The Shift That Struck Back
The neighborhood they were in was run down. Being in this neighborhood at night was risky but C.S.I. often were. Nick glanced out the passenger window, seeing Grissom’s reflection from the across the vehicle. Grissom had been unusually quiet tonight. Nick rested his head against the passenger seat.
“First call of the night sounds like it’ll be busy.”
“Yes,” Grissom answered.
Nick glanced at him. He sounded tired. He was about to comment when his attention was drawn to a flash of bright light between two houses. Grissom turned the Denali onto the next street, headed straight for the bright lights. Nick sat up, staring at what they were driving into. There were police cars, unmarked police cars, unmarked cars, media, two ambulances, a fire truck, and the coroner’s car. It was surrounded by a crowd of bystanders and reporters.
“What is going on?” Nick mused out loud.
Grissom’s thought echoed Nick’s sentiments. A police officer pointed to where they needed to pull up, behind Brass’ car, and then turned back to help with crowd control. The two climbed out and immediately they were barraged by camera flashes, bright points of video camera lights, and questions.
“Get inside. Don’t talk to anyone,” Grissom called to Nick.
Nick didn’t argue with that.
The two headed inside. Nick glanced at agents passing them, reading the DEA and FBI on the backs of their jackets. He looked at Grissom. He seemed to be noticing the same thing.
“Did dispatch tell you anything about the scene?” Nick asked him.
Grissom shook his head. “They just said a homicide and sexual assault were reported. No mention of all this,” Grissom motioned at the commotion around them.
“Do any of these people realize they’re destroying evidence?”
The two entered the house. Two FBI agents jogged past them, pushing them out of their way. They moved back to a wall, watching the commotion.
“Who are you?” someone demanded.
The two looked up, watching a DEA agent storm up to them. “No press in here. Get out!”
“C.S.I.,” Grissom said, flicking his lapel up so the agent could read the print on his jacket. “We were told to report here for a homicide and sexual assault.”
“We don’t need you guys. Get out.”
“Yes we do,” Brass said, walking up.
The DEA agent turned to Brass. “We have jurisdiction.”
“Well, until you can produce papers saying that, and then the Under Sheriff calls me, it’s my crime scene. Maybe you can explain to me why the FBI and DEA are so interested in a dead drug dealer in the kitchen and his woman, who was probably on crack herself. Why has she barricaded herself in the bedroom bathroom at the back?”
Brass glanced at Grissom.
“I told you that this couple has been working with us for five years,” the agent told him.
Grissom slowly moved around the two and Nick followed. They moved toward the bathroom. It had been taped off, luckily, and there was no one in the area.
“Where do you want me, Grissom? Bathroom or kitchen?”
“Take the kitchen.”
Nick nodded. He stopped to slip on some booties and then ducked under the tape. Grissom headed toward the only bedroom he had seen in the small house. There were two paramedics and several DEA and FBI agents standing at the door. A female DEA was standing at the door.
“Mason, please open this door,” she begged.
Grissom stood back, watching the scene.
“Mason, we know you’re hurt. We have paramedics out here, two females. They want to help you. We all do. You have to open the door for us though. Please, Mason.”
“Maybe we should just break down the door,” an FBI agent suggested.
The woman glared at him and whispered, “This woman is my responsibility. You’re not breaking down the door and scaring her more. Get out of here!”
Grissom looked down the hall into the kitchen. He returned to the kitchen. This was clearly going to take a while, so it was better to process what crime scene they could.
Greg stopped the Denali outside of a dumpy house. He and Catherine climbed out with field kits in tow. They could hear a man inside the house screaming from the street. The C.S.I. walked inside, finding police trying to subdue the screaming man. A woman was cowering in the corner even as a police officer shielded her from the man.
“What’s the situation?” Catherine asked the police officer with the woman.
The officer answered, “Neighbors heard gunshots. She’s been shot in the arm but won’t leave the house. He’s out of control. We’re pretty sure he’s on something.”
“Did he have a gun when you arrived?”
“No. But when she was still talking, she said he ditched it outside before he came back in. He was wailing on her when we got here.”
“Greg, start looking for the gun outside. I’ll work with the woman until we get them out of here.”
Greg nodded and headed back outside. He sat his kit near the front steps and pulled his camera strap over his head. Greg grabbed a flashlight and began combing the front lawn, working toward the driveway. He spotted the weapon in the bushes separating this yard from the next. Greg put his flashlight in his mouth and dug gloves from his pocket. He looked back when more yelling erupt from inside. Catherine suddenly came running out with the victim and pulled her against the house as gunshots rang out inside.
Greg heard a door inside slam and a vehicle engine rumble to life. A pickup barreled through the closed garage door right at Greg.
“GREG!” he heard Catherine scream.
Greg jumped aside to avoid being hit by the pickup, but couldn’t miss the large side mirror. It slammed against his cheek, knocking him off balance. He felt the air move as the pickup he was falling toward whooshed past. Arms flailing he hit his arm on the fender and his camera strap snagged on the edge of the tailgate.
Greg let out a sharp cry as the camera strap jerked tight around his neck and yanked him off his feet. As he was drug behind the pickup, it was quickly strangling him to death. Greg tried to grab at the strap to pull himself free, but the nylon strap was resilient. It appeared his luck suddenly turned when the sharp edge of the tailgate severed the strap as the pick-up barreled around a corner. Then his luck appeared to go downhill again. The momentum of the turn sent Greg rolling into the street, right in front of an oncoming van.
From the house, Catherine watched in horror. The van’s tires squealed and smoke rose up in to hide Greg from view. The second it registered the van was stopped Catherine sprinted toward it. She watched the teenage driver and his three friends leapt out and run to the front, disappearing in the rubber smoke.
Greg stared at the tire inches from his nose. He was so scared his brain was convinced they tires hadn’t stopped. When his brain and sight came back together, telling him the vehicle had stopped and he was safe, he slowly rolled over. All he could see was the white smoke of burned rubber, and then four teenage faces appeared.
“Dude! You almost died!” the driver told him. “I mean, two seconds more and you would have been road kill!”
Greg stared at the teenager a moment before telling him, “I hadn’t noticed, dude.”
Catherine pushed through the boys, crouching down. “Are you alright, Greg?”
“I’m pretty sure I have road rash up my back. My face feels like someone took a baseball bat to it. And—”
“Looks it too,” the teenager told him. “Did they?”
“No. And my camera is busted.” Greg held up the remains of his camera.
Busted maybe wasn’t the best word for it. He had to hold it up with two hands and parts fell off.
“Wow! I guess you’ll need a new camera,” one of the teenagers said.
“Really?” Greg shot back at him.
“Guys, thanks for your help. And you—” she pointed at the driver. “Good driving.”
The kid beamed. “Thanks, lady!”
She turned back to Greg. “Would you like to get out of the middle of the street now?”
“No. I enjoy feeling of the rocks embedded in my back and elbow.”
She smiled, holding out her hand. “Come on. Let’s get you to the hospital and get ‘em picked out.”
Greg took her hand and let her help him up, dropping his C.S.I. badge. He turned to get it and found one of the teenagers looking at it.
“You’re a policeman?” the boy asked.
Greg shook his head. “C.S.I.”
“Oh. Well, nice to have not hit you, dude.”
“Thanks. Later,” Greg started hobbling toward the Denali.
Catherine chuckled a little. She tried brushing him off.
“OW! Ow! Don’t touch. No touching. No.”
She held her laughter until they were in the vehicle, and then couldn’t stop chuckling all the way to the hospital.