The kid leads me right to him. A crowd has gathered. The believers. Short of gunning every one of them down where they stand, there’s only one way out of this mess.
I flash Abbott’s badge,
“FBI. Everybody just remain calm, and stay where you are.”
The last thing I need is a panic, or everybody to scatter and run. I can’t let even one of them escape.
Behind me the clouds burst radiate heat. I can feel it all the way down here.
One of the believers asks what’s going on, here.
“Federal business,” I say.
Khaddafiy shuffles slowly towards the crowd, who back away and circle around him. Clutched in his hand (possibly aided by rigor mortis), is the moon rock, the very thing animating his lifeless body. He’s caked in blood, mostly his own. The body of one of the street kids lies crumpled and chewed up on the pavement. Too bad he ain’t got no moon rock for himself.
Some of the believers ask about the sky, behind me.
“Terrorist alert, very high.”
This sends the crowds into a panic. I hate using the line, it was a dirty trick in the early eighties that my predecessor played on the masses of believers. UFO? Lights in the sky? Terrorists. Zombie? Werewolf? Monster? No, terrorist. My predecessor used the excuse so often, the people didn’t believe in monsters anymore, they believed in terrorists. Then the terrorists showed up …
“Did anybody see what happened here?”
A few step all over each other answering about how they saw the zombie munching on the street kid.
I pull out Abbott’s gun.
“Uh huh. Okay, I’m gonna have to ask everybody to step away while I disarm the suspect, please.”
They do. I fire. Miss. Hm, gun‘s got a good kick. I’m not used to this sort of thing.
I fire. Miss.
I wipe beads of sweat from my forehead. A dumpy, bespectacled middle aged woman with short curly brown hair and a white rhine-stoned kitten sweater grimaces and covers both her ears.
I hit him in the forearm. Not good enough.
Once more, right in the wrist.
He drops the moon rock and collapses. I kick the rock away and speak into my jacket collar.
“I’ve disarmed the escaped mental patient. Repeat, I’ve disarmed the escaped mental patient. Over.”
The looks of relief and realization on the faces of the crowd are priceless.
I look back, up at the sky. The orange and red beams swirl and swell around the blue mist raised from the ground like a giant spike. Cosmic forces of light and dark met in a metaphysical arm wrestling match, visible for all to see. The heat from the beams dissipates and dies altogether along with the light. The blue mist peters out and wisps away. A shape flies into the dying red embers of the clouds … one of the street kids?
“Looks like the anti-terrorist jets have been scrambled. You folks better go inside now. Lot of terrorists activity going on tonight.”
And they do.
But my night’s not finished, I’ve got to pick up Abbott and get him out of Victory Square. If I know my eternal battles of light and dark there’s going to be reports of mass grave desecration tomorrow in the papers.
ONE MORE SMOKE FOR THE ROAD
9 years ago