An Act of Impulse
It was just after two in the morning, and the lead detective completed scouring the streets. It was in an after hours bar when two men shot at each other. Each man represented a different gang, and the lead detective had to prove that the shot was an act of impulse rather than premeditation. It was something he had to do so he could prevent an all out gang war. One shooter wasn’t going after gang-colors; he was just fighting over a waitress. They were mightily pissed off at one another and that led to the shootings.
He was at the hospital trying to get a better glimpse at the body. He was leaning over the dead man’s torso with a fresh page of his notepad stuck in the palm of his hand. He started drawing a human form followed by the wound sites.
A heavyset trauma nurse, her face locked in that what the hell are you doing here expression, pushed the detective out and closed the plastic curtain behind her.
“I am an investigating officer,” he chimed.
“Good for you,” she replied sarcastically.
“A .22 slug in the heart is what killed him,” said an ER doctor as he stood behind the lead detective still wearing his face mask. “But I doubt he felt it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Fresh needle tracks on both arms,” the doctor replied. “This guy was as high as a kite.”
“How’s the other guy?” asked the lead detective.
“He had the advantage,” the doctor replied. “Yeah his alcohol levels were very high, but he wasn’t doing drugs. He was a big guy, and you know what they say? The bigger you are the harder you fall. His eyes were shut swollen from a fall over by Fairfield Avenue. I may have to cut into flesh so that he could see.”
“Can’t you just wait until the swelling goes down?”
“No, the skin was almost charred,” the doctor replied. “It was as if someone was dragging him on the cement, face first.”
The detective nodded.
“But I doubt anyone was dragging him,” said the doctor. “I mean he looks pretty mean. I figured that if there were no guns involved, he’d kill the other guy.”
“He did,” replied the lead detective.
“Yep, I guess you’re right.”
“Doctor, can you do me a favor?”
The doctor looked puzzled but was still listening.
“None of the gangs have moved or spoke yet,” the lead detective started. “I need you to tell the newspapers that this was a fight over a female. Lie, and tell them that they were both in love with the same woman and they had it out.”
“What, how would I have known that?”
“Tell them that it was a dying confession. The guy who died wanted to be clear that this wasn’t gang related. I need you to do this so that we could stop a gang war.”
“What about the guy who didn’t die?”
“I’m going to make a deal with him.”
“I don’t like to work outside the box,” said the doctor. “I pride myself on being honest and straight forward.”
“This could prevent many needless deaths,” the lead detective stressed.
“I know, but it’s just not right.”
“Doctor, I know how the gangs are going to view this shooting,” said the detective. “It’s going to be viewed as a color war. You can do something about it.”
The doctor frowned at the prospect, but he knew his duty. It was really a difficult decision, but he also knew that he couldn’t help the detective. He was a medical doctor and his job was simply to heal the body.
Taking in the emergency room, he glanced at the plastic curtains that was scattered everywhere. He knew behind those curtains people needed him. The detective had a job to do, but he too had a job to do.
Of course, the doctor reflected, and gave that request some thought.
“I’m sorry,” said the doctor. “I really can’t help you.”
The doctor raised his hand dismissively and walked away.
It was a difficult decision to make, and the detective knew that. He just watched the doctor walk in between two double doors and he sighed. The detective needed to find another method to execute his plan. Something that would clearly make this shooting an act of impulse.
Other Quick Flash Crime fictions by Frank F. Atanacio:
© 2012 Frank Atanacio