of high priced gas. It had been built of sheet steel not flimsy plastic. This time there was a thunderous collision that echoed up and down the street. Lights came on in homes seven blocks away.

Bill pushed the transmission into low and drove forward — away from the steaming Mexican Impala-mess. He then backed around the Impala, put the Hummer in compound low, hit the tire pressure release — dropping the Hummer’s tire pressure to 15 psi — and then pushed the Impala into the dribbling remains of the Civic.

The “accident scene” now complete, he backed far up the street and turned on his headlamps. He even flicked on his high beams to survey the area. The skid marks were all from the Mexican’s vehicles. The shapes of the crumpled cars actually fit together — in a drunken sort of way.

Bill looked around quickly — no witnesses yet. He could now play Good Samaritan. He pulled his road emergency kit out from under the seat and removed four road flares.

He tossed the first flare out his window and onto the street — far to the rear of the “accident” — and then carefully dropped the flare’s end-cap into the emergency kit on the seat. The next flare he tossed closer and the next even closer — saving the end-caps. Then Bill drove forward — toward the wrecks — picked all of the flare end-caps out of the kit box and tossed them onto the steaming Mexi-metal. End-caps had fingerprints.

A puddle of gasoline was slowly expanding and now even pooling against the curb.

Bill could see headlights moving in the distance.

He hopped from the car and ripped the rubber coatings off the Hummer’s front and rear bumpers and tossed the thin odd-shaped black sheets on top of the wrecked cars. He then removed the plastic bags from the back seat and — holding onto the outer bag — tossed the inner bag and its contents onto the heap.

The last road hazard flare was popped to life and tossed — with its end-cap — right into wreckage.


The flames swirled just above the tops of the wrecked cars. As the wreckage heated, the flames would climb higher and higher. They might even set the tops of nearby palm trees aflame before the fire department arrived. The nearest fire station was more than a mile away — and operated by an all-female crew.

Bill killed all the Hummer’s lights, turned mid-block down an alley, drove to the next street and then turned on his lights and calmly drove to the store.