Book Four: Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter 8
Tuesday – July 3rd
The Squad Room – 8:27 a.m.
“Thanks to Clauson, Klugston, Lowery and Banyard, the case of the smelly instruments was solved rather quickly. I also believe it was meant to be that way.
“No new riddles to report, means no additional worries other than doing our job. With that said, you all have your assignments, so if no one has any questions, get out there and stay safe, and keep our streets safe.”
As everyone was filing out, Satchell motioned her to her office, where he stepped in behind her.
“Baker, have you heard the weather report lately?”
“As of an hour ago, we will be under a severe tornado watch beginning at five this afternoon, until eleven tonight.”
Baker looked up.
“Right now, it’s about a hundred and seventy-five miles out, but headed in our direction. I’d say if it gets another thirty miles closer; that would be a good time to put all that practice we did into the real thing.
“It’s already done a number on a few other smaller towns between here and southwestern PA.; and southeastern Ohio. It has lost some of its strength, but it’s still moving at a good clip. It’s no earthquake, but this baby could cut us in two if we aren’t careful.
“It’s up to Mayor Marsh. She is thinking of making a televised announcement locally and on the radio. If she does, we have to evacuate everyone from downtown, and as many residents as possible that do not have adequate shelter they can turn to. We get them over to the Evac Center, and sit it out for a few hours. The only thing the building is still lacking, are front doors, air-conditioning, and running water for the six bathrooms put in. Generators to power things up are due on Friday. The rest is supposed to be finished sometime next week.”
“Find out what you can, Satchell. Meantime, I’ll contact all units and have them on standby. Looks like the fourth might come in with a bigger bang than expected.”
By 9:30, every available unit (on and off duty) were notified, and in a full-state of preparedness. This time, they knew it wasn’t a drill.
At 10:30, Mayor Marsh made a public announcement.
“The tornado, with a listed speed of eighty-five miles per hour, is expected to hit the vicinity within the next eight hours. The good news is that the system has stalled, and that there is a probability it may die out before it gets here, or take another route away from us. In the meantime, I implore all of you without your own adequate shelter, to come to the Montie Evacuation Center. The air-raid signal will continue to sound off three sharp blasts until the tornado has either gone through our area, or bypasses us altogether.
“I also ask that you check on your neighbors, other family members, friends, and anyone you feel may not be able to properly take care of themselves in the event the tornado hits. Get them either to your own shelter, or to the Evac Center in Montie.
“If you are coming to the Evac Center, do so in an orderly fashion. No speeding or running. No one needs to panic. No phone calls, please, as all appropriate personal; the police, fire and emergency services will be along several routes to assist you if necessary.”
She was handed a sheet of paper.
“I have just received word that the Stanhouse PD, and their available police units and emergency services, will also be assisting us. So please, I implore you to get to a shelter of your own, or make your way yo the Evac Center, in a safe and orderly manner. Thank you.”
Preparations were underway. Businesses closed. This included banks, restaurants, gas stations, motels, and so on. You name it; it closed. Residents too far out from the Evac Center that had their own shelter were going to be fine. Those who didn’t, and didn’t have a way in on their own; between the Stanhouse PD, and the Twenty-Second, and emergency responders, everyone was brought to safety. If one didn’t know any better, you would have thought they had done this millions of times.
Close to six-thirty, and the first feeling of a heavy wind coming could be felt. By 7:30, it did.
By 7:45, it struck hard, it struck fast. The entire city of Montie was either surrounded by the most expensive shelter ever made, or other residents were safe in their own underground bunker.
By 8:25, whatever was left of the tornado had begun to fade. It’s windspeed fell from seventy-eight, to almost forty miles an hour, and was headed northwest. But it did do some damage. All the residents; police and ambulance personal walked out into the open air; some would tell you they could see the direction it was headed as it began to fade from sight.
As promised, the air-raid blasts finally stopped.
People milled about in the Evacuation Center, and started to leave to go to their homes or place of work. Some could see downed power lines, several windows broken, trees were uprooted, and several cars were beat up with moderate to minor damage, except for three that were totaled because trees fell on them. The worse damage was at the city park. Five trees had been uprooted, one of which was in the middle of the street.
Office buildings and businesses had minor damage, mainly the windows were broken out, and a single streetlight had shattered on the street. Those who returned to their homes, found some damage to roofs, but no one had a roof torn away. Montie had dodged a bullet. What wasn’t found, was a single human life lost.
Truth be told, no animals died either. With Dianne Andrews persistence; every pet that could be located, was sheltered in the Evac Center, including those in the animal clinic.
The rest of the night was spent trying to get rest. Tomorrow would be a big day for cleanup, insurance adjustors, figuring the cost to repair and replace items. Plus, tomorrow was Independence Day. Not even a tornado would stop Montie from celebrating.
Wednesday – July 4th
The Squad Room – 8:45 a.m.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for the outstanding performance in volunteering your unwavering support to help piece Montie back into her original shape. I thank all of you for devoting your own time after the tornado struck. I know most of you haven’t even been to bed yet working all night. That, goes beyond any call of duty. And yet, there is much more to do.
“Captain Page is in direct communication with Mayor Marsh, and the city council, on a date to be arranged within the next week or two, where every officer in the Twenty-Second, as well as emergency responders, and the fire department, will receive a citation for your individual sacrifice, courage, and bravery, without regard for your own personal safety.
“This is one time when I say stay safe out there and keep our streets safe, you did. I have never been prouder of all of you than I am at this moment.
“For those who have to be back on shift at four, go home, get some well-deserved rest. Hopefully, you’ll have an uneventful shift tonight. To those on graveyard, get out of here, and thank you, again.
“As for the rest of you, I, like you, will be one tired puppy after this shift is over, but we pulled through and we helped to prevent loss of lives and,” she looked at Dianne, “and animal lives as well.
“Let’s get through today, then go home, and probably miss the fireworks. As much as I’d love to see them this year; me thinks I will sleep right through the pyro show.
“For once, without saying the words, you all know what it is. Get it done.”
Like a well-practiced choral group, they all said in unison; “Get out of here and stay safe, and keep our streets safe.”
That’s what they do.
The Morning In Montie
The time that passed saw dozens of window installers replacing large and small panels of glass or full-sized panes in businesses and residential. Business owners were still sweeping up debris found after the tornado came and went.
City workers were out either repairing or replacing certain Fourth of July displays that fell over, as well as redoing hanging banners.
Individual homeowners were helping one another to remove broken limbs and tree branches from yards, off of cars (insurance agent’s phones never stopped ringing the entire day), and even on a few roofs as well.
Before the day was over, 211 insurance agents would be called, and 211 claims would be filed.
And when the night did appear, many residents showed up for the fireworks. Watching as display after display were fired into the air, filling the night sky with amazing portraits of beautiful colors, as those who came to the festivities would “ooh and “aah”, and applaud madly. There was at least one person that night who kept true to her word.
Baker was out like a light and never heard a thing. Ed would show her pictures tomorrow of what she missed.
The Hilton Hotel
It was on July Second, at 10:30 in the morning, two people each packed a single suitcase, got in a Blue Jetta, and headed west.
Their first night in Chicago was spent enjoying a wonderful dinner, and a stroll along Chicago’s North Shore.
By eleven their first night, both were so tired that when they returned back to their separate (yes, separate) hotel rooms, they hugged, and kissed one another goodnight.
July third, found them wandering the city by day, shopping for a few wedding gifts, or as Olivia put it, “wedding memories.”
By mid-afternoon, they had their marriage license purchased, and found a small church to marry them the very next day; July Fourth.
Neither one knew of the events that happened in Montie while they were gone. Neither would until they returned in another week.
But, their Fourth of July would begin with their own fireworks, and their lives became united (in one hotel room this time), as Terry Nordstrom, and Olivia Passerman, were now husband and wife.
Thursday – July 5th
Baker’s Office – 9:12 a.m.
It was another one of those days where she would spend the next several hours going over reports.
She also tried to keep apprised of foreign news that could be related to Freddy. So far, there had been two reports of victims killed with his SOP (standard operating procedure). Two in the last seven months, well, not counting Marie Hampton, former real estate agent.
Tracking his movements as best as she could, there had been another five, brutal gangland-type slayings that could possibly be attributed to Freddy. Each murder had to deal with someone who had some form of power, and based on his last two kills; the other five murders took place; starting in South America, and ending in Australia. The method of movement was similar, if not the same, in other countries Freddy has been in.
He’s smart, shrewd, cunning, and deadly.
As she started her other project; checking missing persons, she knew there was only one way to catch Freddy.
A bullet to the brain.
Rim Road Pass – 12:30 p.m.
20 Miles West of Montie
The guys were all there. They made a pact with each other, and to seal that pact, each one sliced the palm of their right hand with a pocket-knife (and not very deep either), and then they pressed their palms against one another’s hand to seal that promise in blood, and officially, they were each other’s brother.
The Montie Pythoner’s would be saying goodbye to Jimmy Kerrigan. He got his scholarship to North Carolina.
Every member of the team promised to meet back here at Rim Road Pass every five years to relive, to recapture their lost youth, and also talk about their new lives and loves. The only acceptable reason for not returning was either active military duty, or being dead.
A brother’s promise made in blood could never be broken otherwise. Stevie, Ron Snyder, Dale Whittier, Brad Stone, DeWayne Phillips, and carl Macklin Jr., along with Jimmy Kerrigan, all made a promise to each other, and deep down, Stevie believed they would all come back every five years until they either all died, and hopefully, from natural causes.
Once that was finished, they sat around for a while, talking about what they were going to do for the rest of the summer, and then the topic found its way to basketball.
Ron Snyder asked Stevie the question that was on every player’s mind.
“Stevie, we all know the bean ball you took to the head. The doctor’s said no sports. Are you going to come back, and at least help the Coach with play-calling?”
“Guy’s,” Stevie’s eyes took them all in. “I promise I’ll be back on the court in some aspect. And maybe, just maybe, I might play a game or two. If I stay out of the paint, get that isolated shot, I should be good to go. Of course, I’ll need to clear that with the doctor, my mom, and Coach.
“I’m thinking sometime before we go back to school next month, and try to get a medical clearance. Besides, last year it wasn’t my head that broke, it was my old leg. This one is new and improved, and guaranteed never to peel, rust, fade, or crack. If nothing else, I’ll be there to help Coach Claymoore.”
After another hour, everyone broke up, got in their cars and trucks, or like Jimmy, he left on his Kawasaki 450, and the only memory at Rim Road Pass were tire tracks, footprints, and dried spots of blood clinging to dirt.
Kelso’s Clothing Store
1135 Mason Street – 4:47 p.m.
The changing of the guard went smoothly. No tornado’s, no harsh winds or pelting rain. No traffic accidents, assaults, or robberies. Almost three-fourths of the day, down, and everything was looming good.
That is until Adam-11 slowly drove down Mason. Andrew Davis at the wheel, his partner Ryan Clinton, jabbering on about how the Mets might take the World Series. The Mets? Why not, they’re in the hunt, he said to Andrew. Andrew came back with; It’s July, see where they are come October.
It was then when Ryan tapped Andrew’s shoulder and pointed at the front doors of Kelso’s. Three men shot out of the place like a bullet, and started to jump in a dark green, Econoline van.
Andrew turned on the lights and siren, hit the gas pedal and before the van had enough time to take off, Andrew veered the car at a right angle in front of it. Ryan had radioed for backup. Both he and Andrew jumped from their car, weapons raised, where each man had both sides of the van covered; Ryan, looking directly at the driver, a young Hispanic girl, maybe seventeen if that; yelled for her to get out of the van. Sirens could be heard approaching. The girl bit her lip, looked behind her, then back at the gun staring her in the face.
“I said, step out of the van slowly, miss. Hands on top of your head. I won’t tell you again.”
Andrew, on the far side of the van yelled out, “All of you inside the van, come out with your hands in the air, and empty!”
The girl made up her mind, and stepped away from the van. She was about five-feet tall and maybe ninety pounds.
“Hey, you crazy bitch! Get back in here!”
“Miss, get in the back of my car.” Ryan motioned her inside. Once she was in, he raised his head toward the van, and yelled out, “Give it up! There will be several black and white’s here, so I advise you to step out of the van now, and avoid a fight. You will lose.”
As he said that, three more cars converged onto the scene.
Andrew, his weapon trained at an angle on the sliding panel door, could hear them arguing over what to do next. All were yelling in Spanish. When they saw the police cars surrounding them, the three young Hispanics, slid the panel door open, and threw out their guns; two being a Mac-10, along with eight handguns.
Bloodshed, and the potential for a lot of it, was averted that day. How much longer could that continue?