|TBS News at 7
by Charles M. Bonanno
© Charles M. Bonanno -- all rights reserved
Tearing around a final corner a police car comes to a screeching halt behind an immense crowd. Turning off the screaming siren and flashing lights, the young officer inside jumps out of his vehicle with weapon drawn. Nearly spinning around in circles he scans the area looking for the superior officer that he'd been ordered to report to.
Thinking that he'd driven to the wrong school entrance, he re-holsters his gun and is about to get back into his car when a loud speaker calls out his name.
"YO! OFFICER WILLIAMS! COME THIS WAY!"
As he turns back around the crowd parts and he can see several parked police cars blocking one of the school gates. Standing atop one of the vehicles is a far older officer waving a microphone.
Even as he races through the crowd with gun in hand Officer Williams is struck by the strange nature of the crowd. Nowhere can he see the fear and panic that he'd been trained to expect. If anything this odd crowd is downright festive. Made up of equal parts adults and children the crowd is filled with happy faces. Parents with their children nearby are staring at the building and yelling at the top of their lungs. If he didn't know that armed kidnappers had attacked the school, he'd have thought it was some kind of carnival or block party.
An illusion reinforced by the purple plush toys many of the younger children 's are holding and the single word everyone is screaming.
"BARNEY! BARNEY! BARNEY! BARNEY! BARNEY! BARNEY!"
Panting out of breath he finally reaches the front of the huge crowd. Directly in front of the gate he finds the object of his search sitting atop a car hood with a cup of coffee in his hand. Which, frankly, is not exactly the behavior that he'd been trained to expect. In fact, none of the dozen or so officers nearby are doing anything that his police academy instructors had told him to expect.
Not only are their weapons still safely holstered, but not a single one is taking cover behind their vehicles in case shots are fired in their direction. If anything, the entire area looks more like a policeman's picnic than a dangerous hostage situation in progress. As far as he can see the only crime in sight is a pudgy little boy sneaking a glazed chocolate donut out of one of the patrol cars. And, from the brown goo already smeared over his face, this child was an obvious repeat offender.
Ducking and running between the parked cars, as per his training, he's soon crouched behind the sergeant's car. From this position he calls out.
"Sergeant Thompson! Officer Williams reporting!"
Not even bothering to turn his head the older officer takes a huge bite out of his donut and flushes it down with a mouthful of black coffee. As he refills his cup from the largest thermos bottle that Officer Williams had ever seen he replies.
"Come on, get your butt over here! And bring that uplink comm thingamabob with you!"
Feeling kind of foolish he stands up and walks forward. Having finished his donut Officer Thompson is lying back on the hood with his hat shading his eyes from the bright summer sun. With a little wave of his hand the older policeman points at the device on William's belt and asks.
"You remember to put batteries in that thing this time?"
Turning several shades of embarrassed pink, William replies.
"Yes, sir! It won't happen again!"
With one hand he passes over the device while crossing his fingers with the other. One more mistake of 'biblical proportions' and he'd find himself walking a beat downtown. Not exactly a happy prospect for a norm policeman wanting to keep his DNA the way mother nature intended it to be. The crazy things he'd heard about that area were enough to send shivers down any sane person's spine. Especially since the last undercover officer they'd assigned to keep tabs on a tavern down there came back looking more like a crocodile than a human being.
"Good! I want to get this report into the central computer before anyone else. This one is for the record books! If this doesn't get me on 'Cop's' nothing ever will!"
All the other officers start to moan and gripe out loud. But seniority is seniority. As the first ranking officer on scene he gets to make the rules; not that it doesn't hurt to have a sister in charge of radio dispatch ready to intercept anyone else trying to go over his head.
"Well, just don't stand there! Give it to me!"
Nearly snapping to attention, Officer Williams unhooks the device from his belt and hands it over. After searching for the ON button, Officer begins to speak.
"This is Officer John D. Thompson, precinct number 5, eastern division, badge number 13874. I wish to file a report on case number 126.96.36.199. slash. 6. slash. 4. Omega 188.8.131.52. Over."
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