CURVE BALL

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Chapter Thirty-Seven

The ambulance arrived. Its siren wound down. A blue and white and two other cars soon joined the flashing red lights. Detectives stepped out of each of their vehicles. Billy Dee stood with the paramedics who had Melissa on a stretcher.

“You see what happened?” Detective Steve Majuski flashed his badge.

Billy Dee nodded. “Yeah, I was about twenty-five feet from her.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Billy Dee saw the other detective circle around him.

“He’s packing,” the other detective yelled, and leapt at Billy Dee. The detective’s shoulder crashed into his side. He missed falling on the stretcher and landed on the asphalt. As hands grabbed at him, all he could get out was “Cop”. How much time passed he didn’t know. He found himself sitting with his back to the building. Someone had unbuttoned his shirt.

“Does it hurt when I touch here?” The paramedic asked.

Pain shot through him. “Hell yeah. What happened?” Billy Dee asked his teeth clenched.

“Detective ‘leap-frog’ fucked up. He saw you were carrying and came to the wrong conclusion. My partner and I moved you. You may have a busted rib. Does it hurt to take a breath?”

He inhaled and triggered a coughing fit. His hand went to his side. “Jesus. He looked around. “Where’s Melissa?”

She was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic. Detective Majuski stayed. He figured you wouldn’t want to talk to his partner.

That would have brought a smile if his side weren’t aching, “You got that right. What district are these guys from?”

The paramedic looked over. “Hell if I know. Logically they should be from central which is down the street, but...”

“Amen to that,” he winced in pain.

Majuski stepped towards them. “Alright if I talk to him?” He asked the paramedic.

“Sure, just waiting for another ambulance.” He moved out of earshot.

“Sorry about my new partner,” Majuski began, “he was out on medical and only been back a week.”

Billy Dee didn’t reply for a few seconds. “What was his problem?”

Majuski pointed to his head. “He’s seen too much trauma. What the fuck it’s in our line of work. Rumor has it his last partner was shot. Don’t know how.”

“You guys out of Central?”

Majuski gave a confused look. “Central?”

“The old Area 6 violent crimes.”

“I know what Central is.” He looked around and moved closer.

“We’re out of the Superintendent’s office. I can’t talk about it.”

“You’re what? I’ve been on the force for 40 years, I never heard of such a unit.”

“That’s because we’re not in any directory. We’re special ops. Here’s my badge again.”

He examined the star that had Chicago Police inscribed in the center. It looked real. “Okay you’re a cop. What does your unit have to do with this?”

He kneeled so that he was on the same level as Billy Dee. “The long and short of it is there’s a theory the shooting had something to do with that baseball guy, Rakow.”

“Hmm, this is crazy. Why do you think so?”

He stood up. “Can’t tell you. Did you get a look at the car?”

“You know Majuski for the time being the only one I’m talking to is my captain. He’ll fill you in.” He motioned for the paramedic. “Help me up.”

The medic came over. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“To my car,” Billy Dee said. “I don’t have the time to wait.”

Majuski blocked his way. “Hey, this is an investigation, and I’m not through.”

“Sure you are. You just didn’t know it. Get out of my way.”

Despite the pain Billy Dee drew himself to his full height. The two men stared at each other for seconds then Majuski let him pass.

“This isn’ t the end of it,” the detective said.

“I’ll let the superintendent know you send your regards,” Billy Dee limped to his Chrysler. “Shit this hurts.” He lowered himself into the driver’s seat, and fumbled for the keys. He heard Majuski call out to Pat. He looked into the side view mirror and saw the bar owner walk back to the bar. He didn’t have to worry about him.

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