This is a deleted scene from The Infinite Knowledge of J. T. Badgley. I removed it because it’s a thought tangent that does absolutely nothing to advance the plot—but I’m still fond of it, so here it is. It happens on page 141, when Jake is trying to sneak back into the Kremlin.
Pressing myself against the wall, I felt a rush of adrenaline as I realized I was finally acting stealthy for real reasons, rather than in a laser tag arena. I always used to imagine scenarios where I could be the badass hero—one who had incredible aim with a pistol, a rifle, a bow and arrow, a laser gun, throwing stars, and anything else requiring aim.
I would hear the racket of a break-in at my house; maybe a scream from my future babe of a wife. In the bedroom I would pull out my semi-automatic rifle. Normally, I would use it for hunting grizzly bears and mountain lions and other enormous, dangerous animals. But not today.
Emerging from my room, I would press myself against the wall of the hallway. The thug would be trying to steal everything within reach: my wife’s collection of crystals, my own collection of signed baseball memorabilia, our top-of-the-line home theatre system, and maybe my wife’s nine-carat diamond ring.
Wasting no time, I would jump around the corner—but he would be fast. He would snatch up a knife in the kitchen to use as a weapon. There would probably be a flash of lightning just then, illuminating the sharp blade in his hand. Unfazed, I would walk confidently forward, hitching the rifle up to my shoulder and pointing it at the criminal.
“Put the weapon down,” I would say darkly. Then I would spit.
He would sneer at me.
“I have a ninety percent hit rate from forty feet back,” I would say in a deep, rumbling voice reserved for cowboys, “and I’ve got eight bullets in here and you’re ten feet away. Can you do math?”
The math is actually really complicated, but the point was that he’d feel stupid. Then he would run.
I could yell, “Get down!” but he wouldn’t obey, so I would sling my rifle over my shoulder and follow him out the front door at a run. I’d jump on him and pull him down in a flawless ambush, and he would cry out as he hit the pavement. My hot wife would be calling the police from the house and I’d put my foot into the thug’s back, jutting the barrel of my gun into his neck.
“Don’t move,” would be the last thing I’d say to him before justice took over.
Presently, however, I had no gun or any other weapon, and I was the one doing the breaking and entering.