George Lawrence cracked Little Red up across the jaw with his forearm and she hit the floor like a sack of potatoes. Ned came busting out of the bedroom, hell-bent for the fat cop. Sergeant O’Conner tripped the big black man as he blasted through the kitchen, sending him flying over the table and headfirst into his target. The two men tore at one another like wild dogs. Ned pried at the snap of the deputy’s holster to wrench out his pistol. It was touch-and-go until Horace McCarthy shot Ned square in the back of the head. Little Red was up on one elbow, just a couple feet away and she got some brains and chunks of skull splashed on her. She screamed and screamed and screamed.
Over all her racket, the cops heard the unmistakable sound of a shell being jacked into a shotgun. All hell
broke loose when Dean pulled the trigger of the twelve-guage. My pal Horace never had a chance. He just got
blown to bits. O’Conner pulled the kitchen table down on its side and slammed his back up against it. He landed on some of Ned and slipped in it. “Officer down,” he hollered into his radio. Dean ducked out of the doorway and reloaded.
Harvey was awake, now, but he pretended to be nvisible, there on the kitchen floor. Little Red blasted past him like a burned cat. She slammed the master bedroom door behind her, desperate to escape.
The cops riddled the kitchen wall with bullets, figuring to pierce it and hit Dean. No luck with that,
though. He came rolling across the doorway blasting. He’d been a paratrooper in Afghanistan and he was an absolute wild man. The kitchen table exploded and the State cop O’Conner took a few pellets in the shoulder and in his back. He let out a yell, spun around and struggled to his knees. His pistol was in both his shaking hands. But Dean was out of sight again. O’Conner slid back onto his stomach, the shredded table hiding him from nothing. He closed his eyes against the pain and lay unprotected, praying he wouldn’t be shot any more.
The cops proceeded to pulverize the wall next to the doorway with bullets. Detective Loeb sprinted out the back door and ran around to the front of the house. He found a brick in the lawn and tossed it through the picture window into the living room. That knocked down a blanket that was hanging there and Loeb got a good look at Dean’s shoulder-blades.
“Drop that gun,” he yelled.
Dean spun, gun at his shoulder, until he was squinting down the long barrel at the detective. A second later his dead eyes were staring at the ceiling and blood was spouting out from his forehead onto the floor.
Elsewhere inside the house, the living cops, including O’Conner, who was straining to stay awake, all had their weapons out and they were looking for targets. Mary Lou Turnage snatched her wallet out of her purse and then ran and locked herself into the bathroom. She went to work trying to unlock and open a window that had been
painted shut sometime in the past decade.
After working up a sweat, she forced it open with a bang, stood on the toilet seat and threw herself through the screen and out into the mud out back. She hit the ground running, scooping up her skirt in her hand, and she
stumbled into the woods.
Back in the kitchen, Sergeant O’Conner tried to push himself up to a kneeling position, but he couldn’t. He
lay facedown on the bloody floor. Wilber Scott asked him if he was okay.
“No. I’m not okay,” spat out the Statey. “I been shot. Jeezus.” He squeezed his eyes shut again and shuddered against the pain.
Scott ripped apart the shreds of O’Conner’s shirt and was hit with a wave of nausea as he checked out the holes in his fellow officer. Dallas Perkins was shoveling his way through some kitchen drawers, throwing handfuls of kitchen tools on the counter and into the sink. He was looking for a clean towel. He finally did locate one. He ran some cold water on it from the sink, squeezed it out, and pressed it down against O’Conner’s back.
“You’ll be okay,” he said, as he watched the white towel turn pink and then dark red. “Just lay still.
Medics are coming.” He applied pressure with the palms of his hands to the hot blood pouring out of his friend. O’Conner didn’t complain. He’d gone into shock. Standing behind Perkins, Wilber Scott was using his radio, calling again for an ambulance and for more police.
“I’m going outside to check on Loeb,” Scott said. He held his pistol, barrel upwards, tight against his chest. He looked to George Lawrence and said, “Take over in here,” and then he was out the back door.
He joined the lieutenant and the two of them circled the house in opposite directions, looking for other shooters.
Young Dallas Preston was feeling sick. His hands were sticky and hot from O’Conner’s churning blood. Its oppressive sweetness stank heavy in the air. Blood was beginning to pool underneath the state policeman’s chin. Preston had a crazy thought that he should roll the body over to check its chest and keep its mouth out of the spreading pool. Within five feet of him, lay the remains of his partner Horace McCarthy and the dead black man.
George Lawrence saw how pale Dallas was getting and wondered if the younger man might vomit. He hurried to the bedroom where Mary Lou’s purse was turned upside down on top of a queen-sized bed. He pulled a blanket off that bed, sending the purse and its discarded contents flying through the air. The purse landed in a corner of the room, pushing gobs of dust ahead of it.
Lawrence then returned to the kitchen and thoughtfully placed the blanket softly over the remains of patrolman McCarthy. He jerked open a door under the kitchen counter, found a dry towel and took Perkins’ spot, trying to stop the bleeding from O’Conner’s back. He told Dallas Perkins to go outside and get some fresh air. Perkins, dazed, nearly fell as he stood up. Then he found a less-than-disgusting rag, turned O’Conner’s chin a bit to the side, and mopped up some of the blood that was leaking towards the downed policeman’s mouth.
“Get otta here,” said Lawrence. The young cop wandered out of the kitchen, walked around the house and into the front yard. He watched Deputy Scott and Lieutenant Loeb as they circled the building to either side of him. Dallas Perkins stood perfectly still with his handgun pointing to the ground. He didn’t know what to do. He felt all alone.
Deputy Lawrence heard a baby yowling somewhere. He figured it wasn’t a threat to him and he ignored it.
Somewhere in the distance, sirens were screaming. They were getting closer.