The glass reflected the world at that moment: the spitting rain that was just starting, a yellow cab cruising by, a woman in a green coat stopping to unfold a pink umbrella dotted with tiny white daisies, a man in low-slung tweed pants and suspenders furiously smoking the the shortened stub of a last cigarette before giving up the habit for the fifth time, the silver body of a full plane about to land at Thurgood Marshall, and the dull stone edifices of the refurbished nineteenth century local architecture. And all that broke and replicated into duplicate images, muddled umbrellas with cigarettes, planes with cabs, daisies with bricks, green with tweed, as the bullet pulsed through the glass, a crack soliton breaking reflected reality, ripping through the stale air, leaving curls of dust and reheated glass particles, on a trajectory straight to a man's temple as he sat sipping coffee and reading a copy of yesterday's newspaper.
And that man was Rikard Albrecktson. A father of three, though his children slept in Stockholm, out of sight and unloved. A son of a broken marriage. A brother to an institutionalized man who rocked and stared often at the sun in silence, sweating. The second undersecretary to the Swedish Ambassador in Washington. A man who genuinely preferred Splenda to sugar and who washed his hands with only cold water.
The skin of his temple dimpled inward then burned and broke; the bone underneath spidered then fractured and the bullet, deforming slightly, slid into Rikard's brain like a ballplayer sliding into home. Rickard fell backward and out of his chair. His coffee stained the entire front of his shirt. Chairs scuffed against the floor as the other patrons rose, shocked, some screaming.
Outside the coffee shop, past the man in tweed and the woman in green and on the other side yet of the cab were two men holding one gun, who were wrestling for it but now stood mutually frozen, staring at the empty window hole and the scene beyond. As the screaming subsided, one let go of the gun and ran in the opposite direction, towards his filthy apartment and the hoard of old magazines within. The other man lowered his hands and backed himself up against the brick wall of the building behind him. He removed the bullets from the gun and placed the gun on the ground and the bullets in his pocket and then hung his head with his arms lank and his empty palms facing out and tilting slightly upward.