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The Last Straw
By Rod Harris, Norma Hood
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Rod Harris and Norma Hood
All rights reserved.
AGAINST THE WALL
Time flies by when you're having fun. However, when your back's against the wall and treacherous circumstances exist, all your thoughts race through your head so fast that time stands still, passing slowly, with each second ticking away like an hour. Action is imperative; you will defend yourself, but how?
That was the situation I found myself in on New Year's Eve. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department assigned my rookie partner, Officer Willy Wells, and me to the corners of First and Fremont and the surrounding area in the downtown corridor. On the festive New Year's Eve, all the downtown streets were barricaded to automobile traffic, and were alive and packed with happy, celebrating, mostly heavily intoxicated citizens and visitors to the legendary, magical city. The temperature was in the mid-sixties, cold for residents, but warm to those from snow-blown winter wonderlands. As the evening wore on, the dazzling lights enthralled the merry makers, and the din of the music and loud voices made even the emergency sirens seem muted. As usual, it was crowded shoulder to shoulder. The pushing and shoving of cheerful partiers and their lack of caution or consideration caused some minor disturbances, and revelers considerable distress; the pickpockets, the prostitutes and their pimps worked the area, and many small skirmishes arose. It was our job to keep the peace on those four corners, up and down the sidewalks and on the pavement, to settle the fracases, or to send the combatants off to jail.
Wells, his tall frame allowing him to see above the milling crowd, called out, "Hawk, over there in the middle of the street, one guy just hit another with a beer bottle, and he's down." We pushed and shoved our way through the swarm of people to the scene.
"You've got my back, Wells," I declared as I quickly swung my PR-24 baton, cracking the wrist of the suspect. BONG! Perfect hit, score one for the good guys, I deduced as I heard his bones snap. He immediately released the jagged, bloodied beer bottle and grabbed his wrist, cursing me as he did. In my calm, controlled, professional manner, I brought my PR-24 low, and deftly conked the suspect on the shin. That had to hurt! I concluded as he dropped to the street writhing in pain. I seized his good hand and twisting his arm behind his back, cuffed his wrist, and placed my foot squarely between his shoulders. Wells still had my back as I worked.
Looking toward the other man, I noticed that he was down on his knees, holding his throat, and raising one hand for help. Jerking the cuffed suspect, I literally dragged him along with me as he staggered to rise. Rushing to the second man as he collapsed, I saw that he was bleeding profusely from the neck, and quickly guessed that the sum-bitch in cuffs had slit the man's throat.
"Wells," I ordered, "snatch that beer bottle. We'll need it for evidence." Willy shoved the gory weapon, neck first, into his back pocket. "Call for backup and an am-bo-lance! We have to get these guys to that wall now!"
Lifting up on the suspect's cuffs, I pushed him in front of me and the injured man, and handed him off to Willy. Limping badly, he headed for the curb. Raising the poor, drunk, bleeding bastard and dragging him by his belt as I grabbed his neck, I tried to stop the flow of blood.
From the crowd I heard, "Did you see that cop, he's choking that man."
"Police brutality," called a woman.
Another man yelled, "Let's take him out!"
Immediately turning, I looked into a sea of blurred faces. I was trying to watch my gun and my holster, and to protect my rookie and the victim at the same time. A rush of adrenalin surged through my body. Though time was of the essence for saving the bleeding victim, I moved as if in slow motion, my feet barely moving toward the wall. Every muscle felt the straining and stressing to convey me faster.
"Cops can't do that," shouted an angry bystander. "Let's help that poor guy!"
I ordered the cuffed suspect, "On the ground!" I leaned the injured, semi-conscious man upright against the wall and placed my foot in the back of his assailant.
"Oh sheee-it," shouted Wells, "we're gonna have a riot on our hands, Randel. What we gonna do?"
In s.l.o.w m.o.t.i.o.n I answered, "Willy, start swingin' your PR-24 as hard and as fast as you can. Call for back up! We need help, or we're gonna be trampled." Why weren't the words coming out faster? My voice seemed garbled and distorted, even though I was shouting over all the commotion.
"P.o.-l.i.c.e! B a c k, back! Get back!" yelled Willy in half time. "Control, Frank-3, we need backup and an am-bo-lance at First and Fremont, South side. The crowd's getting out of control! We can see patrol car lights on South First, but we need help to clear for them. We're about to be over run."
"Frank-3," dispatch came back, "we've got as many coming your way as we can, but they can't get through. The streets are jammed with people and they aren't moving. Code Red at First and Fremont!" Any and all available officers would head our way, but could they get through? It sure as hell didn't look like it!
"Frank-3, this is Adam-2, Roscoe, we can't get through. Gilmore and I are trying to get to you, Randel!" I could hear the anxiety in her voice, but I couldn't respond.
I cursed under my breath, sure could use some experienced help, but where the hell is my partner, Grumpy, when I need him? That's when his loss really hit me. "Damnit!" I cursed aloud.
I felt the hot, heavy, angry bodies of the surging crowd as they came near me and then backed off as Wells violently swung his PR24 to protect me; then they rushed me and Wells backed them off again. It was cold out, but I could feel the clammy sweat running down the back of my shirt and trickling down my face. Somehow, each decision I made and each movement it provoked came through lightning fast as if from nowhere. I am certain now that it was as if each action were calculated beforehand, years of experience leading and forcing each act to its precise end.
Wells was sweating from exerting his right arm with the baton as he stood about four feet in front of me. I had knelt with my knee on the suspects back, and was still holding his victim against the wall by the throat, with my gloved hand trying to stem the blood flow. He was now limp and only semi-conscious. "Damnit, you stay with me buddy; you can't die on me now," I exclaimed as I shook him.
There's no telling what a crowd of drunks including men showing off for their dates, and women in high heels with pointed toes can do. All could be lethal. Mayor Pam Jones knows what I'm talking about, I thought, as I remembered her helping me retain a suspect with her high heeled shoes, kicking him in the head, not once but twice. I offered a prayer to the Man upstairs, "Lord it's me, the 'Hawk'! I need your help, NOW! I hope you're listening!
"M.i.s.t.e.r," I said still in slow motion to the injured man, "if we're gonna get out of here alive you've got to trust me." The man was gurgling blood and looked at me with bulging eyes.
Suddenly from out of nowhere, my mind was whirling, my senses alive and ready; I hollered loudly, at the cuffed suspect, "You bastard," it was as if my forceful, virile voice was coming from a box, "I ought to kill you for mo-lesting that little boy." I yelled, "I know you're wanted for mo-lesting little girls too. I ought to finish you right here." I gave the suspect a startling shove in the back with my knee for emphasis. A deep guttural sound exploded from his mouth.
My chest was rising and falling quickly as I drew deep breaths, exerting my strength to retain him and to hold my limp victim's neck. Maybe I am choking him, I thought, like I did that damned Chihuahua. I relaxed my hold slightly. I watched for his breathing. He's still alive.
"No, no," pleaded the startled suspect. "Don't say that!"
The closest drunk bystander yelled, "The cop's got a child molester. He ought to kill him and save us the money. "Let's help the cops!"
The suspect whimpered as spit drooled from his mouth, "You're gonna get me killed!"
An onlooker hollered, "Hey, that's Officer Randel; get back! Get back!"
"Shut up," I bellowed at the suspect from some cavernous pit deep inside. "You child mo-lesters are all alike. You piss and moan when we catch you. How do you think those little kids feel?"
Wells and I were stuck right there; I thought, no place to go, can't go up, can't go down, ain't got no help, and got an angry crowd. As suddenly as the sea of faces raged against us, the tide changed and the wave of people ebbed away from us.
Wells forcefully lifted the suspect, and shoved him forward at the crowd. He replaced his PR-24 and used his outstretched hand to stiff-arm his way and to bank the throng of on-lookers.
"Here Officer, let us help you clear the crowd. COMIN' THROUGH WITH A CHILD MOLESTER! Make way! Make way! Let the police through. Child molester!" Everybody hates the idea of a child molester; people started shoving others back, clearing the way for us, the ambulance, and police vehicles. Everyone was on our side now, and actually trying to strike the two suspects. Thank you Lord!
"Way to go, officer!"
"Look, it's Officer Randel, he's got a child molester! Good Work!" reiterated another member of the throng.
Weaving their way through the crowd, the first police car arrived after the barricades were moved. I heard the patrol's radio over the quieter crowd, "We see them! They're on the southeast wall!" The first officer out of the car called, "Are you all right, Officer Randel?"
"Yes, I'm not hurt. I'm bloody as hell, but I'm all right."
Approaching us directly behind the police unit was the ambulance that would transport my bleeding victim. Wells called in the Code 4 that cleared the airways, and then handed the suspect over to the other officers who read him his rights. As he was being placed in the patrol car, he called out, "Thanks, Officer, I thought I was gonna be killed. But thanks to your quick thinking, you saved all our lives. I'll never forget you!" You'd better thank the good Lord above for saving us all, I thought.
The EMTs secured the victim with the cut neck on the gurney, and placed him safely in the ambulance. Cheers came from the crowd as the doors closed on the ambulance that carried away the victim, and the police car that took away the would-be-child-molester.
"That's 'The Hawk'," called out one of the street people that was sitting on the curb, too intoxicated to move. "Thanks for the anti-freeze, Offither Randel," he called out. "It sure helps us on cold nights like this. Happy New Year!"
I used my bloodstained sleeve to wipe the sweat off my brow before I thought that the victim could be HIV positive. I badgered myself, Aw damn it, Randel, what were you thinking? That's what you wear your gloves for, to protect yourself. Dumb Ass! Well, at least you protected your rookie!
Roscoe, using Adam-2 as her call sign that night, approached me, closely followed by Gilmore. Both were also still rookies, but I couldn't have asked for better back-up. Now that my partner, (damn his ornery hide) Sam Sikes, AKA Grumpy, was gone, I relied on them implicitly. I knew they would follow me through fire. Sikes and I had trained them well.
Damn those Cuban drug dealers for threatening Sam's family and scaring him and Kate away. I don't blame Sam for quitting the force; he had to protect his family, but damnit, I sure do miss that guy; we partnered for so many years I thought. We were as close as brothers. Well hell, as for me, I've got nothin' to lose. It's funny that as soon as you think that, you realize that you do!
Willy complained, "You guys, I thought we were goners for sure. I've never been so damned scared in my life."
"Randel, you had us all scared!" exclaimed Roscoe, seeming relieved as did Gilly that we had escaped unscathed.
"We thought you were gonna get slaughtered, 'Hawk', but you came out smellin' like a rose again," Gilly lauded.
"I think Willy and I left a little fertilizer back there, Gilmore," I touted laughing sarcastically. "That was a close one!"
"That'll get you an ATTA Boy from Lt. 'Mean Gene' Germain for quick thinkin' Randel," affirmed Willy. "Man, I thought this was all happening in slow motion."
"So did I, Willy," I replied, thankful that it was over. "You deserve the ATTA Boy if anyone does!"
"Well, it's back to our corner, Randel," asserted Roscoe. "Call us again if you need us. Remember, we've got your back!" Those magical words mean a million to any officer. Trusted partners that have your back and you know you can depend on to be a heartbeat away when you call, means they can save your life or that of your nearest partner. Roscoe and Gilly knew that we would be there to back them too.
Gilly stated, "Yep! What you waitin' for Wells? Grass'll be growin' under your feet. Get a move on, BOY!" That's what Grumpy would have said, I thought.
Willy called over his shoulder, "Yeah, 'Hawk', why don't you pick up an ice tea for both of us while you tiptoe back to our station? I'm already half-way there." He bounded for the corner of First and Fremont.
"You piss ant; you fetch your own tea. I've got work to do!"
"Aw Randel, why do I always have to do it?"
"Because my uniform is all bloody, and besides that damnit, you're still Willy! By the way, I'm leaving you on your own while I go change."
With Wells harassing me, it's beginning to feel like I'm with Sikes again! Ha! It was only 11:00 p.m.; the night was still young.CHAPTER 2
MOUTH TO MOUTH
I changed my uniform and rejoined Wells at First and Freemont where we worked the streets in a more peaceful manner until about 5 a.m. Then we got a call from control, "Frank-3, copy a call."
"What you got for me, Cheri'?"
"We have a possible 417, with a prostitute and her trick in the lobby at the Las Vegas Club.
"Copy, Cheri'. Frank-3 Enroute! By the way, Happy New Year!"
"Thanks, Randel, you be safe out there."
I walked from Fremont Street through the gambling area of the Las Vegas Club to the lobby. I spotted a man in his early to mid-fifties, wearing a dark suit, sitting in a high-backed upholstered chair, and on his lap was Lollie the prostitute. She was about 5'3" tall, with dirty blonde hair, with an unattractive, no downright ugly countenance, and with her evening dress somewhat askew and well above her knees. She was wiggling around on his lap, and they were arguing, then kissing and then arguing again. "Come on, Daddy, be nice," crooned Lollie. "I just want to be your sweet Lollie Pop!"
"No, I don't even like you," mumbled the obviously inebriated man through her wet kisses.
I went to the desk and spoke with the clerk who advised me that Mr. Russell registered at the hotel as a single, but had come down with 'Miss Lollie' earlier, on the way to the hotel's gala all night buffet. They had spent a considerable time at the buffet, apparently imbibing free champagne and celebrating the New Year. Now they had moved to the lobby where they had been sitting for ten to fifteen minutes. Mr. Russell was ready to call it a night and return to his quarters without 'Miss Lollie'. However, Lollie was persistently rubbing him in his nether region, stimulating his passion as she whimpered soulfully that she wanted him to make love to her. Something had suddenly gone wrong when he called her a 'bitch' and shoved her from the chair. However, after telling Mr. Russell that he was a 'no-good, two-time loser', Lollie, in an effort to recuperate her fee for the evening, was once again wallowing passionately on his lap. The clerk, afraid that a distasteful scene was going to prevail in his elegant lobby, had called the police.
Excerpted from Frank-3 Enroute by Rod Harris, Norma Hood. Copyright © 2014 Rod Harris and Norma Hood. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. AGAINST THE WALL, 1,
2. MOUTH TO MOUTH, 8,
3. OFF GUARD, 16,
4. BULLET PROOF, 23,
5. TOO MUCH TO HANDLE, 31,
6. DEVEREAUX'S DIARY, 42,
7. TOO SCARED TO TELL, 47,
8. TIGER ROOM, 52,
9. BULLARD'S BLUNDER, 59,
10. FBI PRIZE PACKAGE, 65,
11. ABELINE'S IN TEXAS, 69,
12. LIZARD LIPS, 74,
13. DUCKS, 80,
14. FIRST CALL, 84,
15. THE BOMB AND THE IDIOT, 93,
16. THE GAME IS A-FOOTE, WATSON, 99,
17. LITTLE EVIE'S LAWYER, 104,
18. BAGMAN, 109,
19. PURPLE SHORTS, 114,
20. SECOND CALL, 120,
21. GENERATOR, 125,
22. DOUBLE-D DIXIE, 134,
23. LAW SUITS, 142,
24. KNOT HOLE, 151,
25. ELEVATOR RIDE, 155,
26. WHITE OUT, 159,
27. I'M GOIN' TO DIE, 165,
28. SACRAMENTO EXTRADITION, 172,
29. SAMSON AND DELILAH, 180,
30. MIDNIGHT LACE, 186,
31. JURISDICTION, 190,
32. STUPID, 194,
33. PILED HIGH, 197,
34. SORROW, 202,
35. MANGA' MANGA', 207,
36. RYDER'S RIDE, 212,
37. THE STRAWBERRY PATCH, 220,
38. THE GLOVE, 223,
39. LEGACY, 228,
40. BANG! YOU'RE DEAD!, 232,
41. THE ART-EEST, 236,
42. NO REDEMPTION, 240,
43. THE FENCE, 243,
44. HIGH TIDE, 249,
45. BYE-BYE BURG, 253,
46. RIGHT CHOICE, 259,
47. HOT SHOT, 262,
48. SURPRISE LIBERATION!, 268,
49. JUMPER, 271,
50. THE LAST STRAW, 276,
51. HEY OFFICER RANDEL!, 279,
52. RUSSIAN ROULETTE, 283,
53. HOT SEAT, 290,
54. FULL CIRCLE, 297,