The dude looked suspicious. Brent knew that much. Dark hoodie, shifty gaze, hands in pockets (probably fingering some sort of weapon). All flags were full mast, red clear to see against the blue sky of Brent’s mind. This dude, whoever he was, planned to rob the pharmacy.

Someone had to do something. Protect the people waiting in line with him, protect the workers, and protect the hard-earned money of the drug store. Brent knew it was only a CVS, and they probably had insurance, but that wasn’t the point, was it? The point was that this dude had bad intentions, and Brent knew that he could stop him.

How? Well, that part was easy. Defense was all about the element of surprise. This dude wouldn’t expect anyone to stand up to him—especially if he had a gun. That would be surprising in and of itself. But maybe this dude was nervous and would be quick on the trigger. Bum rushing him would be too risky. If his aim was poor he might hit someone waiting in line with Brent. No, Brent would need a distraction.

So, here’s how it would go:

First, when this dude made his move, Brent would throw a bunch of (he had to look at the display case next to him to be sure) pregnancy tests at him. Then, when this dude was reeling from that, Brent would go straight at him (shortest distance between two points being a straight line and all) and tackle his ass. Now, if this dude recovered from Brent’s distraction too quick, Brent would still need to get out of the way of his gun. Ducking down, doing a zig-zag, should get him close enough to push the dude’s arm up toward the ceiling and connect with an uppercut. Then he’d disarm him. Break his fucking arm if he had to.

The dude glanced at Brent. Must’ve noticed Brent’s iron glare on him. Brent didn’t break eye contact. Only nodded. Practically dared the dude to do something stupid. Give Brent an excuse to fuck him up. Dude turned back around to watch the pharmacist. Intimidated.

The line moved forward. Brent had to take stock of his surroundings again now that the pregnancy tests were out of reach. He was in the middle of the aisle now, not near anything he could easily grab and throw. Brent reached into his pocket, searching for anything that he could use as a distraction. Just his phone. Well, Brent supposed that was the price of being a hero.

The shifty dude stepped forward to the pharmacist’s window. The dude beckoned for the pharmacist to lean in toward him. The pharmacist did and the dude slipped her a note. She read it and her face went sallow. The dude patted his hoodie pocket. The pharmacist nodded and turned back into the pharmacy.

Holy shit. This was it. Dude was smart, though, and trying to avoid making a scene in case there were any potential heroes here today. Too bad he hadn’t counted on fucking Brent being there.

The pharmacist was coming back, carrying a large paper bag. Brent supposed it was full of money, or perhaps drugs that this dude would then sell on the street for a sick profit. Fuck that shit. Brent wasn’t going to let it happen.

He sidestepped to his left, keeping an eye on the dude at the counter as he did so. When the dude reached toward the cashier for the bag, Brent made his move.

Rushing at the dude, guttural scream and everything, Brent bent low to tackle the dude around his waist. Those years of high school football might finally pay off. He launched himself from a few feet away, being sure to choose just the right moment for maximum impact. That would end this skirmish quick.

But the dude sidestepped him. Brent clipped the dude’s right thigh with his shoulder, but otherwise whiffed completely. He landed face first on the floor next to the dude.

Scrambling to get up, Brent spun around, hoping that he got enough of this dude to have thrown him off balance so that Brent could reset and finish the fight.

Instead, Brent spun around and found himself with a gun in his face. The last thing Brent ever saw was a muzzle flash. The second to last thing he ever saw was that dude’s smirk.

The dude grabbed his bag of drugs and ran from the CVS. He was never found.