The Ghetto Stratum
The chase was on. Ten yards quickly became five, and the big man was slowing considerably with each step. With a final effort, the detective launched himself into the air and tackled the fugitive with a resounding grunt, a spirited thrust. He had used everything that he could muster. The two tangled on the ground like a couple of school boys in a playground brawl.
Kicking up dust, pebbles and brush. The detective could not sense back-up as the brawl continued.
There was kicking and punching, but the detective was doing neither. The fugitive rose to his feet and started running. Suddenly there was a loud crack that split the air. Then the man shuddered, fell and he would lay still. The detective crouched behind the still form and was looking over his shoulder. Three members of his unit arrived huffing and puffing with their weapons drawn.
"Who shot him?" shouted the detective.
No one from his unit replied.
The detective stood up slowly and started looking around, but saw nothing but roof tops and windows cracked open. There was no movement coming from the alley all except fleeing pigeons that were frightened away from the area by the loud sound. After a minute of silence, the unit walked toward the body and looked at the bullet hole at the back of his head.
"Dead," said the only female member of that unit. The detective, sore from the brawl already knew that. The blood slowly seeped out from the wound into the brush and dirt. The tallest member of that unit bent down, carefully examining the body, while the third member holstered his weapon and released a heavy sigh.
The detective puffed releasing tension and was trying to gather his wits.
The examining member stood up slowly and turned to the detective. "It’s the wrong guy."
"It’s Parker, that homeless guy that always hangs around this community garden begging for tomatoes."
"Why did he run?"
"You were chasing him."
"Who shot him?"
"I don’t know," said the female unit member. "But it’s going to look real bad for us."
The detective nodded slowly.
The unit members moved around the body carefully so not to get blood on their boots. The surrounding dirt was already turning dark red from the growing pool.
The tallest member of the unit turned toward the fire escapes and said,"The shot came from above. I’m thinking it came from a fire escape. Or perhaps a window."
The detective remained silent for a moment considering the fire escapes and the windows. He had no idea that the chase was going to be a fatal one.
"Boss, we’re just gonna have to knock on doors and investigate," said the female member of the unit. "I just know that once this gets downtown, the fan will be spitting. A needless death to a poor homeless man."
"Only in the ghetto," whispered the detective. "Only on the streets that reek of sadness and despair."
"The Ghetto Stratum," the examining member of the unit commented absently, and continued looking over the body.
The detective looked toward the windows with torn curtains and studied them for a few moments. He sensed an odd sensation running through his body. He knew that it was trouble brewing. Worse yet, only he and the members of his unit were the only ones in the alley. Ballistics could prove that neither one of the guns were fired, but the public would immediately cry cover-up.
The female member of the unit removed a bright red and white mint from her pocket. As she popped it into her mouth she realized that there was nothing anyone could do to stop what was heading toward them. And there was also no way they could cover-up the situation. She paused briefly, and worst part of her pause was that the mint was really good.
The Ghetto Stratum, whispered the detective as he slowly walked away.
Other Quick Flash Crime fictions by Frank F. Atanacio:
© 2012 Frank Atanacio
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