[Social media prompt] “There was a female officer teaching women self-defence classes. This officer locked herself in the squad car whilst her male partner got bashed by vibrants.”
Sticks and Stones
Officer Tanner was big, two-eighty and none of it gone to waste, but he watched the world around him like a man half his size.
“Pull over,” he said.
Williams, his partner, turned on the indicator, its soft clicking filling the silence between them.
“Here,” said Tanner, jabbing with his thick finger at where he wanted Williams to park.
Williams clicked her tongue.
“Damn,” she said. “Give me some warning next time why don’t you?”
Tanner had his eyes on a door, the only one set into the windowless side wall of a warehouse, which was hanging open on one hinge, and without looking away from it said, “This place has been empty so long it’s not even listed for rent anymore.”
“So?” she said, bringing the cruiser to a halt.
Tanner unclipped the seat belt, feeling for his sidearm out of habit as he opened his door.
“Then when we see what appears to be a forced entry,” he said, his powerful thighs pushing him up into the heat outside, “we should check it out. Besides, when did you see a wet–”
Tanner swallowed the word before it came out. He had lost one chance at promotion already for what the force nowadays regarded as racial slurs.
“I’m going to have to report that,” said Williams.
“Report what, exactly?”
“You’re all the same, aren’t you?” she said. “Calling their cars wetback sleds makes you part of the problem.”
“First,” said Tanner, watching the door, “I said no such thing. And second, do you really buy into the idea that calling them, you know, is what’s causing five homicides a day in this city?”
“Anyway, I don’t have time to argue,” said Williams, looking at her watch, “we need to hurry. I have to be back at four to teach my class.”
Tanner was already striding down the access road, which ran along the western wall of the building, and did not respond, having made plain his views on female officers teaching self-defence classes for women from the beginning. He stopped briefly to peer into the low slung mauve convertible parked up hard against the wall, the sun reflecting off the white leather upholstery making him blink.
At the door he motioned at Williams to cover him, drew his sidearm and stepped inside. After the bright heat outside, his saw nothing in the cool darkness. He only realised his hunch had been correct when a steel bar connected heavily with his lower back.
Tanner grunted, a bolt of pain shooting down his legs, and he fell forward onto his knees. His Glock clattered onto the floor. He scrambled forward, grasping for it, but felt a kick in his ribs. Instinctively, he rose to his feet, blocking a punch, and as his eyes adjusted to the dark, saw three of them standing together before him. Tanner heard a fourth, behind him, who laughed and said, “Welcome to the butcher shop, little piggy.”
He rushed the three in front of him, taking two of them to the floor, grasping one by the neck with his big hand. “Williams,” he shouted, twisting to rain savage blows onto the face of the second man tangled with him on the ground.
“Get the other pig,” one of the men yelled.
Tanner rose and pressed his knee onto the neck of one man, trying to leverage himself to his feet. A man on the floor here was as good as dead. He fought his way towards the bright rectangle of light, sucking in great gobs of air, sharp-toed boots connecting with his back and ribs, fists with his face. Then he stood and turned.
“You want her,’ he said, “you go through me.”
He set his feet on the cool concrete floor, and when they came onto him he broke his knuckles on their cheeks bones, feeling his forearm go numb as he blocked a high-arced swing from a heavy chain. He saw he had been stabbed before he felt it, saw the cut on his hand bleeding where he had grabbed at the knife. His left arm hung limp, and a wave of exhaustion passed over him, his knees buckling.
“Get him out of the way,” one of them screamed. “Get the black bitch.”
Tanner fell backwards through the doorway, turning his head as he collapsed to see Williams looking towards him from inside the cruiser. The blood and sweat in his eyes made it hard to see, but it looked like she was on the verge of hysteria.
“Go,” he said, his voice barely audible through broken teeth and a bloodied mouth. “Go…”