That Joke Isn’t Funny Any More
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Auxiliary Police Officer Michaela Chalmers, Mickie to her friends and those in a rush, listened to the radio as she waited at the intersection in the Radio Motor Patrol. Mickie drummed her hands on the wheel absently as she waited for the lights to turn green. It happened so fast she thought she was imagining things.
A pizza van careened down the off ramp from the freeway ploughing through the four-way intersection, clipping the back end of a cab before hitting a stop sign and ending up down a grass embankment.
Mickie hit the lights as she navigated her way through the intersection watching out for the rear axel that had decided to rest in the middle on the asphalt.
“Jane isn’t going to believe this,” she said to no-one in particular as she pulled the patrol unit to a stop for lack of anything else profound to say.
Getting out, Mickie hurried over to the rusting pizza truck while calling the incident in on her radio. “Help is the way sir.” She called through the window. “Sir?”
It seemed like a giant slice had been driving. The force of the impact had shifted the myriad of pizza boxes and dumped most, if not all (by Mickie’s reckoning at least) the content onto the unlucky sap who had been driving.
“Sir, can you hear me?” She called again. “Mr Bozo?”
The response wasn’t what she had hoped. Okay, she didn’t expect him to do cartwheels through the intersection and perform a juggling act, not after being in a car wreck, but at least the clown should give some sort of response. Well, Mickie hoped it was a clown; otherwise the driver may need more than a few pointers from Mary Kay. Opening the door, Mickie took a quick step back to avoid getting anchovy on her polished just this morning shoes before putting he head into the car and feeling about the neck for a pulse.
The mask was making this rather difficult, she wanted to remove it, but was fearful if the clown had a neck injury she didn’t want to add to his worries by making him paralyzed.
A white SUV pulled up by the side of Mickie’s patrol car and an old man with a thick crop of white hair and a medical bag (or some sort of unfashionable purse) emerged. “I’m a doctor, have you called for an ambulance?”
Mickie took her eyes off the clown for a second and looked at the old man. “Yes. One’s on its way.”
“Why don’t you go check on them?” The doctor pointed in a direction over his shoulder.
“Yes.” Mickie shook her head. All that time she’d spent training and preparing herself for this, and now she finally the first officer on the scene, had seen it happen and was struggling to remember what to do. “Doctor?”
The doctor had already started to attend to the clown. “What is it?” he called over his shoulder without even stopping work on his new patient.
“Do what you can.” With that she moved off in the direction of the yellow cab that seemed to idle by the curb.
The thoughtful and compassionate drivers of New York had already moved on with their lives and their journeys. Mickie had to hold up traffic to make it to the cab’s location. Despite being an officer of the law she was beeped at and cursed several time in just a few short steps. “This’d never happen if they let me carry a gun,” she muttered under her breath as a little old blonde lady, whose surgeon wasn’t obviously pricey, called her a whore and gunned her engine. Mickie wished that people would just be patient. If she hadn’t been wearing the uniform she’d have given the old bag more than just a piece of her mind.
The driver of the yellow cab looked a little dazed as he stared at her. She gave him a warm smile.
“He got you pretty good there, sir?” The cab driver just seemed to stare at her. Maybe he didn’t speak English. Maybe he’d hit his head. The airbag hadn’t deployed. “Sir, are you okay? Can you hear me? Don’t worry there’s an ambulance on its way.” In the distance she could hear sirens. That didn’t necessarily mean an ambulance, not here anyway, but there would one soon.
Mickie Chalmers lifted her radio up and was about to check on the progress of the ambulance when the cab driver spoke:
“I’m fine” he offered in a Tennessee drawl that made him sound a little like Elvis. “Just a little shook up.” That definitely made him sound like Elvis, thank you very much.
“We need to get you checked out.” She informed him as the ambulance pulled up besides her. The paramedics approached her; she indicated the pizza van as priority. “There’s already a good Samaritan over there.” She called after them, not that it really mattered, not that they were really listening.
“I’m fine,” he countered again in his drawl.
If the situation were different she may be weak at the knees, had grown up with the King via the influence of her mother and had sort of inherited the obsession like anyone else would inherit brown eyes. She turned her head to check on the progress of the paramedics and the impending arrival of any other officers when Mickie turned back when she thought she heard the cab driver moaning.
“Are you in pain?” She said.
“No,” he began. He didn’t continue until Mickie prompted him to do so. “I need to go.”
“What’s the rush? You really need to be checked out.”
“I have to get this back to the garage in the next fifteen minutes or they’ll charge me for another day, and today hasn’t even been that good.” The cab driver started the engine. A puff of blue smoke trailed from the tailpipe.
“You’ll need an explanation for that damage on the fender.”
The cab driver stuck his head out of the window but made no attempt to exit the vehicle. “It happens more than you would think in this city.”
Mickie went to the fender to take a closer look at the dent, she looked down and ran her smooth hand over the concave bodywork. As she touched it, she swore she could hear something moaning in pain. “Pop the trunk,” she said with the authority that the training course had taught her as she took the flashlight from her belt.
The trunk didn’t pop.
“I said pop the trunk,” she said a little agitated now, but slipped more into cop mode after getting a handle on the situation.
The cab driver leaned out the window again. “It must be stuck. Sorry.” He called as he gunned the engine and began to pull the cab away from the curb.
A cacophony of horns and cursing blasted the air as the cab entered the stream of traffic and pulled away. The cabbie waved a hand in the air as a final insult to her and her attempted investigation.
“Shit.” Mickie called as she strained to check the cab number, noting it down on her pad. 804. She picked up her radio, determined to get the cab stopped down the street and the trunk checked out.
Auxiliary Police Officer Michaela Chalmers turned and stood to attention at the authority in the voice. A detective stood with the Good Samaritan doctor. The commanding voice belonged to the detective, the medical bag still the doctor’s. The detective was holding the medical bag for the Good Samaritan as the doctor wiped blood from his hands.
“Yes, sir?” Chalmers responded in an official tone. She scanned his coat for his badge, but it must have been in his pocket. She hadn’t seen him before. Mickie wondered how he knew her name, but then she had given it out over the radio so it didn’t take long for her to stop wondering.
“Detective Reece Lyndon.” He stated. The detective nodded to the doctor. “The driver of the truck didn’t make it.”
“Shit.” And then without even thinking added, “Sorry, sir.”
The detective waved it away with the flick of his wrist. “Sometimes these things can’t be helped, especially when the guy had half his chest missing. Was that the other car involved?”
“Yes. I tried to get him to stay but he wouldn’t.”
“You realise you’re police?”
“I realise that sir, but I don’t think that I’ve been on the job long enough to start dragging accident victims from their car and cuffing them on the ground.” Lyndon was about to say something but Mickie continued “I’m sorry detective, did you say half his chest was missing?”
“Guy, with white face make-up, suspenders and big shoes?”
“Then yes. Half his chest is missing. Gunshot most likely, otherwise he was an amateur surgery enthusiast.”
Chalmers just stared at him for a moment. The sarcasm in Lyndon’s voice went over Mickie’s head, but it got a morbid chuckle out of the doctor who had finished wiping his hands and had up, until that point at least, remained silent.
“Anyway,” he said kicking the metaphorical tumbleweed from between them. “According to the radio call you put out, you saw the accident, we’ll need a statement.”
“What about the cab? I have the details.” Chalmers offered albeit slightly reluctantly. Reluctant for reasons that escaped her at that very moment.
“We think we have a lead on the case already. At the moment the cab isn’t our priority.” Detective Reece Lyndon turned to the doctor. “Doctor Lorenzo has already agreed to come back to the precinct to give a statement over what happened back there.” Lyndon jerked a thumb in the direction of the pizza truck in case anyone had forgotten about it. Lyndon was hinting to the Auxiliary Police Officer without having to give her an order.
“What kind of lead?” Chalmers asked. Knowing full well what she was sidestepping, but wanting to hear about the lead as this was most likely the last she would hear about it.
Detective Lyndon breathed out, his breath visible thanks to a chill in the air. “There was a robbery this afternoon in Manhattan. Two clowns dressed as, well clowns, entered shotguns in hands demanding money. They didn’t do their homework good enough though, didn’t figure on the owner having one too. The clowns get distracted going after a clerk or something. Owner gets enough time to get his from under the counter and blasts one of the clowns down. The other clown returns fire, but not before the owner gets him in the chest.”
“Stupid? I’d say so.” Lyndon holds up his hand to prevent the interruption he knows is coming. “If you mean dead, the owner was, sorry, is. But the clown was on his way to the hospital. We haven’t got a report on his condition.” Reece Lyndon put the collar up on his dark green coat and walked back to the paramedics stood near the ambulance, leaving Lorenzo with the young auxiliary officer.
The Doctor smiled at her. “You’ve not been doing this long have you?”
“What gave it away?” The young officer swallowed before she spoke.
“You looked a little green when I first arrived. You still do to be honest, no offence.”
“I think we should just go back to the precinct so that you can make a statement.”
“Can’t be too careful now can we?” Doctor Lorenzo chuckled slightly inappropriately as he strapped himself into the patrol car, making a big show of it. “Not after what we’ve seen, eh?” He fiddled with the doctor’s bag on his lap as he waited for the police officer to strap in. “What about those people in the other car?” He pondered.
“You man the cab?”
He scratched the end of his nose. “Yes. Was anyone hurt?”
That was the 64 thousand dollar question wasn’t it? Mickie asked herself as she pulled out into the traffic. “I’m not sure.” She told the doctor, surprised by her own honesty. “But I aim to find out.”
Or go to Chapter 4 (now with downloadable PDF!) (last updated 18 September 2009 @ 11.30pm)