Continued from Chapter 29.
“Colin…Colin…Colin, are you okay?”
From somewhere, behind the spinning blur of greys, whites and blacks, a vaguely familiar woman’s voice beckoned him. His mouth was tender and a tingling sensation radiated up into his nose and forehead. He opened his eyes to an unfocused world.
The voice turned authoritative, “21-23 Trudeau, add another ambulance to our location. I have Detective Fahey in the north stairwell; he has suffered head injuries and is semi-conscious.”
“Colin, can you hear me?” the voice said, once again gentle and soothing.
Colin reached clumsily with both hands to check the damage to his face. The mere contact of his fingertips sent pain shooting over his entire face. His nose felt stuffy. He snuffled in an effort to clear it and spat a wad of blood, mucous and saliva. The effort made his head spin and he sat back with a groan.
“Sit still, Colin,” the voice commanded gently. “Can you see me?”
Colin looked up and slowly focused on the fuzzy image of Shelley Trudeau.
“Don’t try to talk. You got beat up pretty bad,” said Shelley, as she knelt, put an arm around him and held his shoulders to balance him.
Several other officers appeared in the stairwell and he was aware of hands lifting him to his feet. The journey down the stairwell was hazy. Someone placed him on the seat of a car as he pieced the events together.
“Juffothon…Juffothon. Ded we get ‘im?” Colin mumbled through a swollen mouth, suddenly remembering what had happened.
“What was that, Colin?” said Shelley, with a puzzled look.
“Juffothon,” he said louder, frustrated by his impaired speech, “Ded we get dah Eth-O-B, Juffothon?”
Shelley smiled, realizing what Colin was trying to say, “Yeah, we got him. A dog unit nailed him over on Friars Road.”
Colin sank back, “Gud.” Then remembering more, “Ith Cahl, otay?”
“Carl’s OK. He won’t be able to sit down for a while, but he is going to be all right. He’s on his way to UCSD.”
Shelley stood and waved; a few seconds later a paramedic van pulled up. The first paramedic was a rotund man, his ruddy face covered by a large scraggly red beard. His companion, a diminutive woman, wore her black hair in a tight bun. Grey plastic-frame glasses softened her otherwise severe features. She carried a large plastic first-aid kit as they walked over to Shelley, Colin and the gaggle of officers standing by. The first paramedic, upon seeing Colin’s face, let a low whistle. “If you were the winner, I’d hate to see the other guy.”
Colin tried to smile, but a painful, “Oooohh” was all he could manage.
The paramedic slipped on a pair of thin latex gloves to examine Colin’s face. “Now this is going to hurt…a lot.”
“Aht leath yor honeth,” mumbled Colin, grinning slightly despite the pain.
“Yes, I am honest. Now you let me know when it hurts,” said the paramedic as he gently pressed against Colin’s face.
Colin winced, but did not cry out.
The paramedic stopped and produced a small flashlight from his shirt pocket. “Now, I want you to close your eyes and open them when I tell you. You got that?”
Colin closed his eyes and nodded. After a about a minute, the paramedic told Colin to open his eyes and flashed the light in the left eye and then the right eye.
“Hmmmm,” the paramedic said standing, apparently satisfied with the results of his brief examination. “I’d say you got a broken nose and possibly a fracture of one or more of the facial bones. You also have some lacerations on the inside of your mouth, so you can expect some swelling around your mouth. Obviously, the swelling is going to impair your speech.”
“No shith.” remarked Colin.
The paramedic smiled and continued, “The good news is that your pupils are symmetrical and respond appropriately to light, so I don’t think you have a concussion, but we’re going to take you up to the hospital to be checked out. Even if you weren’t to begin with, you’re not going to be very pretty for the next few days, but you probably will be able to play the piano again.”
“I don’ play the piano,” mumbled Colin.
“See, I guess this worked out for the best. You’ve gained a new career in entertainment. Ready to go?” he said.
Colin shook his head, falling for such an old, bad joke. “Shure.” He began to rise to his unsteady feet.
Shelley grabbed his arm, “I’m coming, too.”
“No sweat,” answered the paramedic, “Why don’t you give us a hand putting Rocky Marciano here in the van.”
Together they lifted Colin onto the gurney in the back of the van. After he was securely strapped in, the van started on the short trip to the hospital. The bearded paramedic drove while his partner rode in the back. She gently placed an ice pack over Colin’s mouth and nose. After the immediate stinging sensation subsided, the ice slowly numbed the pain. Colin looked at Shelley. He noticed she was holding his hand tightly and shaking.
“Whath wrong?” said Colin, removing the ice pack from his swollen mouth.
“It’s not over. She’s still out there.”
Colin looked over at Carl, flat on his stomach, buttocks exposed and elevated. After being x-rayed, Colin had been put in the same curtained cubicle with Carl, who was sleeping like a baby. The lack of sleep combined with the pain medications he had been given had knocked him out for the count. A large bandage fastened to his right buttock was the only evidence Carl had been shot. Colin smiled, painfully, imagining all the crooks Carl had put away over the years who would have loved finding him in that position.
Colin, his nose stuffed with cotton, was also beginning to feel the effects of the pain medication he had been given when Scott Raines pulled back the curtain. He glanced at Carl, then to Colin and shook his head.
“At this rate, Team Four is going to be Team None by tomorrow,” said Scott Raines.
“Ahm okay Sharge. Puh me in, I can run the hunred.” smiled Colin, dreamily. “Where’d de take Juffothon?”
“He is here,” said Scott Raines, with a sigh. “But he is not ours anymore.”
“Wha?” said Colin, lifting himself from the hospital bed.
“Mr. Jefferson is now in federal custody,” said the sergeant.
“I don unnsthanth,” said Colin.
“Remember the problems we were having with the DEA getting information yesterday?” he began. “Well, when the patrol units arrived here with Mr. Jefferson, a team lead by Special Agent Milton Ferris greeted them and took custody of him pursuant to a federal warrant. By the time I found them, they had already cut a deal with him. In exchange for immunity from prosecution in Pete’s murder and the other two, he is going to do some major informing on drug traffickers,” Scott Raines paused and sighed.
Colin was dumbstruck. Was that all a cop’s life was worth, information on a bunch of pushers. His friend was dead and the federal government had traded the murderer for some information. What the hell was he doing anyway? Did anything matter if someone higher up could just sweep it away? He looked over at Carl. Thank God he was asleep. He would not take this news well at all. Colin did not envy Scott Raines being the one to tell him.
“Thath bool shith.” said Colin.
“If it’s any consolation, Colin, Jefferson maintains he was not the one who pulled the trigger. He says he was around the corner. The woman, Sheila Masters, did all three. He gave the order on the two inside the shop; apparently Pete was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a part of the deal, Jefferson will be required to testify against her when we bring her to trial,” added Scott Raines.
“Tho, where do we find the bith?” demanded Colin.
“She was apparently driving Jefferson’s van. A patrol unit found it over by Thrashers. It has been impounded and they found a gun in the glove box. We checked out the motel where Jefferson said she was staying with her companion, but it was empty. He tells us she did time in Louisiana, so were checking that out for more background information. But nothing so far.”
“I cand believe thith.” growled Colin.
“I had a call from the Northern Division investigators a while ago. They think Masters and her friend, Tyrone, kidnapped a cabby yesterday and took him and another guy to San Clemente Canyon to execute them. The cabby got away. He thinks the other guy was killed. Patrol officers are searching the area now.”
“Jethuth, wad is wid dees people?” remarked Colin.
“I don’t know.” replied Scott Raines. “Oh, you will be happy to hear that no matter where Jefferson ends up, he is going to spend the rest of his life without the use of testicles and half a dick. Seems the canine unit was a little overzealous in its capture.”
“Well at leath der’s some good newth,” said Colin.
“The hospital wants to observe you overnight. They are going to take you upstairs in a few minutes.” Scott Raines looked over at Carl. “I have seen to it you and Sleeping Beauty will share a room. Just take it easy. You have done a remarkable job, Colin. Do you want me to call Claire?”
“No, I beddah do that,” said Colin. “She’ll pwabbly think ith a obthene phone call.”
“Well, she is going to be none too pleased to see that mug of yours. You have two real good shiners working there.” Scott Raines rolled his head from one side to the other and stretched. “I am going to take a break. I will see you in a bit.”
Colin lay back on the bed as Scott Raines made his way to the coffee room.
Pouring himself a Styrofoam cup of old hospital coffee, Scott sat down in the broken down easy chair and prepared to take a short nap.
A nurse entered the room. “Sergeant Raines?” she asked.
“The one and only,” he said with a sigh.
She gave the tired man a sympathetic look. “There is a call for you on line three,” she said and left the room.
Scott Raines looked at the flashing light on the telephone. “What now?” he said out loud. Picking up the receiver, he said, “Sergeant Raines here.”
“Are you the sergeant of the cop who killed Tyrone last night?” asked the southern-twanged female voice on the other end of the line.
Scott Raines hesitated. “A police officer did not kill anyone last night.”
“Bullshit!” yelled the voice. Then calmer, “I was there, I saw it.”
“Well, we are still investigating the shooting,” he said, not wanting to lose the caller.
“Investigate all the fuck you want, I know what happened, I was there,” hissed the voice. Before he could respond, the voice continued, “I got your telephone number at the hospital from your office. Now listen up. You want me. I’m the one that killed that pig the other night.”
Scott Raines felt an involuntary shiver start at his shoulders and go down his back.
“If you want me, and I’m sure you do, you have that asshole who killed Tyrone last night at your office in one hour. I’ll talk to him only, and I’ll give myself up to him only. We have some business to finish up. Do you understand?”
The voice was matter of fact. Scott Raines was unsure what to say. “If Detective Amadiana shot someone, we want to know, tell me where you are and we will bring you in…as a witness.”
“Detective Amadiana?” the voice paused. “Well, you’ve heard my deal. Now do it or I’m going to start some more killing. I’m sure your fucked up town won’t be happy about who I take out next.”
Sheila Masters hung up the telephone abruptly.
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