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One Door From Heaven

One Door From Heaven

Titel: One Door From Heaven
Autoren: Dean Koontz
the car through the driver's door, looked across the roof, and confronted a man mountain with a shaved head and a nose ring. The Chevy stood in an open space midway between massive Indian laurels, and though it wasn't shaded by the trees, it was sixty or eighty feet from the nearest streetlamp and thus in gloom; however, the glow of the Chevy's interior lights allowed Noah to see the window-basher. The guy grinned and winked.
        Movement to Noah's left drew his attention. A few feet away, another demolition expert swung a sledgehammer at a headlight.
        This steroid-inflated gentleman wore sneakers, pink workout pants with a drawstring waist, and a black T-shirt. The impressive mass of bone in his brow surely weighed more than the five-pound sledge that he swung, and his upper lip was nearly as long as his ponytail.
        Even as the last of the cracked plastic and the shattered glass from the headlamp rang and rattled against the pavement, the human Good & Plenty slammed the hammer against the hood of the car.
        Simultaneously, the guy with the polished head and the decorated nostril used the Iug-wrench end of the tire iron to break out the rear window on the passenger's side, perhaps because he'd been offended by his reflection.
        The noise grew hellish. Prone to headaches these days, Noah wanted nothing more than quiet and a pair of aspirin.
        "Excuse me," he said to the bargain-basement Thor as the hammer arced high over the hood again, and he leaned into the car through the open door to pluck the key from the ignition.
        His house key was on the same ring. When he finally got home, by whatever means, he didn't want to discover that these behemoths were hosting a World Wrestling Federation beer party in his bungalow.
        On the passenger's seat lay the digital camera that contained photos of the philandering husband entering the house across the street and being greeted at the door by his lover. If Noah reached for the camera, he'd no doubt be left with a hand full of bones as shattered as the windshield.
        Pocketing his keys, he walked away, past modest ranch-style houses with neatly trimmed lawns and shrubs, where moon-silvered trees stood whisperless in the warm still air.
        Behind him, underlying the steady rhythmic crash of the hammer, the tire iron took up a syncopated beat, tattooing the Chevy fenders and trunk lid.
        Here on the perimeter of a respectable residential neighborhood in Anaheim, the home of Disneyland, scenes from A Clockwork Orange weren't reenacted every day. Nevertheless, made fearful by too much television news, the residents proved more cautious than curious. No one ventured outside to discover the reason for the fracas.
        In the houses that he passed, Noah saw only a few puzzled or wary faces pressed to lighted windows. None of them was Mickey, Minnie, Donald, or Goofy.
        When he glanced back, he noticed a Lincoln Navigator pulling away from the curb across the street, no doubt containing associates of the creative pair who were making modern art out of his car. Every ten or twelve steps, he checked on the SUV, and always it drifted slowly along in his wake, pacing him.
        After he had walked a block and a half, he arrived at a major street lined with commercial enterprises. Many businesses were closed now, at 9:20 on a 'Tuesday night.
        The Chevy-smashing shivaree continued unabated, but distance and intervening layers of laurel branches filtered cacophony into a muted clump-and-crackle.
        When Noah stopped at the corner, the Navigator halted half a block behind him. The driver waited to see which way he would go.
        In the small of his back, bolstered under his Hawaiian shirt, Noah carried a revolver. He didn't think he would need the weapon. Nevertheless, he had no plans to remake it into a plowshare.
        He turned right and, within another block and a half, arrived at a tavern. Here he might not be able to obtain aspirin, but ice-cold Dos Equis would be available.
        When it came to health care, he wasn't a fanatic about specific remedies.
        The long bar lay to the right of the door. In a row down the center of the room, each of eight plank-top tables bore a candle in an amber-glass holder.
        Fewer than half the stools and chairs were occupied. Several guys and one woman wore cowboy hats, as though they had been abducted and then displaced in space or

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