From last time ...
Sarah looked out the window. It was dark. She could see her reflection in the window.
Don't worry, Sarah. You'll get him. You WILL get him. No matter HOW hot it gets.
And now ...
"Jesus, Mackey. Couldn't we find some place in the shade? It's hot out here."
"Just concentrate on what you're doing. You have five more targets and then you're done. And it's just as hot for me as it is for you, you know."
"Yeah, I know. It's just that you're out here ALL THE TIME. I'm home in Frisco for 11 months out of the year. I'm not used to this heat like you are. It seems the older I get, the harder this gets to do."
"Old? You're not old. Now me? I'm old. Almost 50. Been home from the war almost 15 years. But I'm still in shape - unlike someone we won't mention."
"Yes, yes, I know. I try, Mackey. But Christ, I can barely get out of the house to go to the store, much less go for a run or spend time in a gym. Jerry's away at school and there's no one who can watch Mom, most of the time, but me. And the last time I was gone for more than 10 minutes it took me an hour to find her after I got back. So yeah, I'm a little out of shape."
"So why don't you buy some gym equipment for the house? Just some simple stuff to keep you toned - and to help you keep your wind. God help you if we ever have to get up and move out in a hurry."
"Yeah, like two years ago ... that was close."
"Ah ... they knew we were coming. That won't happen again. Two Feathers' group is much smaller now - he keeps a closer eye on them. Next time one of his group is compromised we'll know - we won't walk into any more ambushes. Still, it's a lucky thing you had the Skorpion - that saved our ass."
"Yeah, handy little beast, ain't it? Jake knew. He knew what could happen - what MIGHT happen - and he made sure I had what I needed. I miss that man ...."
"I do too, Sarah. But, hey! That weapon isn't the only backup piece he gave you, you know? What about me?"
"Yeah, he did that, too. I wonder if he knew what was going to happen to him ... but anyway, you're right. I need to get some stuff for the house so I can stay in better shape - because this stuff? This stuff is kicking my ass."
Sarah rolled onto her stomach and positioned herself behind her rifle. She waited for almost a minute before she picked her head up and twisted around to look at Mackey.
"What are you waiting for? C'mon. It's hot out here."
"Oh. Sorry. I was thinking about Jake."
Mackey turned to the control panel that held the switches that controlled the targets.
He flipped a switch and the put his eye to his spotting scope.
"Okay ... 350 yards ... one click of wind from the left. Take it a hair under the center - in this light air, the bullet will stay up longer ... ready ... shoot."
Sarah squeezed off a round, the echo bouncing off the hills to the North.
"Perfect, Sarah. Dead center."
Mackey flipped the switch and the target disappeared. He hit another, and another target came up.
"What the fuck? What is that, Mackey?"
"It's a cutout of a man. Giamatti. Your 400, 450, and 500 yard targets are all Giamatti. So you get used to targeting him."
"That isn't even necessary. I see Giamatti every time I get down behind this weapon. Every guy I've taken out has been a 'Giamatti', to me. I've shot him over and over again. No, you don't need to get me used to aiming at him. I've been doing it all along."
"Okay, fine. Still, you'll notice the target is smaller in size and uneven in form. It's going to be harder to hit. I want you to get used to seeing the smaller target. And for this exercise, I want you to take off the scope. All of your 400, 450 and 500's are going to be open sights from now on. That way, when the time comes for 'The Shot', and you have him in the scope, he's going to look like the Jolly Green Giant."
"If he did, I'd probably shoot him in the fig leaf. Just because I could."
"I bet you would."