Floyd goes over the details, filling in the part where he gets to do the hiring. He tells Russ that he wants him to be the number two man at the store and help him with the design and the security. Russ is hesitant, not wanting to work for his long time friend but also interested in the challenge and being in on the ground floor of a new venture. Floyd reminds Russ that it will be an open carry position and that sells Russ.
Floyd talks to Tony about his ideas and Tony agrees that they are reasonable and sound and Floyd starts working at the pawnshop, learning the rules, regulations and laws governing the buying and selling of used goods and in particular those concerning firearms. He disagrees personally with some of the rules but realizes that the long nose of the government is always looking over the shoulder of everyone and Tony is the final decision maker in store related activities.
A few weeks later construction starts on the new strip center and Russ starts his apprenticeship at the pawnshop while Floyd sidewalk superintends the progress being made on Tony’s property. As the construction seemingly slows towards the end a meeting is held with Tony, Russ and Floyd. Floyd outlines his plan for security.
“Initially there will be 6 store fronts, my idea is to put a security monitoring system in all the stores, a system that each store monitors the others, with a color code. For example, the gun store will be blue, if there is a problem with us, we push the button, the other 5 stores are alerted and call 911 and go into lockdown themselves. The liquor store may be red, if they have a problem they push the button and the rest of us are alerted, ready to do what we can. How’s that sound?”
Russ seems to like the idea, watching each other’s back. Tony is hesitant but when Floyd tells him the pawnshop will also be included he signs off on the idea and gives Floyd the go ahead to work out the details with the security company.
Floyd explains his ideas for internal security with the guns being around the walls and locked with both a trigger lock and chained together, requiring employee assistance. General merchandise will be displayed on the floor level. In addition the open carry will hopefully act as a deterrent.
Finally, the Grand Opening Day arrives, with a lot of advertising hoopla. There are a fair number of shoppers waiting for the ribbon to be cut and two police cars to direct traffic. As it turns out the police are unnecessary as crowd control isn’t a problem, parking is plentiful and folks are well behaved. The shooters and hunters are a happy crowd and it’s early so everyone is still sober. Old friends are shaking hands, retelling hunting stories and happy that they have a new place to shop. The day passes quickly and sales are being made. The technology is working, Tony is smiling as he greets customers, many that were not pawnshop people and he is enjoying hearing the compliments.
There had been rumors of protests by some groups but only rumors, nothing ever materialized.
The next day the mayor came in to pay her customary welcome to a new business. As she walked in, Floyd said, “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Magical Millie, the Magnificent Miracle Maker Mayor! What brings you into our little retail establishment?”
Mayor Millie looked at Floyd. “Well, Floyd, I see you got your lazy ass away from the kitchen table and decided to do something productive for a change.” With that, they both laughed and hugged one another. “You know, Floyd, you are still the same guy from high school, a little fatter, it’s true, but still full of BS. Actually, I’m here on personal business. As you probably know, I’m not running again for mayor. I need more time in my own life. I want to buy a handgun and learn to shoot, for fun and just in case, you know. With you here and the store, I’m hoping for some advice and maybe some shooting lessons, if you ever have the time.”
“Well, you’re in luck, Ms Mayor, we’ll take a look at the handguns and by the weekend we can go out to Grandpa’s farm and see how well you can shoot. Deal?”
Mayor Millie and Floyd found something they both thought would work, did the paperwork and Floyd told Millie to come back on Saturday and everything should be ready. As the mayor left she hollered over her shoulder, “I take back what I said about you being a little fatter, you’re actually a lot fatter,” and with that she ran out of the door.
Russ came in to work and Floyd told him the Millie story, they each told the other their own high school Millie story (that they already knew) but the years have a way of tempering life.
The weekend came and Floyd and Millie the Mayor went to the farm, Millie was a good student and afterwards Millie told Floyd she would need additional help and Floyd agreed. They decided more practice was in order and would try for the following weekend.
Things seemed to work well, the gun store was moving the merchandise, Tony was sending over more guns from his stock, people were bringing in guns to sell.
Both Floyd and Russ had learned the paper trail, new gun orders hadn’t started flowing yet but promises were made and everything was going reasonably smoothly.
Floyd looked forward to weekends, giving Millie her lessons and a little alone time with her. The work schedule had cut down on doughnut consumption and he was losing a little weight, enough that Millie had noticed and made a joking comment about his pants falling off.
Saturday morning, early and quiet in the gun store when the alarm system started flashing, a problem at the liquor store three stores away! Quickly, Floyd headed out the door, pulling his Smith out of the holster as he ran to see what the problem was. He looked through the window, “SHIT!”, a robbery in progress, reacting without thinking, he ran into the liquor store, ordered the perp to get his hands up and out of his pockets.
The police sirens could be heard, the alarm system had worked as it was intended. Two police cars stopped in the parking lot, four officers got out, guns drawn.
Floyd marched the would-be robber out with his hands up.
“Drop your gun! Drop your gun! Hands up!” Shouts coming from everywhere.
Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! “Drop the gun, Asshole!”
Floyd crumpled to the ground, blood pouring out.
The robber said, “Goddamn, I’m glad you guys got here in time, he was taking me hostage.” He ran to the car where his associate was waiting and left, while the police were on their radios calling for an ambulance.
Just then the mayor showed up for her weekly lesson and ran through the gathering crowd. She saw the body, “Oh my god, you’ve killed my Floyd!”