“Congratulations, Mr. Grand! We heard of your success on the stock, the one you purchased a week ago and almost doubled today.” The security guard sneered and held the heavy glass door open for the investor banker.
Grand called over his shoulder “Thank you Roger. Remember, nothing is random. Everything happens for a reason.” He adjusted the lapels on his pricey suit and made his way down the dimly-lit alley to his Mercedes Benz. He heard a gunshot and dived and took refuge behind his car. He heard another shot fired.
“My brand-new car is being ruined with bullet holes.” The thought struck Grand as intolerable. Without thinking he stuck his head out and waved his arms in the air, “Don’t. Don’t shoot!”
Another shot pierced the darkness He looked at the dazzling shine of his recently detailed car and didn’t have the heart to use it as his shelter. Frantically he ran toward an approaching cab, ordering it to stop. The cab lurched to a screeching halt with a horrific squeak.
The cab driver stuck his head out the window, “Are you out of your freaking mind sir?” he screamed in a heavy Indian accent. Then he exited his cab leaving the door open and rushed toward the millionaire. They heard another shot. The taxi driver rushed to the front of the cab and took refuge with the rich stranger.
“Why the hell did you stop me? Don’t you see you are being shot at? Are you looking for a companion in death?” he raved.
“A maniac is shooting this way for no reason.” Grand almost screamed. “Take off your shirt,” he ordered.
“This is no time for hanky panky, sir! I don’t care about your weird sexual fantasies. We are in the middle of a crisis!”
“I need a white shirt right now, and I’m willing to pay you $100 for it.”
“Wonderful sir, I am flattered. How much will you pay for my pants? I’ve heard a lot about the rich people’s games.” The cabbie smiled knowingly.
“I am not interested in you, God damn it!” The banker peeled a $100 bill from his money clip as the driver tussled to remove his shirt.
“I am not planning to die tonight. At least not this way,” Mr. Grand declared.
The millionaire waved the white shirt in the air and shouted at the shooter, “What the hell do you want?”
A bullet pierced the white shirt and it flailed like a wounded bird. A voice echoed in the alley, “Nothing, sir. This is a random shooting; nothing personal.”
“Random shooting?” The banker shrieks. “This is not random. If you were driving and passed me by and shot me willy-nilly; that would qualify as random!”
The shirtless cabbie cautioned, “Sir! I don’t think it’s wise to argue with a man who has a gun and is shooting your way.”
Grand ignored the immigrant cabbie.
“What do you want? If you don’t have anything against me personally, let’s resolve the issue amicably. Would a crisp $100 bill be satisfactory?”
Grand snatched the money from the driver’s grip, threw his shirt back at him. “We have no deal.”
In response, the driver seized the corner of his coat. “My shirt had no bullet holes at the time of transaction. All sales are final. No refund. You took my shirt, now I’ll take your coat.”
“Are you out of your mind, an $800 cashmere coat for a lousy stinky shirt? Where did you get your business administration degree from; you damn foreigner.”
The two men were fighting over a coat when the shooter’s voice intervened, “What the hell is going on? We’re in the middle of a shoot-out and you two are fighting over a coat?”
The cabbie called back at the shooter, “It’s all this man’s fault. First he got me involved in a life and death crisis and now he’s ripping me off.” By now the cab driver had the cashmere coat halfway off Mr. Grand.
“Who are you?” The shooter inquired.
“Krishna Swami, at your service. I’m the best driver of the Sunshine Cab Company.”
Grand shrugged off the coat, emerged from the shelter of the cab, and shouted down the alley, “You shot more that ten times and missed me every single time. Do you know why? Because I am not supposed to die this way tonight.”
Mr. Grand then confidently walked to his car. As he approached the middle of the street, a truck suddenly turned into the dark alley and struck him.
Mr. Grand flung through the air and landed on the pavement; still clutching his hundred-dollar bill. Blood slid from the corner of his mouth. He barely opened his eyes for the last time gazing into the gentle eyes of Krishna sitting next to him.
The cab driver covered the millionaire with his cashmere coat.
“You were right, sir. This was not your kismet to die from those bullets tonight,” the driver said.
He then walks back to his cab and sat in and opened the passenger door. The shooter emerged from the darkness and sat in the passenger seat.
“It’s amazing how he knew he wasn’t going to die from my bullets,” the shooter remarked.
”Yes it was, not many people are lucky enough to know how they go. But he would have been alive if he wasn’t that lucky tonight!” Krishna says.
The cab with two men vanished into the black alley.