Police Officer Wally Wainwright was normally a very laid back and easygoing kind of guy. In fact, he often went out of his way to be overly pleasant simply so he could neutralize the grumpy and acidic behavior of his sometime partner, Detective Bruno.
Even Wally had his limits, though. Being awakened from a dead sleep and summoned to a crime scene at 3:00AM definitely did not sit well with the rookie cop.
However, he would never turn his back on friends in need.
“Why am I here?” Wally demanded.
Tex swayed nervously back and forth in front of him. He was wrapped in a big blanket, had a bandage above his left eye, and would not make direct eye contact.
“Because we needed help,” Tex finally mumbled.
“Yeah, I can see that,” Wally quipped sarcastically as he surveyed the scene.
Even though it was the middle of the night, the street was crowded with police cars, ambulances, and a fire truck. Police officers, firefights, and EMTs milled about a very frenetic scene.
Wally noticed that even the SWAT team was on hand.
Every vehicle had its emergency lights flashing, so the street looked like some sort of well-guarded party zone.
“Why did you call me instead of Detective Bruno?” Wally clarified with definite annoyance in his voice.
Tex just stared at the ground.
“I haven’t even met the guy,” Aspen volunteered, “but from what Tex and Champ have told me about him, I’m sure he would have killed us if we had called him.”
“And you are?” Wally asked as he shifted his annoyance to a new subject.
“Aspen Roark,” she introduced herself with a charming smile.
Aspen was also wrapped in a big blanket and wore Tex’s cowboy hat. Unlike her sidekick, she didn’t look at all worse for wear, and had no trouble making eye contact.
Wally slowly nodded as it started to make sense. “The mystery voice on the phone…”
“They’re going to catch us!” Aspen advised as she glanced at the side view mirror.
“I don’t think I can go any faster!” Tex screamed in reply as he shifted gears and tried to force the accelerator down even further.
“Champ thinks we need to call for help,” he yelled from the backseat as he strained to get a better look at their pursuers. “Champ votes we call Detective Bruno.”
“No way!” Tex replied as he took a corner way harder than any car was meant to handle. “Call Wally. His number’s in my phone.”
Aspen reached for the phone that was inside Tex’s jacket pocket, quickly scrolled through his contacts, and found the number.
“Is this Wally?” Aspen asked once the phone stopped ringing, but before anyone could reply.
“Who’s this?” was the sleepy reply.
Aspen braced herself against the dashboard as Tex made another wild, high speed turn.
“You don’t know me, but Tex and Champ are in danger. You need to help them,” she insisted.
“What’s going on? Where are they?” demanded the much more awake voice.
“I’m not really sure. Can’t you just turn on your police radio and figure it out?”
“Where’s Champ?” Wally asked.
Tex craned his neck to see through the mayhem and finally spotted his friend.
“There he is,” Wally pointed towards the closest ambulance.
Champ was on a stretcher and being attended to by an EMT. The old man saw Wally, Tex, and Aspen looking his way, so he waved.
“Champ is okay!” he yelled over the din. “Champ just had the wind knocked out of him. Champ’s heart is perfectly fine regardless of what this overly cautious EMT thinks.”
Champ gave them a thumbs up as the EMT struggled to get him to relax so that she could tend to his medical needs.
“I’m told you were clocked at 125 mph in a residential neighborhood,” Wally focused his attention back on the duo in front of him.
“In my defense we were being chased,” Tex explained sheepishly.
“Only 125?” Aspen asked. “I told you that you could be going faster!”
Back in the car, the situation had somehow gotten worse.
“Are you even applying the gas?” Aspen wailed. “Make it go faster! This car costs so much that it should be able to fly!”
The headlights of the car behind them filled the vehicle.
Suddenly the back window shattered after being hit by a hail of bullets. The glass exploded onto Champ, who just brushed it off like it was mere crumbs.
“Champ hates being a backseat driver, but floor it!”
Tex didn’t reply. He was too busy trying to figure out how to keep them all alive.
The car’s open trunk had attracted the attention of the SWAT team.
“How is it that you managed to walk away from that with only a few minor scratches, but Champ is being wheeled off on a stretcher?” Wally asked as he pointed at the car.
“We were wearing seat belts and the car had airbags,” Tex stated. “Champ had to take his seat belt off once they shot out the back window. He would have been a sitting duck otherwise. He’s also pretty old and has several pre-existing medical conditions.”
“Plus, he needed to ditch his seat belt so he could get a better aim at the assholes that were chasing us and trying to kill us,” Aspen added.
“They’re shooting at us!” Aspen stated the obvious.
Tex executed another sharp, high speed turn in hopes of shaking their tail. It did not work because bullets flew into the car through the non-existent back window.
“Should Champ shoot back?” Champ sought guidance from his position sprawled out across the back seat.
“With what?” Tex demanded. “I might wear a cowboy hat, but I don’t carry six shooters.”
“With this,” Champ said as he held up a high powered automatic rifle.
Tex saw the gun in the rear view mirror and almost lost control of the car, which would have been bad news considering the high rate of speed at which it was traveling.
“Where the hell did you get that?” Tex yelled to be heard over the sound of gunfire and his heart, which felt like it was about to pound out of his chest.
“Champ found it on the floor next to all these boxes of ammo.”
“Do you even know how to use it?” Aspen asked.
“Champ has many skills,” he replied and his cackle filled the car.
“I vote that you shoot them,” Aspen decided. “It’s only fair.”
“Champ seconds that motion,” he cackled even louder.
In an instant, Champ had the weapon locked and loaded and began to return fire.
“How did you come to be driving a stolen vehicle with a cache of illegal weapons in the trunk?” Wally asked as the SWAT team removed a crate of guns from the trunk of the totaled car.
“Don’t forget the guns and ammo that were in the back seat,” Aspen tried to be helpful.
“It’s a long story,” Tex admitted. “Do you think I can tell it to you someplace a little less crowded? Maybe where I can sit down because I’m starting to feel…”
Before Tex could finish his thought, he collapsed.
TO BE CONTINUED…