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It didn’t take long for me to find what I needed, but in order for me to get the quantities I wanted I had to make a few trips. My contact had been pretty clear that they would not accept me obliterating a police station. I was cool with that since my knowledge of explosives was limited to det cord and a handful of Semtex; that and I had no delusions about my utter non-resemblance to Chuck Norris.

The important thing in dealing with my contact was–as ever–listening to what wasn’t said. They didn’t tell me no. Only do it somewhat quietly. I could handle quietly. Sort of.

By the end of a day’s shopping I had collected several pounds of tannerite, a compound used to make a lovely big explosion without doing any real damage. The fun part for me was finding a box that said ‘potentially dangerous’ without being attractive enough for the local homeless population to drag off. I selected a moving company’s box that was large enough to contain the tannerite and the remote device that would detonate my little toy.

I planted the first device about 5 miles away from the police station and to make it obvious that this box was special I left nearly in the middle of an intersection. Having several boxes all the same planted throughout the city should be enough to keep the local police as well as the state and any feds that stream across the bridges busy for a while. I’d never really tried anything quite this extensive, so all I could do was cross my fingers and hope that I’d set everything up right.

I drove toward the police station and found a place to park about a block away. I’d been sitting there for about ten minutes when I realized that I didn’t have a police scanner and unlike cops in the movies, the police were unlikely to rush out of the station in a large group to get to the scene.  Maybe if I’d strapped a baby to the box. . .

A half hour passed before things really got rolling. From where I was I could see several units light out one after the other and begin to hear helicopters flying toward the area where the first device was.


I waited another thirty minutes in the sweltering heat.  I had only seen a few more of the local police moving out, but compared to my previous visit it looked practically deserted.  I checked my gear again hoping the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 I had broken down and hidden under my sport coat wasn’t terribly obvious.

Looking at my reflection in the cars window as I stood outside it looked like I had a piece of surveying equipment concealed under my jacket. I moved the little carbine around to make it less obvious. What stood out to my eye however, were the magazines I had tucked into a web belt riding on my lower back. Hopefully people would think I was wearing a back brace or something.

As I approached the front entrance of the police department I witnessed a flurry of activity inside as helmeted police officers scrambled toward an unseen part of the building no doubt ready to go provide crowd control around another of my devices. I entered the building and noticed the desk attendant was the same one I’d spoken to on my last visit. I put on a winning smile and approached trying my best to look puzzled and frightened at all the activity.

“Tad Johnson, here for Thomas Shannon?” I looked at officers behind a glass partition suiting up in riot gear and hoped I was doing a passable job of looking impressed.

“I’m sorry, Mr Johnson, it’s not really a good time . . .”

I arched an eyebrow. “Oh come on, you’re not going to deny me access to my client are you?”

She gave me a tired look and held it for a little longer than I was comfortable with. When she realized I wasn’t going to give up and go away I saw her features soften for just a second. “I don’t have anyone to escort you back.” She reached under counter top that separated us and pushed a button. I heard a buzz at the large door with its safety glass window and smiled at her as I hurried to the door.

I made my way back to the transfer/intake waiting area where a few jail guards were doing a lot to look busy. I hadn’t been here before; instead I’d been shown directly to a consultation area. The intake desk opened out on a bay with enormous roll-up doors large enough to allow a semi to enter the intake area.

“Busy day, guys?” I tried to be jovial hoping the action out front would have them distracted enough they wouldn’t ask a lot of questions, but I was greeted with a single grunt, the other guards didn’t even look my way.

“Right. Anyway, I’m here for my client, Thomas Shannon?”  The grunting guard tossed a clipboard at me, stabbing one thick finger at the page as he muttered “Sign in here.”

“Sure thing.” I said and patted my pockets “Could I trouble you for a pen?”

The guard looked at me and said something impolite, but very audible as he looked around his desk for a pen. I signed my name and handed him the pen back.

I did what I hoped passed for an anxious lawyer impression as I waited, then I suddenly smacked my forehead. “I forgot to ask–sorry, I’m new to this–do you have Mr Shannon’s belongings back here or will we pick them up somewhere else?”

That got the guards attention. “Whaddya mean? We don’t keep anything back here . . .”

I nodded “Oh,sure. Makes sense I suppose. Where will we go to get Mr Shannon’s property? He’s being released and I want to handle this as expediently as possible; I’ve got other clients waiting you know.”

The look the guard gave me pretty clearly intoned ‘why won’t you go away?’ but there was a bit of confusion coloring his anger. “I haven’t received any papers . I’m going to have to call up front.”

I nodded and put on an impatient smile. The other guard brought Shannon up to the desk, his hands cuffed behind his back still.

“Ah, yes. That’ll be fine right there.” I said aloud.

The grunty guard turned to look at his mate “Jimmy,did we get release papers for him?” he said jerking at thumb at Shannon.  Mr Shannon was doing his best not to choke on his surprise at seeing me again, a fact which I appreciated. I gave him a little smile. “Have you out of here in just a second.” I said and shot my finger-gun at him.

I looked over at the guard who was still waiting for an answer from whomever he had called. I leaned forward, across the little counter that separated us only to have him thrust his index finger into my face. He furrowed his brow and mouthed you wait!  at me as he turned back to his phone and then began to punch something into his computer.

“You know, a little kindness goes a long way.” I said reaching behind my back to free one of the 33-round Glock magazines in the web belt under my sport jacket. I turned away from the guard at the desk, reaching into my jacket and giving the Kel-Tec carbine a yank, freeing it from the strap that had kept it looped around my shoulder. I unfolded the gun quickly, inserting a magazine and giving it a solid tap with my left hand. I pulled back the charging handle and shot the grunty guard cleanly in the forehead and then added two more rounds to his chest for good measure.

The other guards began screaming and reaching for their pepper spray. I took several quick steps backward as I fired so I didn’t get dosed. My friend on the other hand was not so lucky.

The smoke from my spent rounds had set off the buildings fire alarm system and the sprinklers had just started to spray. I knew from experience that was just going to spread the pepper spray into Shannon’s eyes, but I hadn’t thought to bring milk with me. I laughed to myself. I hadn’t actually planned to shoot anyone, things just worked out that way.

The guards only weapon having been neutralized by the unexpected downpour made them sitting ducks. I stepped forward again, putting two rounds in their chests, not bothering to check if they were dead.

Along with the sound of the gunshots the klaxon of the fire alarm had rendered me almost deaf so it took several seconds for me to realize Shannon was screaming.

I sighed. Aloud, I said “Try to rescue someone and not even a word of thanks.” I went to where Shannon stood and uncuffed his hands. He started rubbing vigorously at his eyes.  “Stop it!” I said as I grabbed the collar of his jumpsuit. He paused for a second and said something I couldn’t quite make out. “Stop rubbing your eyes! You’re only making it worse!” I shouted at him. His hands dropped to his side and his shoulders slumped forward.

I was struck by how childlike he appeared in that moment, long strings of mucus running from his nose, reddened eyes–the posture just tied it all together.

“Oh for–” I started then realized he probably couldn’t hear me. I lowered myself slightly and picked him up in a fireman’s carry “–fuck’s sake” I said as I strained under the effort of picking him up.  Fortunately once the fire alarm went off the interior door to the garage bay was opened automatically.

We crossed into the bay, standing behind a large yellow guard rail on a raised concrete platform that lead down to the bay’s floor. The giant doors began to roll up, as a fire crew stood waiting a few feet back from the door. I dropped the carbine and kicked it off the side of the concrete platform hoping it went nnoticed.

The waiting fireman waved me on and I stepped lively trying to get outside.

“Ambulance?!” I shouted at one of the nearby firemen. He pointed to a nearly deserted parking lot where emergency crews had just begun to arrive. I nodded and carried my burden in that direction, not stopping to respond to the flurry of questions he tried to ask.

I turned behind one of the firetrucks and set Shannon back down on his feet. His eyes were bright red, just a few shades above the color of his jumpsuit’s muted orange hue.

I smiled at him, but I doubt he saw it. “Are you okay?” I asked. Shannon nodded but said nothing. “Good. Now keep quiet; you’re not free yet.” I looked up and saw one news helicopter flying over the building, smiling up at the camera crew  as they searched for images of bodies being carried out to sell to their slack-jawed viewers at home.

“That was sort of quiet.” I said to no one in particular. I slapped Shannon on the back. “Okay, killer. Let’s get you out of here.” I said, grabbing his elbow and pulling him forward. As we moved I shifted the magazines I had left into my pants pockets and made Shannon put on the sport coat. I tossed the web belt on top of a firetruck and we set off across the parking lot. “Can you run?” I asked Shannon over my shoulder as I continued to pull him forward.

“I can’t see!” he shouted.

“Yes, but are your legs working? Can you run?”

“I-I-I think so.” he stammered out after an eternity.

“Good. Remember to pick your feet up” I said urging him on “We’re almost free.”

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