Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gassed Up

The dude was looking at me like he wanted to cause trouble, get into a fight, do some damage to my face – hurt me. I don’t think he knew me, but I sure knew him.

I had just pulled into a gas station. He was filling up a primer-grey pickup, weaving back and forth like he had too much energy. He was staring at me – hard.

He was six four or five, close to 300 pounds and about 35 years old. Jailhouse tattoos adorned his arms and neck.

Was he on something? Probably, or he was just in one of those moods.

I knew that if I gave him a reason, any reason at all – he’d be up in my business in a second.

I decided to give the prick a reason, because I myself was in one of those moods, ready for trouble, ready to give or receive pain or do both at the same time. I was ready for my entire world to go vivid with adrenaline-pumped brightness. I was ready for blood to flow.

I got out of my Jeep and just stood, meeting his stare.

“Hey,” he said, “you got a problem asshole?”

“Yes,” I said, “My problem is that I can’t believe what a stupid-looking ugly dumbass you are.”

I walked closer to him, to within two feet. I kept staring into his insane eyes.

“Not only are you ugly,” I said, “you stink. I think I might puke.”

I wasn’t a big scary-looking guy. In fact, I was only about five ten, one sixty, and with my grey hair and beard I looked older than my age – 50.

He dropped the gas nozzle on the ground and came up so close to me we could’ve kissed – if I got on my tippy toes.

I could see in his eyes and in his shift in posture that he was gearing up for a huge sweeping punch with his right hand.

I ducked just in time and rammed my head as hard as I could into his huge gut. This knocked the air out of him and he fell back – bam – and hit his head against the back bumper of his truck. This didn’t knock him out but he was momentarily disoriented.

I picked up the nozzle. I straddled his chest and forced the nozzle into his mouth, ready to choke him with the barrel and to pull the trigger and drown him with gas.

Sirens screamed as two patrol cars pulled up at the same time. Two officers in each car – three men and one woman – got out with their guns drawn.

“Drop it,” one of the cops said, “now.”

I had four guns pointed at me. I did what I was told. I dropped the nozzle and stood.

“Put your hands behind your head,” the cop told me.

The big guy on the ground managed to stagger up too.

Unfortunately for him, he was recognized. They’d been looking for him. He made an inkling of a motion like he was reaching for something behind his back and all four cops fired at him at the same time.

I’m pretty sure he was dead before he hit the ground.

His name was Johnny Diaz and he’d just murdered his wife, his mother-in-law, his two daughters and his son. His wife had served divorce papers on him that morning, telling him that she wanted to marry another man. This pissed him off.

The first cop to get to me was the woman. She had lovely green eyes. Her honey-blonde hair was back in a severe bun.

“I guess I’m not surprised to see you here, Dan,” she said.

“Did you see them?” I asked. “Did you see what he did to them?”

“Yes,” she said, “we must’ve got there right after you left.”

Her name was Lila Rupp. We were partners the last couple of years before I retired. She was a good cop. At one time, we’d been lovers but now we were just close friends.

She knew all about me and Maria Diaz.