Jason rolled across the aisle and slammed into Analiese with enough force to knock her into the rack of birthday cards they were hiding behind. Bullets raked across the upturned table he had just abandoned.
“Ouch. Damn it,” Analiese shouted.
“Sorry,” Jason responded. “It’s hard to gauge velocity when you’re diving out of the way of machine gun fire.”
“How many were there?”
“I didn’t really get a good look, with all the diving and what-not.”
Analiese pulled a voice recorder out of her pocket, punched the red button and dropped it back. “Sarcastic even under pressure, got it.”
Jason smirked at her. “Is this the best time to continue our interview?” he asked.
“No time like the present,” she responded before diving back across the open aisle toward the row of wine bottles. She grabbed a bottle of merlot from the bottom shelf and lobbed it blindly in the general direction of the gunfire. “So, is this just another day in the life of Jason Hunt?” she called as she chunked a large cabernet sauvignon backwards over her head.
“Pretty much!” Jason yelled back as he dove across the aisle to join her. His shoulder smashed into the middle shelf, sending a row of cheap red blends crashing to the floor.
“You’re pretty bad at the ducking and diving thing, huh?”
“I am amazing at ducking and diving. It’s the trying to protect you that’s throwing off my game.”
Analiese gave Jason a patronizing half-smile, stood up, and fearlessly sent a bottle of moscato toward their attackers. As she dropped back down, Jason heard a cry as it connected. “I call bullshit,” she answered. “So how many of your visits to CVS involve bullet bottle brawls?”
“I mean, fewer than all, more than none.” He picked out two bottles of brut with particularly sturdy heels. “Nice alliteration.”
“The rest of your life better be just as exciting,” she quipped, “Cover me!”
Jason rolled to the opposite end of the row and popped up shouting, “Over here, cuz!” Analiese took the opportunity to dive across the aisle again, advancing toward their enemy one row at a time. She saw Jason throw the bottles as hard as he could and adeptly take out a spinning rack of plush toys and a display of cherry cordial candies.
“You suck at that too!” she called as Jason hit the floor below another blast of bullets. She heard a muffled groan.
“Sports aren’t really my thing!” he called back.
“What IS your thing?”
“About eight inches!”
Analiese rolled her eyes. “I can hear you smirking.” She got no response. “And who says ‘cuz?’ Who are you? Warden Gentles?”
His response came from directly behind her. “I didn’t say ‘cuz,’ I said ‘cousins.'”
She whirled around. “Where the hell did you come from?”
“I’m really good at coming in from behind,” he replied with his patented smirk. “And I said “cousins” because they’re my cousins.”
Analiese looked stunned. “Like, your actual cousins? As in, your blood relatives are trying to kill us right now?”
He shrugged. “Our family dynamic is…complicated. And they’re probably not trying to kill us. Maim, lacerate, cripple, but not kill. My grandmother would never allow it.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“You wanted to know about me, right? Well, sometimes my family and I don’t get along. Also, I tend to drink a lot of coffee.” He darted away from the aisle and peeked around the opposite side of the row.
“I’m glad we’ve got the basics out of the way. Anything else you’d like our readers to know?”
“Yeah,” he said with a grin as he backed away from the row, “I read way too many Clive Cussler novels.” With a scream of, “For the Oregon!” Jason ran and jumped into the row of feminine hygiene products they had ducked behind most recently. With a creak and a crash, the entire metal row cascaded into the next one and the next, sending half a drug store’s worth of products leap-frogging toward the cousins. Dust and silence descended around them.
As the air slowly cleared, Analiese heard a quiet click which caught her attention. She pulled the recorder out of her pocket. “Ah, what a shame,” she said. “That tape’s full. I guess we’ll have to continue this later.”