[By this point I had given up the drug angle entirely — no Barrera, no Jimez, no Jill. This is getting closer to the final version, a scene immediately proceeding Chapter 1. And not nearly so long, especially after cutting here.]
Robert Bohnert pushed through the second set of doors and was halfway across the bank lobby to Claude Rankin’s office when the old security guard realized something was up. The sudden movement of the guard leaping from his chair caused the two women tellers and the elderly Mrs. Langston depositing a three-dollar rebate check to turn and look.
Before Robert reached Claude office, or the guard convinced himself that this was truly serious business, everyone’s attention was drawn back to the entrance where Robert’s wife Tricia burst in, limp-stomping after him in one spike-heeled shoe, the other clutched in her fist like a hammer. Her lips were drawn back in a snarl, hair coming undone, eyes feverish and streaked with mascara. Her belted dress shifted on the unbalanced bias of her hips as she limp-swung across the lobby, one high-heel pinging on the tiles.
Before the tellers and old Mrs. Langston could comprehend what was taking place, and before the guard convinced himself he was going to have to earn his bread this day, Robert reached Claude’s office and slammed the door back so hard the glass broke and fell out. Claude, a big man in his forties who had given up bull riding only two years before, rose straight up from his cushy chair. He grabbed the trophy on his desk — a rider atop a twisting Brahma bull atop a marble pedestal — but Robert soared over the desk, carrying both Claude and his trophy backward, taking down the Texas and U.S. flags and their respective poles before a wall-sized map of Nolan County, Texas, on the wall behind.
Tricia hovered over the two men, shoe poised for opportunity. The old guard danced a poorly choreographed jig on the other side, his trembling gun pointed at the ceiling, Robert and Claude between them, too entangled in the flags to do each other much harm.
By now both tellers were desperately pushing alarm buttons and dialing 911.
The elderly Mrs. Langston regained her wits. A surge of exhilaration flooded her as she realized a spectacular event was taking place right before her eyes — she would be the center of attention at the Hardwater, Texas, Senior Citizens Recreation Center for weeks to come.
Robert and Claude disentangled themselves from the flags, holding each other in mutual chokeholds. Both were bloodied, huffing for breath, awkwardly trying to protect themselves while slugging the other at close range. Tricia dipped and popped Robert on the head with her shoe. The guard considered shooting his pistol into the ceiling, but reconsidered as they might hold him liable for damages.
Three policemen charged into the office, two with guns drawn. The third hooked his baton around Robert’s neck from behind and hauled him backward off of Claude while the second cop twisted his hands up behind and snapped handcuffs on his wrists.
Claude Rankin got to his feet and tried to charge Robert, but the third cop and the old guard held him in check. “We’ll handle it, Mr. Rankin,” the third cop said, breathless.
The second cop jerked Robert to his feet.
Tricia, eyes flashing, spit trailing from bared teeth, leaped in and slammed Robert in the jaw with the shoe before the cops could stop her. The first cop grabbed her by the arm and hustled her out into the lobby. She stopped fighting, sagged against one of the marble pillars, and began to cry.
The second cop dragged Robert out of Claude’s office into the lobby. Robert, hands cuffed behind, jerked free of the cop and kicked him in the groin. The cop folded and went down with a sharp suck of air. Robert spun around just as Claude charged him, swinging the bull-riding trophy in both hands. Robert ducked, but too late. An explosion of light flared and blinded him. “My God, you’re gonna kill him!” he heard the old guard shout, his voice going metallic into the distance as Robert pitched backward, the sudden ringing in his ears lost in an onrush of darkness.
[I like the somewhat humorous undertone contrasting with the violent action. But the original went on much too long, including exchanges with the doctor in the state hospital, a visit from Robert’s parents, etc. I like this in its present edited form. However, this piece is written from an omniscient point of view, whereas the rest of the novel is in each individual’s POV. I do like it though. At least at the moment. That said, sometimes gremlins come in the night, and change all the work you did the day before to something else! These books, they’re never done.]