Written by Carter Pierce
Dmitri Molchalin had been flown to America when he was four years old, and immediately began his education. It was all thanks to his eccentric Uncle Barnabas, whom everyone called ‘Bonkers Barny.’ Barny was very old, had no family, and was quite rich. He was also quite lonely. He’d convinced Mr. and Mrs. Molchalin to allow him to give their youngest son a good American education, in return for nothing but the boy’s company.
It took much convincing, but Barny won in the end. Dmitri’s parents had come with him to America, and returned the next month after seeing him properly settled into his new estates. Barny had begun Dmitri’s education without further ado, hiring private tutors from all over the globe. Dmitri had learned quickly. By the age of nine he spoke fluent English without an accent, was conversant in French, German, Spanish, and Chinese. He was wonderful with figures.
In short, Dmitri was a boy genius. His parents would have been proud of him. But they never knew: Barny seldom responded to their letters, and when he did, he didn’t fully let on how well their boy was doing in school. Dmitri was allowed to add his own excerpts to the reply letters, but dared not brag about his own achievements. As far as he knew he was doing exactly what was required of him and no more. He had no peers to compare to.
When Dmitri turned thirteen, Uncle Barny sent him to an elite boarding school for boys, where he was to learn new subjects which had not been in his erstwhile curriculum. Science, social studies, anatomy, art, and music. He excelled in them all. His tutors were impressed. They recommended that Barny send him to college.
And Barny did.
Dmitri was sent to the most prestigious college in the country when he was sixteen.
Barny tried to convince him to become a lawyer. Most of his professors did as well.
But Dmitri had other ideas. He was interested in technology. He was fascinated by the way it worked. And he was brilliant. Everyone knew he’d get whatever job he wanted.
He chose a software company in Colorado. He started mopping floors. Then an offhand comment about the way a computer booted up impressed a co-worker, and the next week he was promoted to answering the phone. The managers quickly saw how much he knew, and how fast he learned.
He was promoted again.
By the time he was twenty he was working in the sales department, making good wages, great royalties, and astounding bonuses. He was sent on business trips. People liked him. They bought things from him.
And he was offered another promotion.
They wanted him to be a manager.
Dmitri loved working in sales. He couldn’t stand sitting behind a desk all day: answering the phone had taught him that. He liked seeing new places and talking to new people. So he stayed in sales and got a raise instead.
Uncle Barny encouraged him to get a gun. Wealthy men were often attacked by thugs looking for money. With Barny’s persuasive skills, it didn’t take long. Barny funded the weapon as well as the training and permit for concealed carry.
But Dmitri never fired it in self-defense: he was a peacemaker. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. But he liked waving the thing around. It gave him confidence, and it scared off the thugs that Barny had predicted.
All except one.
Guy Harmon hadn’t batted an eyelash.
So Dmitri fired the gun. Not at Harmon, but at the ground.
And the gunshot caught the attention of a middle-aged banker walking home from work late that night: a small-time banker who worked at the First Bank of Wyoming in Pinedale.
A banker whose name was Jack Raummi.
Copyright by Carter Pierce 2022 All Rights Reserved