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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Lazy Susan

NANCY PIGKARD

‘I want you to teach me how to shoot a gun,’ Susan Carpenter said to her husband at breakfast.

‘You want me to do what?’

Stan Carpenter stopped eating and stared at her.

‘Take me to a shooting range.’ Susan piled two tomatoes and a fried egg on to her bread so that she could eat it like a sandwich.

It seemed to her a silly waste of effort to eat only one thing at a time.

Her husband’s amazement turned to delight. ‘I think that’s a wonderful idea.’ Ever since she’d been robbed the week before on a dark night in the parking-lot of the Mulberry Street Shopping Center, Stan had been telling her to learn how to protect herself, preferably with a gun. ‘But do you mean it?

You’ve always hated guns.’

‘Well, I guess you win, dear,’ said Susan, smiling.

‘We’ll go to the range tonight,’ Stan promised.

Susan had been more angry than scared when she was robbed.

The robber hadn’t hurt her much, just a little knock on the head with his gun. It hadn’t even broken the skin. But she was so angry about it!

‘Fifty dollars!’ she shouted at the nice policeman. ‘One minute I had fifty dollars in my purse and then I had nothing! I have to work hours to earn that much money, and he takes it just like that! Fifty hard-earned dollars!’

She was right, of course, except about the ‘hard-earned’ part.

Oh, she went to the sales office where she worked each day, and she smiled at the customers, and her bosses liked her — most people liked her, they couldn’t help it. But there was more of her work that didn’t get done than did. ‘Oh, well,’ she was always saying, ‘you know me . . . Lazy Susan.’

‘How does it feel?’ said Stan.

‘It feels OK,’ said Susan. Actually, the little gun was surprisingly pleasant to hold. She lifted it and aimed it as Stan had instructed her, felt angry all over again at the thought of the robbery, and pulled the trigger.

‘That’s very good!’ Stan shouted.

She’d never heard him shout before, but it was the only way of communicating at the Target Shooting Range. She wanted to point the gun at her mouth and blow the smoke away like John Wayne, but she didn’t.

‘Good evening, ladies.’ The expert in self-defense stood beside a screen, and began by saying, ‘The victim of a mugging usually looks like this . . .’ A colored picture appeared on the screen. It was of a little old lady who was carrying a shopping bag in one hand and a purse in the other. ‘She’ll make it easy for the mugger to grab, push and run. He won’t usually choose a victim who looks as if she might fight back.’

Another picture appeared on the screen — a younger woman, who looked strong, and whose hands were empty.

‘If you want to avoid being mugged, walk confidently! Keep your head up. Pull your shoulders back. Let your arms swing, and don’t carry a lot of packages. Carry your handbag under your arm, or hold it tightly with both hands. Look as if you know where you’re going, even if you don’t. Make that mugger think you’re tough! Any questions?’

‘Is there any way to recognize a mugger?’ asked Susan.

‘Sure.’ The instructor smiled. ‘He’s the one in the dark clothes, hiding in the bushes.’

Everyone but Susan laughed.

This was the third evening she had come. The first evening they had learned to scream loudly and to run fast. The second evening they had learned how keys and nail scissors could be used as weapons. Now they had learned ‘Who Is A Likely Mugging Victim?’

All the ladies who went home later held their heads high and didn’t walk near any bushes.

Stan was amazed at how strong and confident Susan seemed after only three weeks of self-defense training. ‘I’ve never seen you work so hard at anything,’ he said.

‘Well, some things are worth working hard at,’ she said. ‘And I’m still angry about being robbed!’

The shops were closed when the last movie-goers came out into the large, dark, Mulberry Street Shopping Center parking-lot.

It had been a Superman film. After two and a half hours of watching him bend iron and jump over tall buildings, Susan felt ready for anything.

Stan would not have approved of her going to the movies alone, of course, especially not back to the ‘scene of the crime’.

But he was away, and now she knew a thing or two about looking after herself.

A dark group of bushes stood between her and her car. She walked confidently through them, then turned and bent down a little to look carefully behind her.

She saw the man before He noticed her.

Everything she had learned about self-defense went through her mind: she examined his walk, the look on his shadowed face, and the object in his hands. She thought of those hours she’d had to work to earn fifty dollars, and of the man who had stolen it from her so easily. She took from her pocket the little gun that Stan had taught her to use. Then, just as the man stepped past the bushes, she jumped behind him so he couldn’t see her.

She put the gun against his head.

‘I don’t want to hurt you,’ Susan said in her confident new voice, which sounded lower than normal. ‘I just want your money.’

The little old man dropped his shopping bag beside one leg of Susan’s trousers.

‘There’s been another mugging at the shopping center!’ Stan folded back the local newspaper. The edges touched his fried egg. ‘That just proves what I’ve said. You should never go there alone at night. You won’t, will you, Susan?’

‘You’re getting egg on your trousers, dear.’

‘What? Oh! It’s all over the floor, too.’

‘Don’t worry about it,’ said Susan. ‘I’ll clean it up. I have lots of extra time now.’

Stan smiled a little nervously. He was glad she had stopped doing that low-paying job at the sales office, but he was afraid his lovely but lazy Susan might not try very hard to find another job. ‘You’ll have time to train for something better,’ he said, hopefully. ‘I’m sure you can find an easier way to make money.’

Lazily, Susan stirred her coffee.

‘Yes, dear.’ She smiled. ‘I probably can.’

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