Zenda of the Marines

“Third time’s a charm, my…” Zenda let the thought fade as she pulled the door open to the local unemployment office.

In fact, it was her fourth venture to the office as she battled the bureaucracy to get an unemployment check. Zenda, a former Sergeant of the Marines, had recently left the Corps after eight-years and had hopes of using the money to pay for some long overdue downtime.

A few minutes later, Zenda stood in front of the man behind the counter, arguing the state’s policy on the receipt of unemployment and the man was having none of what the Black woman was saying. As Zenda became more frustrated, the louder her voice grew and soon everyone was looking in the direction where the argument was taking place.

Suddenly, she felt a hand grab her right above her right elbow. She look in that direction and found herself face to face with a short, balding man wearing a security officers uniform.

Fighting off the temptation to used the Hollywood cliché of ‘remove it or lose it,’ Zenda smiled and politely asked, “Will you please let go of my arm?”

“You need to leave,” the man responded, “now.”

At five-ten, she stood a good four inches taller than him, so Zenda looked him up and down, then tried to pull her arm from the man’s grip. Still he held her tight above the elbow.

Without warning, Zenda flung her arm back ward, then a quickly jerked it forward, swinging it in a wide arc that broke the security office’s handhold. As she tore herself free, she saw him grasp the butt of his 9mm with his right-hand  and begin to draw it from its holster.

In one swift move, she grabbed the man’s hand as the pistol cleared leather and swept both of his legs out from under him. As his legs rose to the level of the counter top, she twisted the firearm from his hand, and he dropped with a heavy thud to the poorly carpeted floor.

Immediately, she popped the clip from the pistol, flicked the eight bullets from it and tossed the now empty magazine behind herself, then cranked the slider back causing the single copper-colored bullet to eject from the weapon. Then showing a certain deftness, she caught the bullet as it jumped from the gun.

Not missing a beat, she yanked on the receiver, pulling it from the frame of the Beretta. Zenda casually tossed it in front of where she was standing, then dropped the rest of the gun on the floor, kicking it off to the side.

“The next time you touch me or threaten me with a firearm, you better come with back up,” she instructed the man as he continued to lay on the floor.

Then with the remaining bullet, holding it between her thumb and middle-finger, Zenda snapped the unfired projectile at the man much like a soda bottle cap or a penny, where it bounced painfully off of his forehead. Finally, with her head held high and back straight, she walked out of the office.

Within an hour, Zenda was in jail, charged with assaulting the security officer, disturbing the peace, and unable to post bail. Her unemployment check arrived the following day.


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