By Robert Sheckley (1928-2005).
First appearance: Collier's Weekly, December 6, 1952.
Short short short story (1 page).
Online at SFF Audio HERE (PDF) and at UNZ HERE.
"Neither man looked especially like a cop, or like a killer."Noises downstairs draw Walter Jallin from his comfortably warm bed and into a desperate situation that will end with one man dead on the floor, one standing powerless with an empty gun, and one still very much alive—with a loaded gun . . .
- Our latest contact with Robert Sheckley isn't so far away (HERE).
The bottom line:
Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair,
The midnight murderer bursts the faithless bar;
Invades the sacred hour of silent rest,
And plants, unseen, a dagger in your breast.
— Samuel Johnson