An excerpt from a future novel
I have a respectful request to any interested parties today. This post isn’t an opinion piece, cop story or war story. It’s an excerpt from the second novel in my series. I wrote the scene, pulled it out, and now I’m not sure whether it should be in or out. If you’re so inclined, please take a look and give me honest feedback. My writing has been helped tremendously by people willing to read, point out flaws and give me good direction. As a new writer I probably made every mistake there was to make, and if my writing is any good now it’s because avid readers and experienced writers helped me along.
Thanks and I hope to hear some feedback, even from people who think this sucks.
Backstory: Jerry Nunez, the protagonist from my novel Proof of Our Resolve, is an Iraq and Afghanistan vet, and a cop. He’s on patrol with a new officer named Mike Woods, gets a phone call and pulls into an abandoned porn shop parking lot. The caller informs him that his best friend was just killed on his second tour in Iraq. This is part of my second novel, Safe From The War.
Nunez hung up, folded the phone closed and put it back into its case. He leaned back and closed his eyes, clasped his hands together in front of his face and tapped his upper lip with his knuckles. Woods watched a single tear run down from the corner of his right eye down his face.
“I just talked to him,” Nunez said. “I just talked to him, less than a week ago. He was fine.”
Nunez shook again as a sob escaped, shuddered again from a second. Then he couldn’t hold it anymore and exploded into tears. He leaned forward and covered his face with his hands so Woods wouldn’t see it. Woods wondered if he should say something or maybe reach out and touch Nunez, but held back. He didn’t know how Nunez would react.
Nunez cried openly for less than a minute before getting himself back under some control. He choked off sobs and wiped tears from his eyes, said something into his hands that Woods couldn’t make out. The front seat settled into uncomfortable silence.
Woods’ window was down slightly. Outside the car he thought he heard the sound of glass breaking. He looked out but couldn’t see past overgrown brush bordering the parking lot. Up ahead he could see the lights and the roof of the gas station they had been heading toward, but brush blocked his view of the station itself.
A single gunshot rang out from the gas station. Woods looked toward the station in alarm, not able to see a thing. He turned to Nunez. No reaction at all.
Bang! Bang! Two more shots were fired at the station. To Woods’ left Nunez sighed. Woods saw that Nunez had uncovered his face, but held his forehead in his hands like he had a headache.
“Jerry!” Woods blurted.
“I don’t care,” Nunez said.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Three more shots. Two seconds later another two followed in quick succession, mixed with a woman’s shrill scream.
“Jerry, something’s going on at the gas station!”
Nunez exploded, “I don’t give a fuck!”
BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG! This time the sound was more rapid and much louder, like a large caliber semi-auto rifle fired at max rate.
“Shit Jerry, come on!”
Nunez peeled out of the parking lot onto West Gulf Bank road as he wiped tears from his eyes. Woods heard tires screeching and saw a large cloud of black smoke at the gas station. A burgundy Chevy Tahoe tore out of the side of the parking lot, fishtailed as it bounced over a curb onto the service road and headed north. As they flew past the gas station, Woods saw shattered windows and people lying near the gas pumps.
Nunez flew around the corner, grabbed the radio and said “1243 dispatch, emergency traffic. In pursuit of a burgundy Chevy Tahoe heading north on the north freeway service road from West Gulf Bank, suspect just fired several shots at the gas station on the service road. Break.”
The patrol car burst through the burned-rubber smoke. Woods saw the Tahoe passing cars almost two hundred yards ahead.
Nunez keyed up again. “I need backup units with spikes, and I need someone to get to that gas station to see if anyone’s been shot. All units be advised, I think this guy’s got an assault rifle. Dispatch, start Fox and K9.”
Nunez tossed the mike to Woods and said “Call it.” Woods took the mike and reached for the overhead lights and siren switches. Nunez stopped him, saying “Not yet, he might not know we’re back here, wait til we get on him.” Their car’s engine revved to high pitch as they accelerated to over 100 miles per hour.
“Oh shit, oh shit,” Woods said, his voice high. “What do I do if he shoots at us?”
Ahead of them, the Tahoe shot across the service road and hit the freeway entrance ramp. The service road was dark and the highway well lit. If the suspect didn’t know police were behind him, he was about to find out.
Nunez had the car floored. It accelerated as they shot up the ramp onto the freeway. Traffic on Houston’s highways, even at one a.m. on a Sunday morning, was as heavy as some smaller cities’ traffic at rush hour. The Tahoe weaved around cars in its path as the driver tried to reach the fast lane.
“Tell them we just got on the freeway north of Gulf Bank,” Nunez ordered.
“1243 dispatch 1243 dispatch, we just got onto the service road – I mean, onto the highway, headed north from Gulf Bank!”
“1243 clear, do you have a plate?” dispatch asked.
Woods moved his head side to side, foolishly trying to read the plate on a speeding vehicle several car lengths ahead and weaving through traffic.
“Negative dispatch, we can’t see it yet.”
“If he shoots at us, shoot back,” Nunez said.
“Got it,” Woods said, drawing his weapon.
“Put your fucking pistol away!” Nunez ordered. “If we get into a wreck you’ll lose it. You’ll have plenty of time to draw if you need to. Tell dispatch we’re about to pass West road.”
Woods quickly reholstered the pistol while he spoke into the mike, “Still north on the north freeway, passing West road!”
Nunez caught up to the Tahoe but stayed about two car lengths back. He straddled the stripe dividing the fast lane from the lane to its right, to give himself more reaction time if the driver suddenly swerved right to exit the freeway. The Tahoe, which had been doing about 110, sped up to over 120.
“They know we’re here, hit the lights and siren,” Nunez said. Woods hit the switches. The overheads flashed to life and siren screamed out a warning. Woods squinted at the plate, keyed the radio and called it out to dispatch.
The windows of the Tahoe were tinted dark black. Woods couldn’t see how many people were inside it. The driver of the Tahoe jerked right, almost sideswiping a Honda. In a flash Nunez glanced at a side mirror, swerved around the Honda and got behind the Tahoe again. Up ahead, a patrol car on the service road charged toward the freeway entrance ramp to jump into the pursuit.
“Dispatch 1243, that vehicle was taken in an aggravated robbery in South Central’s area during evening shift. Suspects shot at the complainant. Do you copy?”
Nunez nodded and Woods said, “Clear, we copy. Any word on helicopter support?”
“Fox is en route from Northeast’s area, they’re close. Also, we’re receiving calls about a robbery with shots fired at Gulf Bank and the North freeway,” Dispatch said.
“Find out a suspect description, how many suspects, weapons, anything,” Nunez said to Woods.
The Tahoe suddenly shot right again, cut across three lanes, drove over the shoulder and flew over a flat patch of grass. It bounced over the curb onto the service road behind the backup police car, which was already on the entrance ramp.
“Fuck!” Nunez yelled. He took a tenth of a second to make sure he was clear before shooting across the highway and flying off the curb behind the Tahoe. Woods tensed as they banked almost sideways in front of all the traffic coming at them at 70 plus miles per hour.
The patrol car hit the service road at an angle, slid almost into the far curb and forced a pickup to slam on the brakes. “Tell dispatch he just got back onto the service road, northbound approaching the beltway!”
“1243 dispatch, he’s back on the service road, northbound toward the beltway! He just drove off the side of the highway!” Woods yelled.
“Calm down and quit yelling on the fucking radio,” Nunez said as he straightened out the car. “People won’t understand you if you scream.”
The stretch of road between the Tahoe and the Beltway, a huge loop around the city, was empty of side streets. The Tahoe approached a large, busy intersection. Vehicles were stopped in each of the three lanes of the service road. The driver of the Tahoe braked and hit the right side curb.
Woods held the microphone to his lips, waiting to tell everyone where the suspect vehicle would go.
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Tags: cops, fiction, proof of our resolve