Chapter 8 – The Police

March 19th, 2010 § 1 comment

Sonny ‘Bop’ Molloy and Deb Shannon, of the Hudson County security forces, assigned to the town of Hartland, serving in the Rockland Precinct, landed their armored, four person hovercraft on the street outside of Felix and Veronica’s home and got out. Their faces were nearly invisible behind the thick globe of CellPack that encased their heads, the amber data stream cascading on either side of the visual field. Their silver armored suits seemed to glow a bit in the reflected hovercraft light.

They had been searching for Felix and caught up with him just as he entered his living room, when the heat sensors indicated a recently ridden bike in his garage. As they landed they heard his emergency call to the county medivac. This was a surprise since they had assumed the criminal had sustained the usual minor injuries. They were there mainly to issue a court summons and evaluate the situation. If necessary they could bring him in, but neither expected to do so. They were mostly pissed off at having to chase down another brawling businessman.

If there was one thing they hated more than breaking up fights it was uncertainty. Especially on a Friday night when all the suburban towns slowly exploded with drunken violence. Approaching a home like this was always dangerous. They simply never knew what awaited them on the other side of the door.

Shannon drew down her gun while Bop Molloy knocked loudly. “Security,” he said in a commanding, amplified machine voice.

“Open up Mr. Clay. Let’s get this over with.” When there was no answer they repeated the command and then opened the door, to which they had an override key, and descended the spiral stair into the soft aura of night light.

Quickly they secured the living room and kitchen and then slowly walked down the steps to the bedroom, headlamps on high, the cold bright beam playing over the walls and steps. “Mr. Clay,” Bop Molloy barked, “Do not move at all when we enter the room.”

With a little push of adrenaline they faced the bedroom doorway, blasting Veronica’s disheveled nude body with light, wet bloody hair half across her face and pillows, legs parted unnaturally, one arm across her belly, the other entwined in Felix’s, who winced and cowered. Felix hoped they would just go away. Bop Molloy said to Shannon, “Shit,” and then, “Mr. Clay, sir, step away from the body.”

“Fucking typical,” Shannon said. “So you go and get drunk, beat a guy up and then come home and kill your wife.” She shook her head. “Typical fucking Friday night.” Felix didn’t move. The lights played over him, shined in his eyes. One of the cuts on Veronica’s arm had opened up again. Blood oozed out. It was smeared on his cheeks and forehead and all between his fingers. His eyes were swollen shut. He had a fat lip.

“I can’t let go,” he said. “I think I hear a heart beat.”

“Give it up. She’s dead. Step away from the body.”

“Then you might as well shoot me now. Without her I’m nothing.”

Shannon said, “I’m losing my patience Mr. Clay. Step away.”

The door upstairs opened. There were shouts and commotion.

“It’s them,” he said. “The medivac!”

Bop Molloy looked at Shannon who said in a sarcastic, crackling voice, “It ain’t the fucking cavalry Mr. Clay.”

“She’s all done,” Bop Molloy added. Felix stood, chest trembling, the bloody arm still in his hands. “Drop the arm sir.” Felix laid it gently across her chest. It swung down off the bed. He reached for it and Bop said, “Leave it. Raise your hands above your head, where I can see them, and lay face down on the floor, feet spread.”

Shannon aimed her gun at him, the red dot resting on the back of his head. The medivac team trotted down the stairs with a small, collapsible gurney. A young, intense redheaded woman raced to the bed, shouting.

“Forget it doc,” Shannon said. “She’s dead.”

The doctor looked at the helmets with contempt. “She’s not dead, it’s a botch job. Look.” She pointed to Veronica’s lips. A bubble of saliva was forming. She yelled instructions out to the orderlies, who set up an i.v. while she gave Veronica an intercardial shot and oxygen. With great efficiency they installed a line, hooked her up to several bottles, jerked open the gurney and hoisted her onto it.

“Alive!” Felix shouted into the stone floor. “Alive!”

“You shut up,” Shannon said.

Bop Molloy, ready to give the information to a small pad, asked the doctor, “Where’d he stab her?”

The doctor looked Veronica over. The shot, the oxygen and the i.v.’s were taking affect. Her chest rose and fell. “He didn’t. These wounds are self-inflicted. She passed out before hitting a vein is all. They wanna die so bad they can’t get it right. It’s my second one tonight. It’s like a fucking epidemic. What I don’t get is, why don’t they just use a fucking gun and get it over with?”

Bop Molloy asked Shannon, “What do we do with him?”

They looked at Felix.

“I dunno. He’s in worse shape than the other guy.”

“And he’s got a job.”

“Fuck it.”

“Mr. Clay,” Bop Molloy said, “you can stand at ease now. You are no longer under suspicion. We apologize for the mix up.”

“She’s alive. I told you but you wouldn’t believe me.”

The orderlies covered Veronica up to the chin in a copper electraweave sheet. Sparks darted across the surface. The doctor said, “Load her up boys and bandage the arms. If she wakes up, keep her awake and restrained till we figure out what she took.” She turned to Felix. “Are you done with the cops?”

He looked at the helmets.

“Yeah yeah, he’s done,” Shannon said. “And no more street brawls, Mr. Clay, or I will personally haul your ass in front of a public safety board, after kicking all of the shit right out of it.” They followed the gurney up the stairs.

“Put your clothes on Mr. Clay,” the doctor said. He was covered in blood and vomit, wet, sweaty, dirty, tired. His eyes burned. “You can wash off in the shower first if you want, I’ll wait. We’ll catch up with them at the hospital. You can tell me on the way what drugs you have lying around the house.”

Without comprehension he watched the bloody water drain out of the tub and stood beneath the scalding shower jets just long enough to be clean. Then he dressed and followed her out of the house, as if it belonged to her.

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