Boy in Blue: Part I
A Tayvin Story
“We have shots fired. Suspect is on foot, Caucasian male, black jacket, black shorts, heading north at the corner of 10th and Monroe. All units dispatch.”
Adam stared at his radio for a moment, processing all the information being crackled over the transmitter, before looking out the window at his partner who was getting coffee. They went to this same deli for coffee at least twice a week. It was easy to figure out why. Idling in the car out front, Adam could see Rick smiling at the pretty girl behind the counter, coffee in hand. He watched his partner lean with one hand against the counter, watched his mouth move and saw the girl begin to laugh. Motherfucker was flirting. Adam didn’t normally mind his partner’s useless attempts to ask out a girl. It was harmless entertainment to watch him get shot down time and time again. But Adam did mind when they had work to do.
After five more seconds of watching Rick telling a joke he figured wasn’t all that funny in the first place, Adam honked the police cruiser’s horn, the whoop whoop jolting Rick’s gaze away from the pretty deli girl. Through the glass storefront, he saw Adam waving him over. Adam watched as his partner gave a nod to the pretty girl and mouth something that looked awfully like duty calls before walking out of the store. Adam rolled his eyes and turned back to the GPS, figuring out the quickest way to 10th and Monroe with the least amount of midmorning traffic. He saw they were the closest unit to the scene.
The passenger door opened and Rick slid in along with the rising summer heat, careful not to spill his coffee. “What the fuck, I was busy,” Rick complained as Adam pulled out into the traffic without looking over his shoulder. People stop for police cars. Even in New York.
“We got a call. Commotion on 10th. White guy, dressed in black. Keep an eye out.” Adam muttered, breezing through light after light. The sirens were wailing, drawing the eye of every person in every car and every pedestrian on the sidewalks.
Rick drained his coffee before throwing the cup on the floor by his feet. Adam glanced over with a look of annoyance before his eyes returned to the road. Rick wiped his mouth and said, “It’s probably just some punk who got pissed at his weed dealer and wanted to throw a bitch fit.”
“Probably right,” Adam mindlessly agreed, keeping his eyes peeled. He asked, changing the topic. “Have you asked her out yet?”
“Not yet,” Rick explained with his hands. “I’m still laying the groundwork,”
“So what you’re saying is that you’re still a pussy.”
“Hey,” he objected, “good things take time. And what the fuck do you know about asking girls out, you haven’t been out on a date since the 90s.”
Adam shot back, cutting off a taxi cab. His hand tightened on the steering wheel. “I know it doesn’t take three weeks to ‘lay the groundwork’. This isn’t fuckin’ junior high, you fuckin’ loser.” Adam didn’t mind ragging on Rick. They’ve been best friends since becoming partners five years ago. Adam trusted Rick with his life. They would take a bullet for the other. They were like brothers. He didn’t mind it when Rick was being a pain in the ass. Made the job less stressful. “And I go out on plenty of dates. I’m just not a little bitch like you and have to divulge all the details.”
Rick snorted, pushing himself up in his seat. “Jesus, calm down, Wiles. I’ll ask her out next time. Just for you.” Adam gave him a satisfying nod in agreement.
They fell into lull in the conversation, their focus sharpening as they approached the scene. It had taken them less than three minutes to arrive. Adam made a left on a side street, hoping to catch the suspect early through a shortcut. He turned off the sirens a block ago, wanting to give no advance warning to the perp, becoming as silent as the street was. There were no pedestrians or people standing in doorways. It was totally quiet as he rolled through the narrow street. But Adam had a good intuition about this shortcut. He knew in his bones that someone trying to run would choose this street to cross over to the subway. His prediction was right as he saw a body moving halfway down the street.
“That look like our boy?” Adam asked, noting the figure in black shorts and a black shirt walking in the opposite direction. It fit the physical description close enough. He pressed his foot on the brake, the car slowing to a stop about fifty yards away.
“Let’s go talk to him and find out, eh?” Rick was out of the car before Adam could put it into park, hand resting on the butt of his gun. Adam remained in the car for several moments, quickly calling in where they were and that they were approaching potential suspect now. Rick’s authoritative voice boomed against the walls lining the street, echoing back like they were in a cave. “You there! Police! Turn around with your hands on your head.”
The man on the sidewalk slowed his gait, but didn’t turn around. There was a tattoo visible on the back of his calf, but he was too far away to distinguish any detail – it just looked like a black blob from where Adam sat. He was somewhere in his late 20s. Adam couldn’t see his hands. That worried him. Put him on high alert. Out of the corner of his eye, Rick was approaching the man, gun still in his holster. He should have his gun drawn. What the fuck was he thinking? Adam told him he was armed, didn’t he? He did tell him that, didn’t he?
The man slowed down to a halt, but instead of being a surrender, for some reason it felt more like a challenge. Adam suddenly knew this was a very bad situation that was about to become a whole lot worse. In one swift motion, Adam put one foot on the pavement and started rising from the driver’s seat, drawing his own gun. He was raising it, right at the suspect. But before he could open his mouth or even squeeze down on his trigger, the man turned around as fast as a ghost and started shooting.
The air was suddenly filled with the inhumane sounds of bullets exploding from the barrels of multiple guns. A bullet blazed past Adam’s head like a streak of fire. He heard the bullet whizz past his ear, like a mosquito or a wasp buzzing right against his ear drum, causing the hairs on the back of his neck to rise. It deafened him momentarily, a high pitched ringing clouding his brain. Adam was able to fire once before he dropped like a rock behind the car for cover. He crawled to the opposite end of his car to try and get a better shot. Loose bits of gravel scraped against his palms. Adrenaline was dumped into his bloodstream. He became hyperaware in extreme clarity of everything around him. How the air tasted around him, sweet with gunpowder. The way the asphalt was like needles against his legs, the way the humid air prickled against his skin, bathing him in sweat.
More shots rang out in methodical fashion, leaving Adam helpless to wait until they stopped so he could get another shot in. The discordant sound of bullets firing popped out from the guns filled the normally quiet street with the sounds of war. His back was pushed tight against the car. He felt the bullets pelt the body of the car, like poisonous darts in a dangerous bar game. “Donegan!” Adam yelled to Rick, checking on his partner. There was no response as the shooter emptied his clip into the squad car. He hoped Rick was able to get some good shots in because Adam was useless. Man, whoever this guy was, he was royally fucked when they would eventually get him. And they would. They always do in the end. Assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer. Attempted murder. Plus the long list they would tack on just for fun.
The second the bullets stopped raining down, Adam popped out from over the hood and started firing. He blew through half his magazine before he saw the black clad shooter disappear behind a corner. Adam rose from his crouch, ready to sprint after him and slap a pair of cuffs on him as well as a solid kick to the gut, but a solid, unmoving mass in the corner of his eye stopped him dead in his tracks.
It was Rick. He was lying on the ground, twitching, his hand clutching at his throat, emitting a horrifying choking sound that Adam only now started hearing once the ringing in his head had finally subsided. His gun was still in its holster.
No, no, no, no, no. The word played like a song on endless loop inside his head.
“Oh my god.” The three words came out almost in confusion No, no, no. No, this can’t be happening. Rick is a pit bull. He’s a fighter. He’s indestructible. He shouldn’t be lying on the ground like that right now, barely moving, making that noise Adam knew would never leave his head for the rest of his life. Adam ran over, holstering his gun, shouting Rick’s name. There was the pain in his knees that he felt throughout his whole body as he fell besides his fallen friend. Adam clutched at his collar, feeling the useless bulletproof vest underneath Rick’s uniform. He gurgled back on the dark red blood that was dribbling out of the corner of his mouth, choking on it. Adam’s eyes frantically sought out the source of blood and saw it almost immediately. It was hard to miss. It was his neck. He got shot clean through the neck on his right side. A hole the size of a golf ball exposed shredded veins and muscles tissue, pink and slippery with bright red arterial blood. Rick’s hands were holding his throat in the vain hope that if he could close his hand over the wound, he could pretend it wasn’t there. Adam’s hands pushed his partner’s away and within seconds, they turned wet with blood as he tried to stop the bleeding himself. With one hand, he switched on the button of his radio attached to his shoulder. His voice didn’t sound like his own. It was someone else’s voice. It was like he had floated out of his body and was watching himself from above. “Officer down! Officer down! Get an ambulance now. Officer down!” Adam yelled, panic and desperation breaking into his voice.
Adam glanced up, his clear eyes desperately seeking out for help. Rick didn’t have long. He knew that. The bullet had obliterated his jugular vein. They needed an ambulance now or he was going to die. He felt like screaming. The shooter was long gone. There was no one around. How could no one have heard anything? How could there be no one around?
“Rick, you’re gonna be fine, man,” Adam said as calmly as he could muster, not believing a word of it. “C’mon, Ricky, stay with me, buddy, you’re okay” he pleaded, frantically tapping his face, trying to keep his eyes open. Rick’s face was already pale, able to sense the lie in Adam’s eyes even though his own were already unfocused and dazed. The blood pooling underneath him, flowing like a river from his neck, was already too much lost. It was too late. Adam removed his hand from the gunshot wound, the pressure doing absolutely nothing to staunch the bleeding. Rick started grasping at Adam loosely; his bloodied hand weak against Adam’s shirt as if he was afraid Adam would leave him to die alone. Dark hair was matted to his forehead in sweaty tangles. Adam gripped Rick’s hand tightly against his shirt. They held eye contact as Rick’s heart kept betraying him, pumping the blood right out of his body in rhythm. His lips were moving like he was trying to tell him something, but no sound was coming out.
Adam was breathing fast. No, this shouldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening. Just ten minutes ago, he was flirting with the girl from the deli. He’d been trying for weeks to ask her out. He was going to finally do it next time he saw her. He had a mother in Long Island who sent Adam a Christmas card every year and a brother who just got married in Queens. They had tickets to a Yankees game next week. Rick had a life. He had people who loved him. He was only doing his job. This can’t be how it ends. This can’t be how he dies.
Rick’s body started seizing up, muscles becoming rigid with impending death. The panic and hopeless fear in Rick’s eyes was replaced with the sad, silent realization every soldier gets in the battlefield when they know the fight is over. He turned his eyes to the sky, taking in the small sliver of a beautifully cruel blue. Again, Rick tried to say something, but swallowed blood instead. Or maybe he was just trying one last time to breathe. There would be no last words after all. Another few seconds crawled by and his eyes lost the light and an eerie stillness took ahold of his body.
Adam remained there for what seemed like hours. Rick’s eyes were still open, even though there was nothing looking out from behind them anymore. Adam’s hands have never shook in his life, but they trembled violently as he gently pushed Rick’s eyelids closed, clamping down on his face, trying not to scream. They would never open again. He didn’t know what else to do in this situation. He couldn’t feel anything. All that hyper clarity from earlier transformed into a blanketing numbness, masking all ability to feel. He didn’t know what to do except to sit there in a dirty New York City alleyway with his dead partner.
A pair of arms grabbed at him from behind and Adam woke up from his stupor. He almost pulled his gun and fired, before realizing it was only a paramedic. Time seemed to move in slow motion as he was pulled to his feet by two pairs of arms, his calves screaming in pain. The quiet street had turned into pandemonium in the blink of an eye. Ambulances and more squad cars were arriving, blue and red lights flashing, sirens wailing, but Adam’s ears were still ringing. They were all too late. The shooter was gone and a cop was dead. The hacking sound of the life draining away from Rick was all he heard. The world was spinning. He didn’t know what to do. Somehow he got dragged to the back of an ambulance. His ear was bleeding, and he didn’t even know. The bullet had caught the tip. He didn’t even feel it. Had it been an inch to the left, it would have gone through his brain.
His blood pressure was being taken from the back of an ambulance. A middle aged woman was putting antiseptic on his ear and bandaged it up tightly, cleaning the dried up blood that had dripped down to his neck, staining his collar. He watched as forensics started to take pictures of the newly minted crime scene. There was no rush to get Rick to a hospital. There’s no rush to save the dead. Flashes from the camera were methodical and bright, burning in the sight of Rick lying dead, exposed. Murdered.
Adam breathed in and then breathed out, unable to process anything but rage through the numbness filling his veins like lead. He was going to find the shooter. He was going to find the shooter and kill him and make him wish he’d never been born. If it was the last thing he’d do, he’d find the shooter and kill him.
Riley Marks was a low level drug dealer who grew up in Brooklyn. He had been in and out of jail since 17, but mainly for minor offenses. Marijuana possession. Vandalism. Petty theft. He works part time at an auto shop. His parents died when he was a teenager. He was an avid Giants fan. And as of this morning, he was the most wanted man in New York City.
It took all of two seconds to identify Marks as New York’s newest cop killer, thanks to the recently required body cams for the NYPD. Adam’s footage was useless, as he was behind the car for a majority of the exchange. Rick had been facing the shooter directly. There was a grainy, but perfectly acceptable image of Riley Marks turning his gun on Rick and firing. Rick never had time to pull his own gun. Never had a chance. Adam watched it, watched as Rick was hit with the first bullet, went down on the third shot. There had been at least nine bullets fired. Two more were found lodged in Rick’s vest. Marks kept shooting at Rick even though he was already down. Adam seethed with fury, arms crossed tightly in front of his chest as he watched the footage over and over.
The downtown precinct was vibrating with bloodlust. The sounds of phones ringing incessantly filled the air. People speaking in rushed voices and the beat of clipped footsteps pounded in the air of the entire office. Furiously fast hands flew across keyboards, the staccato clacking of keys a constant noise. The entire city was on high alert, desperate to find Riley Marks. This immediately rose to the top of the priority list. Everyone was put on the case.
Everyone except for Adam. He seemed to be the only cop in the city who was directly told to not get involved.
Adam was sitting at his desk, cluttered with post-it notes and paperwork he’s been continuously putting off for months, staring into space. He was supposed to be finishing his report on what happened, but couldn’t. He couldn’t write more than a few words. He kept tapping his pen against his lip, unable to focus, unable to see anything except Rick’s pallid face as he lay dying in his arms.
These things happen. Every cop knew that. There was always a risk every time you went out on your shift, to every call you respond to. It could have just as easily been him who caught the bullet. There were two round shaped scars on his abdomen that proved that was true.
“Wiles!” A voice called to him, waking him up from his daze. Adam took the pen from his mouth, straightening up, and turned to look at his ruddy faced captain walking towards him. “We picked up the girlfriend from Mark’s place. Thought you should know.”
Adam stood immediately, searching the spacious office for the low-life who was dating a cop killer. There was no one in the crowded room who he could identity as the girlfriend. Just a bunch of frenzied officers all on edge. He cleared his throat. He’s barely spoken since giving his initial statement. “Where is she?”
“They picked her up about five minutes ago. On the way up now. Perez is going to take the lead on questioning.”
“Let me talk to her.”
“You know that’s not going to happen.”
“What, why not? C’mon, let me just talk to her for a minute.” Adam demanded, unfazed.
“No.” The captain said bluntly. “You’re too close to this case. Your judgement is clouded.”
“Hell, like anyone else’s isn’t?” He objected loudly, raising his hand in defense. “He killed a cop, name one person in this building who’s going to be objective!”
The captain let out a sigh. “Give it a rest, Wiles. Finish your report and then come talk to me.” The captain turned on his heel and navigated through the labyrinth of messy desks back to his office. Adam let out a huff of anger and was going to take a break for coffee before waiting for the girlfriend to show up when he felt the air in the room change. It wasn’t an audible or visible change and probably went unnoticed by everyone else on the floor, but Adam felt it. His head twisted around and the rest of his body followed when he saw the reason for the disturbance.
It was her. He knew it was her. She was walking fast, escorted by two detectives dressed in suits on either side of her. Her head was down, her chopped dirty blonde hair covering her face. Her jeans were ripped and dirty, her lanky arms stiff at her sides, revealing how uncomfortable she felt in her current surroundings. Her fingers were filled with cheap looking silver rings. There were no visible tattoos, but a girl like that always had them. A midriff bared her stomach. The word trash drifted through his mind. She stuck out like a sore thumb, so very clearly out of her element in the land of law and order.
Adam watched the girlfriend move as she was being led to the interrogation rooms. His eyes followed her, like a lion stalking his prey. Though uncomfortable, she looked defiant. She looked like she very clearly did not belong and knew it along with everyone else. Like a feral cat backed into a corner, he could tell she would put up a fight.
Adam stood motionlessly, lips parted, head tilted down, watching her with death in his eyes. Hatred burned like a laser into her. Right now, she was the closest thing they had to Marks. All the residual blame he was feeling was transferred directly onto her shoulders.
Another heartbeat later, her gaze turned to meet his and their eyes connected and it was electricity. Black eyeliner was smudged around her eyelids highlighting light eyes. Leftover mascara from the night prior tinged the skin underneath her eyes. She had to have felt it. She had to have felt him staring at her from across the room, through all the people passing between them, through all the internal and external noise bouncing off the ceiling, she had to have felt his presence. It was like his world and her world stopped moving, everyone else still carrying on like nothing happened. She could feel the hatred. It was demonic. It was stunning how quickly it could form between two strangers.
She didn’t look away. Her head turned to hold the eye contact as she rounded the corner coming closer to him, unable to break the gaze even if she wanted to. People have told her before that she scared them. That she was tough. Her look could cut you down in a heartbeat. But there was no one person scarier than the way he was looking at her right now. It wasn’t a scowl. It wasn’t a grimace. It was like he wanted to kill her. She disappeared behind a wall and the connection was broken, leaving her rattled and Adam standing alone in the middle of the room, surrounded by all his colleagues. His eyes burned and he blinked, switching his gaze back in front of him, feeling his heart beating faster.
He went over to the captain’s secretary desk. There was a file on top of all the papers that he saw the captain drop off. Looking around, checking to make sure the captain wouldn’t pop out from the shadows, Adam flipped open the file. The girlfriend. This was her file. Her unsmiling driver’s license photo greeted him in full color. All her dirty information laid bare on the first page. Her address, date of birth, occupation, work address, education, social security number, income. He memorized them quickly flipping the file folder closed.
He rolled her name over his tongue, tasting it until it was familiar against his lips. The captain had told him to let other’s handle this case, told him to stay away. But he couldn’t do that. He owed it to Rick to get justice. And by the look in her eye, Adam knew the girlfriend was going to be the key to getting it for him.
I look forward to meeting you very soon.
A/N - Yikes that was long. It’ll get better/make sense, I promise, dont hate me. Tell me what you think I NEED TO KNOW xx