I don’t know what is coming but it’s closer; maybe a lot closer.
“Sorry, but it’s hard to do this with you and Feena both wiggling.”
After trying valiantly for all of five seconds he was once again off and running. “When are they going to come out here and give us some news?!”
“Soon. Now stop it or you are going to open those stitches and unless you want the PA from hell to start poking at you again …” I didn’t have to finish the threat; he’d already endured one round of stitches by an under-trained physician’s assistant who looked younger than I was. The guy hadn’t even deadened Cal’s lip before he started sewing.
I was trying to stay calm but it wasn’t easy with the steaming wall of angry cops all around me. Trying to get the tar and feathers out of Cal’s short hair without taking skin with it was also nerve-wracking.
One of the other deputies that was wrapped in a sheet and groggy where he had already had the burn team cut his clothes off and tend to one of his arms mumbled, “I’m not a freaking debt collector.” You could tell by the slur that the pain medication had finally started to work.
A sheriff department representative told him, “Easy Rob. We weren’t there to collect the debt just to ensure that the Writ of Seizure was executed properly. The guy had three years to take care of this situation before it got to this point. He wouldn’t even respond when served papers, just let the process roll on. This seizure was no surprise to anyone.”
Cal snapped, “Surprise?! Hell, it was a damn set up … an ambush! If Josh isn’t OK …”
“Stand down Lowery.”
“You weren’t there. You …”
“I said stand down. The department is well aware of what happened.” After Cal fell silent with his fists clenched in his lap at the public rebuke the Rep tried to soften the blow by adding, “That was a brilliant tactic Cal; making sure that the patrol cars were staged so that the onboard cameras caught it all. Rob said you set it up and had suggested doing it before you even arrived at the location.”
Cal shrugged. “Way we used to handle it in New Tampa where they’ll sue if a frog bumps its butt. SOP and CYA for those of us that had it hanging in the breeze.”
The Rep nodded, “It will likely become SOP here now as well. The DA has already reviewed the footage and an arrest warrant has been issued for Ricks and his oldest son. He can’t claim he didn’t have anything to do with this when the camera caught his car pulling out right before the action started.”
Everyone else in the waiting room was giving the obviously angry men in uniform a wide berth but they were also giving them nasty, suspicious looks. Writs of Seizure had gone up significantly in the past several months as judgment creditors finally began to use the nuclear option to collect money owed to them.
My mouth opened before the thought was fully formed. “Sir?” I asked getting the rep’s attention. Once he looked at me I asked him, “With folks in the community doing these nasty things to the people that put their lives on the line every day to keep them safe, won’t it impact the time it takes to answer calls because the men are going to have to use additional minutes to make sure it isn’t another set up? Aren’t Ricks and his friends just making it harder on innocent people for their own selfish reasons? I mean these men are sons and fathers too, not cannon fodder.”
The room had already been quiet but it fell stone silent as my words sunk in. Rather than give a direct answer the Rep said, “We will be taking additional precautions. The sheriff has a presser planned this evening on that very topic.”
A man with a press badge approached me and tried to get my attention but I ignored him. I’d learned the trick after Daniel’s last act. Then the man said, “Hey, I recognize you. You’re that crazy druggie guy’s wife. Our station got an exclusive from your doctor.”
Cal and a couple of the other men stiffened but I turned and looked the reporter dead in the eyes. “Yes. My deceased husband had extensive brain damage and committed despicable acts because of that. Why do you bring it up? Do you suspect that Mr. Ricks and his followers are suffering from the same type of self-inflicted brain abnormalities? They have certainly committed despicable acts. A man – a husband, father, brother, son – is dead and he died horribly by being burnt with hot tar. Another man is fighting for his life from a sniper’s bullet. These men here are all injured in one way or another, not least because their ability to work with the public to insure their safety has been compromised.”
The reporter put his hand in front of the camera man’s lens. I curled my lip. “Typical. You prefer shock value to the value of facts and truth.”
I went back to ignoring the plastic hair do that tried to pass itself off as a man.
I’ll have to finish writing later; they just announced the sheriff is going to speak.