Chapter 44 - Happy Place Disrupted
Lieutenant Todd Henry was enjoying his last day of his “stay in town” vacation to complete some much needed chores around the house. One of these chores, well it wasn’t a chore to him, was mowing his large two acre yard on his brand new 360 degree, zero turn, Grasshopper mower. Grasshopper mowers owned the market for zero degree lawn cutters at this time and Todd had wanted one for over a year. He finally splurged once he made Lieutenant and his pay raise kicked in. It didn’t matter that he had just mowed his yard four days earlier when he first began his small stay at home vacation; mowing the yard was one of his few joys outside of work that Todd had. Well, that and playing with his two young twin daughters, Charlene and Cassie. They were his pride and joy and had just celebrated their 5th birthday.
He felt his pager on his waist vibrate. Todd didn’t like pagers and didn’t like having to wear one all the time.
Todd looked at it. The police dispatch number was displayed.
“Dammit why the heck is work paging me?” Todd said out loud. “They know I am on my one and only vacation this year.”
I’m not going to call Todd thought. I’m still on my vacation and whatever they think they need me for can freaking wait.
He started his Grasshopper mower back up and began cutting again. Cutting perfectly again that is. After a few minutes, Todd was back in his cutting zone. It was a good zone to be in.
A few more minutes passed of being in his happy place and back in his zone. Then, well then, the pager vibrated again on his waist letting him know a new message had been received.
No, I am not checking the message Todd thought to himself. Only twenty more minutes and the yard will be finished and perfect again. When I am done, I will check the message then.
Two minutes later, the pager vibrated again on his waistband. Goddammit Todd thought. They know I am off and they keep harassing me. Todd cut the mower off, stepped off his pride and joy and walked into the kitchen. Todd picked up the phone on the wall and called the number displayed on the last page he got that said, Call ASAP!
“WHAT?” Todd yelled angrily into the phone when a voice he didn’t recognized answered.
“Todd, it’s Chief Joe Johnson. You need to get over to the Jefferson Standard building NOW!”
“Wha what? Todd said, “Chief, I don’t understand. It’s my last day off on my vacation.” Todd said confused about the request he just heard Chief make and why he hell is Chief involved and paging me.
“Todd, I know it’s your fucking day off, I don’t care. It’s Susan fucking Morrissey. You know, SUSAN? She has shot and killed her husband and has taken a hostage and is demanding for you to come and speak with her on the roof at the Jefferson Standard Building.”
“Jesus Fucking Christ Chief. She’s fucking killed her husband?” Todd asked and continued, “Shit, no, she wouldn’t have done that… I would have acted if I knew she would…”
Chief Johnson cut Todd off abruptly.
“Todd, shut the fuck up and listen to me. You’re one of my best fucking officers that I have in this department, and that is why I promoted you to Lieutenant. No one and I mean no one Todd is questioning you on any actions or non-actions you took or didn’t take with Mrs. Susan Morrissey. You know as I do that no one knows when someone may lose it. Well Lieutenant, Susan Morrissey has fucking lost it and if there is anyone that can possibly save her life and that poor lady’s life she took hostage, it will be you.
“I appreciate you saying that Chi…” Chief Cut Todd off again and said,
“So please get your fucking ass to the Jefferson Standard Building and run the fastest and under control emergency traffic you have ever run as you now only have thirty-nine fucking minutes to get to that roof or she said she is going to kill her hostage.” Chief stated as direct as he possibly could to Lieutenant Henry.
Todd dropped the phone not even saying goodbye. Chief Johnson had a way of getting the best out of people with his unique way of motivating others and Todd was no different. Within five minutes, Lieutenant Todd Henry was running the fastest and under control emergency traffic he had ever ran, sirens and blue lights wailing the entire way to the Jefferson Standard building located in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina.
Normally, it would have taken Todd forty-five minutes to get downtown.
Today, Lieutenant Henry made it in twenty-one minutes. Thirteen minutes to spare.