Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wrong Place, Right Tie

ACPD surround bank robbery suspect

Waves of heat roll off the blacktop. Diego adjusts his tie, his cheap suit clinging to the skin of his back, and sits on the edge of a dried-up planter, dropping his briefcase between his feet.

He runs a hand through his hair and checks the clock on the bank sign. Thirty minutes late. Across the plaza, a small park beckons with the lure of shade.

In the distance, there’s a screech of tires and the wail of sirens. A white sedan shoots around the corner, nearly tilting onto two wheels. Diego jumps up as it speeds past him, staring at the license plate.

A second later he’s surrounded by cop cars, lights flashing. “Down on the ground! Down on the ground!” someone orders.

Before Diego has the chance to think about what he’s doing, he’s running, the briefcase clutched to his chest like a shield. He can hear shouts and the slap of combat boots on pavement behind him.

The roar of a shot fills the plaza. Diego doesn’t feel a thing: one moment he’s running, the next his cheek is pressing into hot concrete. With what seems agonizing slowness, he pushes himself up and sees blood. A boot kicks into his back, forcing him down.

Diego looks into the barrel of a shotgun, then the lined face of the old man holding it.

With a rush, his hearing comes back. The cops are shouting in the distance. Diego locks eyes with the old man, grabs the barrel hovering in front of his face, and tugs. When the man stumbles forward, Diego pushes back, smacking the old man's cheekbone with the butt of the rifle.

The guy who fancies himself a Clint Eastwood character lands on his ass on the sidewalk and Diego struggles to his feet, pulling the rifle out of the other man’s hands. A quick survey of the blindingly bright square reveals a 1985 Buick running, unoccupied, at the curb. Definitely and an old man car.

Keeping one hand pressed to his side, Diego limps to the Buick, tossing the rifle and briefcase into the passenger seat before sliding behind the wheel. He peels off just as the blue-clad arm of a police officer darts into the open window and grabs hold of his tie. The polyester slips from between the cop’s fingers as Diego stomps on the accelerator and pulls away in a burn of rubber.