He motioned her forward. The short distance across the front room seemed like something seen when looking through the wrong end of a telescope. It stretched in front of her and narrowed as she approached.
He pointed the gun at her face, “Sit!”
She pulled out a chair, sat, and asked, “Why are you doing this, Richard?”
His laughter seemed out of focus like it was coming from somewhere else. “I want you here to tell them I’m not crazy.”
She hesitated, looking for the right words, and he screamed, “Tell them!”
“Richard, no one ever said you were crazy, we’ve talked about that many times. Now you tell me why we’re here sitting at this table, and you’re standing there with a gun threatening us. What kind of behavior would you call that?”
Richard looked at her for a minute, reached behind himself, picked up a butter knife from the counter, and spread peanut butter on a Ritz cracker holding the knife in the same hand with the gun. He slid the cracker down the length of the table to her as though he was bowling. She said, “Thank you, Richard. Who are your other guests?”
The man on the left answered the question and said, “I’m Chief Reynolds, and that’s Detective Tom Gaccione.” Gaccione nodded but didn’t say anything.
Suddenly Richard screamed, “Shit!” and threw the empty jar which shattered against the stove.
“Richard, stop that!” She spoke sternly, needing to get control. “Stop that right now!” He thought she sounded like his mother and began to calm.
“I’m sorry,” he said and lowered the gun. “I have another jar in the pantry.” He turned and moved a few steps into the pantry.
The Chief looked at her and silently mouthed, Get…ready…to …run.
Richard returned from the pantry with the jar, the knife, and the gun. Suddenly the room exploded as the Chief dove for the gun hand, the detective drove his body into Richard’s gut, and she ran for the door. She didn’t stop running until she was across the road and hiding behind a police car.
The female cop put an arm around her shaking shoulders, hugged her, told her how brave she was, and gave her tissues for her tears.
Over the next few months, she spent many hours counseling Richard and seemed to be getting results. He told her his fears. He told her his dreams. She typed copious notes into her tablet as she listened intently.
It was not enough. Richard found another gun.