The Brown Tarantula: Part 4
The Brown Tarantula, Part 4: War in the Streets
Copyright Robert F. Sacco
Part 4: War in the Streets
Detective Tom Slovino thought to himself that sometimes it was a real benefit to have a partner who didn't really want to work for a living. He had spent many hours covering for his partner, acting as an alibi when he wasn't where he was supposed to be, doing double duty on paperwork and just generally helping to keep the facade going that Steve was actually doing his job, most of the time he didn't really mind because he liked working alone. Tonight, he reaped his real reward. The chief had all available officers, including detectives, patrolling the middle and upper middle class neighborhoods of the city, ostensibly because it was believed that Charon had ordered a minor crime wave in those neighborhoods to cover his activities in Dunnbrick, although some of the force believed that the chief might be in Charon's employ and that this was all simply a cover. In any event, his partner would no doubt be spending the night in a donut shop somewhere in Dilbrook, and, since Steve owed Tom many many favors, the official reports would say that he was sitting next to him all night.
This gave Tom the freedom to do what he considered his real job, tracking down The Tarantula. While he, like the Tarantula, wanted to see the end of Charon's rule of the streets, and while he wanted to see the thugs who enforced his reign off the streets, Tom was an idealist. He believed in due process, civil rights, the whole legal system. Okay, in practice the system left a lot to be desired and thugs like Charon with a lot of money seemed to be able to game the system, still, it was that system that defined what was criminal. Without that definition there would be no hope at all. The law of the land would be nothing but the law of the jungle. Under those definitions, The Tarantula was as bad as Charon. On top of all of that, Charon's victims, for the most part, were only losing money. Excepting those who actually opposed him, his victims were victims of poverty, ignorance and their own appetites. They had a chance to escape, perhaps a very slim chance, but a chance. The Tarantula was a mass murderer, his victims had no rights. They were killed outright and would never have a chance for reform. He had heard all the arguments in the squad room about gang bangers being unredeemable wastes of human life but Tom knew that these guys were every bit as influenced by the environment of the streets as were the hookers, drug addicts and street folk that they preyed upon.
So Tom hunted the hunter. He was having some after the fact success. While he had not actually seen the perp and always seemed to get to the scene too late to prevent violence, he had already been able to interview witnesses at three scenes mere minutes after the Tarantula had struck. His anger at being unable to save lives was somewhat lessened by the fact that he was getting to witnesses when information was still fresh in their minds and therefore more accurate. Plus, the way these streets worked, in the morning, not a single one of these witnesses was going to be willing to talk to a cop. Now however, immediately after the fact, they were likely to babel to anyone who would listen. He didn't know what the final body count would be, but already the Tarantula had killed at least six of the Spinoli. Also, the Spinoli had killed at least three people. Two small business owners who refused to pay protection because they thought the Tarantula was going to bring down Charon and one unfortunate homeless man who had woken up in an ally and made noise at the wrong moment, startling a couple of Spinoli who were on pins and needles waiting for a Tarantula attack. Tom considered Charon, The Spinolis and the Tarantula to be jointly responsible for their deaths.
As he plodded along from street to street trying to spot someplace where the Spinoli were likely to be hit again so that he could lay in wait, two things happened. First, with a crash of thunder, the rain started again. Secondly, two cars, with tires screeching skidded around a corner at speeds that begged for mayhem and death. One, a powder blue Caprice, had three Spinoli in their typical pin stripes standing with their upper bodies protruding from open windows blasting away at the other with automatic weapons. The other, brown, black, shiny and looking like something out of a science fiction movie, totally unaffected by the bullets, hugged the road, impossibly comfortable with the speed. Bullets bouncing off of the brown and black vehicle were ricocheting everywhere. Tom had one slice through the air past his own ear making him keenly aware of his mortality. He saw a baggy pantsed street kid a few feet away and dived at him driving them both to the ground and hopefully out of the line of fire.
The two cars raced down the street side by side. As they passed the mouth of a large ally the brown car pulled ahead and swerved its front end into the Caprice's path. Being unable to change its trajectory at such a high speed and not really having anyplace to swerve to and not opposed to the idea of banging up the Tarantula's car, the driver of the Caprice hit the gas, and sped directly into the front end of the brown and black car. The laws of physics are such that, the combination of both vehicle's speeds applied to the metal of both cars should have done massive damage to both while pushing the brown and black back into a straight line down the street, but, the brown and black car in some unknown way merely reflected all of the Caprice's kinetic energy back into it, meaning, the blue car's rear was moving eighty miles per hour forward and it's front end was moving eighty miles per hours backwards at the same time. The driver died as the windshield shattered and the front and back of the car crumpled into the middle. The other gangsters died as the car ripped in half, bounced into the mouth of the ally and burst into flame.
The brown and black car continued on at the angle that it was rocketing, up onto a sidewalk. A fraction of a second later it swerved back into the street and into a straight line missing a building by less than a quarter inch. It took down a street lamp as it corrected and neither the collision with the lamp or the Caprice left it with so much as a scratch. Tom scrambled to his feet and ran to the ally to see if any civilians were hurt or in danger from the flaming wreckage of the Caprice. He was relieved to find that the ally was deserted. Being that there was nothing he could do for the Spinoli he made note of the direction the Tarantula's car was taking as it faded from view. It didn't seem possible, but, the Tarantula's night of attack was following a path straight through the center of the neighborhood. That meant Tom could guess where his last attack would be. That meant the Spinoli could guess too. Either the Tarantula was stupid as well as insane, or, this neighborhood was about to see a redefinition of the term "gangland massacre".
This story has fifteen parts, links to previous chapters are below. I'll add links to newer chapters as they're posted so be sure to check back.