Both “That wiseguy had it coming,” Bricklund

Both “That wiseguy had it coming,” Bricklund

Both detectives held a gun, but neither of them could shoot at Bricklund.

The gunman was hiding closely behind his hostage and exposing little of his body to them. Wilson knew he couldn’t risk a shot. There were too many people in the tavern, and most of them were behind Bricklund.

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He might hit one of them if he missed the gunman. And he probably would miss. The target being offered to him was much too small. Wilson glanced at his partner, Marilyn Scott. She was a very good shot. She was capable of hitting a small target at this range. She was the department’s pistol champion, and she could con-sistently hit a quarter at thirty feet with the gun she carried.

But she was in an awkward position at the moment. There were several people between her and Bricklund. She needed time to get around them. But she was slowly weaving her way through the crowd and moving closer to the ex-con who was holding a gun to the old man’s head. If she could get into a better position, and if Bricklund gave her even the smallest target, she would put him down. Wilson realized that he had to buy her some time.

He had to keep Bricklund occupied until she was in the clear. He spoke soothingly to the gunman. “Bricklund, you’ve killed one man already tonight. Don’t make it worse by doing it again.” “That wiseguy had it coming,” Bricklund responded. “If he hadn’t made me mad, I wouldn’t have killed him.” “Maybe we can make a deal,” Wilson said.

“If you surrender now, I’ll tell the judge that you said you did it only because you were angry.” “No,” Bricklund shouted. “No deals. If I have any business with you, it’ll be to blow you away.” Wilson glanced at his partner again. She needed only a few more seconds.

“Bricklund, we don’t want to shoot you, we only want to help you. Tell me how we can do that.” “Just let me take a shot at you.

If you’ll let me do that without shooting back, I’ll be satisfied.” When Marilyn Scott reached the pool table, she looked at Bricklund. She was now within ten feet of him, and no one stood between them except the hostage.

She assessed her chances of hitting Bricklund at that range. It would be easy if only a little more of his head was showing. But he wasn’t exposing his head to her, and that’s where she had to place the shot. If she hit him anywhere else, he might pull the trigger before he died. If he did that, the old man would also die. There was a terrible stillness as Bricklund shifted his eyes between Paul Wilson and Marilyn Scott.

He did it slowly. He sensed that if he moved too quickly, or did the wrong thing, one of these cops would risk taking a shot at him. He started to back toward the door, dragging his hostage with him. Wilson looked at Bricklund over the sights of his gun and said, “Don’t do it, Bricklund. It’s a fool’s move. If you’ll just drop the gun, no one will be hurt. I promise you that.

” Bricklund grinned. “Drop dead.” The old man was terrified. He didn’t say a word as the ex-con pulled him toward the door, but his eyes begged the two cops to do something — anything — to save him.

As Bricklund inched toward the door, Wilson and Scott followed. The gunman looked at Marilyn and swore. “I’ll kill this guy if either of you come any closer,” he said.

Marilyn responded. “Don’t do that, Bricklund. If you kill him, we’ll drop you on the spot.” Bricklund laughed strangely. “All I want to do is get outta here. If you don’t let me do that, I’ll kill all of you.” Marilyn looked at the crowd.

Everyone was nervous. A few of them were close to panic. One woman was anxiously looking toward the door, and Marilyn thought she might run toward it at any moment. Marilyn didn’t want her to do that. If she did, everyone in the room might do the same. That would surely set Bricklund off.

She knew Bricklund. He was crazy. He had murdered one man tonight, and he had served time for two previous killings.

He wouldn’t hesitate before killing again. It would be easy for him. Bricklund enjoyed hurting people. Inflicting pain on others gave him a feeling of power and satisfaction. If these people ran toward the door and blocked it, he would feel powerless. He would surely go into a rage and start shooting indiscriminately. Marilyn raised her left hand and spoke to the crowd.

She asked them not to move. Everything would be fine if they kept their heads, she told them. The crowd was relieved.

That was exactly what they wanted to hear. Bricklund reached the door and stopped. So did Paul Wilson and Marilyn Scott. Again Marilyn assessed the situation and decided not to shoot. There still wasn’t enough of Bricklund showing. Then the killer took his eyes off them and glanced outside at the street.

The side of his head was now exposed to her. She could see his ear. Her heart rate soared and a great deal of adrenaline began to flow as she tried to steady her trembling hand. She had never killed a man before, and she wondered if she could do it now. But she knew she had to kill; she had no choice. She lined her sights on the center of Bricklund’s ear, held her breath, and began to squeeze the trigger. But Bricklund didn’t give her enough time.

In only a second he determined that the street was clear, then he turned again and hid himself behind his hostage. Her target was gone. Now only a small portion of his head was visible, and he was moving slightly from moment to moment. The risk was now too great, she thought.

She released the pressure on the trigger, swallowed hard, and allowed herself to breathe again. “Who owns the red Pontiac that’s parked outside?” Bricklund screamed. There was silence for a moment, then a man standing at the bar nervously said it belonged to him. “Get over here,” Bricklund shouted. “Take the keys out of your pocket and put them in the hand I’m holding this guy’s throat with.” The owner of the car was horrified. He was now the center of Bricklund’s attention.

He didn’t like that, and he froze with his mouth wide open. Bricklund took the gun from the old man’s head and pointed it at him. “Move,” Bricklund shouted, “or I’ll blow your heart out.” The man moved forward while Bricklund held the gun on him. He almost dropped the keys as he put them into Bricklund’s hand. “Now get back to the bar,” Bricklund said to the man.

Now Bricklund had a hostage and a car. Marilyn Scott pleaded with him. “Let the old man go,” she said. “Please don’t take him with you.” A twisted smile appeared on Bricklund’s face.

He pulled the man out the door as he stared at them. Both cops followed. Maybe it was still possible to get a shot at him, Marilyn told herself. But Bricklund held his hostage much too close as he backed toward the car. Not once did he give either of them an opportunity to shoot.

When Bricklund reached the car, he relaxed his hold on the old man’s neck. He told the hostage not to move, and the old man said he wouldn’t. Bricklund let him go, but he kept the gun at the old man’s head as he reached for the handle on the door.

As the old man stood there quivering, Bricklund slid behind the wheel and started the car. Both cops knew they’d have to follow him when he left. As Bricklund sped away, Scott and Wilson ran to their car. It seemed to take forever to reach it, but only a moment after they were inside, Wilson had it rolling. He pressed the accelerator to the floor. The Plymouth leaped forward and raced after the tail lights of the car ahead. Those lights were disappearing around a corner six blocks down the street.

Marilyn reached for the microphone. She asked the dispatcher for as many cover cars as could be spared. As she described what had happened and what they were doing, Wilson raced around the corner that Bricklund had taken only seconds before. The Plymouth was in a four wheel drift and its tires were howling, but Wilson righted it and screamed down the narrow street in hot pursuit of the car ahead. Bricklund ran for two miles at speeds in excess of a hundred miles per hour. He was trying to outrun his pursuers, but the car he drove wasn’t equipped for that.

The Plymouth, with its large interceptor engine, was far more powerful than the Pontiac. The unmarked police car was closing the gap between them. Bricklund cursed and tried to shake the two cops off by using the corners.

He turned hard left onto Pullman Street, and the right side of the Pontiac struck a power pole as it howled around the corner. That slowed the Pontiac for a moment, but it didn’t stop it. Several seconds later Wilson turned the same corner, but he didn’t strike the pole. Wilson was driving hard, and he was calm and collected. Marilyn stared at him as he careened around another corner and continued to close on the car ahead.

She couldn’t believe it. She had no idea he could drive this well. He was driving as if he were a professional.

The big engine in the Plymouth provided the power Wilson needed, and Wilson used it well. He was doing an excellent job, she thought as they screamed around yet another corner. When the Plymouth came out of it, they were just a little closer to Bricklund. Now he was only three blocks ahead of them. Wilson pushed the Plymouth hard and continued to close the gap.

The tires on the Pontiac shrieked as Bricklund turned right and headed north on Seventy Eighth Avenue. Wilson followed. As the Plymouth came out of the screaming turn, Wilson shoved the accelerator to the floor again. The magnum engine screamed in defiance, but it obeyed. It pushed the Plymouth ever faster. The radio was blaring at her now.

The dispatcher, was asking for their present location and direction of travel. Marilyn rattled off the information. She heard the dispatcher passing that information to the cover cars, and she heard those cars respond.

Somewhere in the garbled maze of questions and answers that were flying back and forth, she recognized the voice of Detective Sergeant John Morrow. Morrow was trying to call her on the radio, but he was being partly covered by other traffic. However, she did catch enough of his transmission to understand what he was saying. He was telling her to be careful and that he was con-cerned for them.

Morrow stopped short of telling them to wait until help arrived, but she sensed that he wanted them to do just that. That wasn’t possible, she knew. The man they were chasing had killed once tonight and might do it again if they didn’t get him. She ignored Morrow’s words of caution and looked at Wilson. Either Wilson hadn’t heard the sergeant over the noise of the scream-ing engine, or he, too, was ignoring him. Marilyn said nothing as she turned her attention to the car ahead.

The Pontiac howled through a hard left turn onto Williams Street, then Bricklund pressed it hard again. He drove for several blocks and turned left onto Sixty Second Avenue. Now he was southbound, and they were close behind.

Both vehicles were accelerating. They were in a residential area and traveling in excess of a hundred miles per hour. Neither driver saw the poorly lighted sign. It notified the public that the street ahead was being re-paved; thru traffic was prohibited. Too late. Bricklund crashed through a barricade and sped across a trench that had been dug by the city’s sewer department.

The trench was deep and wide, and the Pontiac bounced violently when its wheels struck the other side. It began to skid sideways, but Bricklund recovered then pushed the accelerator to the floor and continued south. Wilson saw what happened, but he had no time to take evasive action. They were only a hundred feet behind the Pontiac now, and one second after it hit the trench, the Plymouth did the same. Wilson thought the car might come apart under the forces that shook it, but it didn’t. He regained control and raced after the Pontiac.

After weaving through a maze of curving streets, Bricklund saw that he couldn’t elude the cop behind him unless he tried something else. But what else could he do? He couldn’t outrun the Plymouth, and he couldn’t elude it in the corners. He thought for a moment then made a decision. Again he would try to outrun the car behind him.

It hadn’t worked before, but that was before they’d crossed the trench. Maybe his pur-suer’s car had been damaged. Maybe it wouldn’t go as fast as before. He pressed the accelerator even harder.

The Pontiac screamed on with the Plymouth close behind. Both vehicles were now traveling in excess of one-hundred-ten miles per hour. As Bricklund sped out of the residential area, the Pontiac struck a child’s tricycle that had been left on the street. The tricycle exploded into the night.

Wilson looked at the Pontiac. It was no more than fifty feet ahead of them now, but he was having trouble with the Plymouth. It was steering badly. Its front end had been damaged when they crossed the trench, and the whole car was shaking violently. He knew it couldn’t take much more of this, but he kept the gas pedal on the floor. Marilyn’s heart was beating hard, and she imagined she could hear it above the sound of the roaring engine. She thought it might burst inside her.

Her hands clutched the dashboard as they sped around another corner and headed west on Lexington. She was amazed by the calmness of Wilson’s voice when he said, “The only sure way to stop that car is to ram it, but I don’t think we should do that at this speed.” Marilyn looked at the speedometer. It was against the peg.

She turned to Wilson and shook her head. Bricklund ran for three more miles, and Wilson could see that the Pontiac, too, had been damaged by the trench. Its engine was starting to smoke, and large belches of fire came from the exhaust from time to time. Bricklund was obviously experiencing steering problems too. The front wheels of the Pontiac were wobbling in a crazy way. The Pontiac’s front end couldn’t take that kind of punishment much longer, Wilson told himself. This race was now an endurance run.

He held the steering wheel tightly in an effort to keep the Plymouth from veering off the road to the left and pressed harder on the throttle. Marilyn suddenly remembered the radio. It was silent now.

No longer could she hear the dispatcher or the officers in the cover cars. She picked up the microphone and keyed it. Nothing.

It was dead. The radio must have been damaged by the impact with the trench, she thought. Then she realized it had been dead for several minutes. She waved the microphone.

“We’re on our own from here on in.” Wilson made a face and nodded. The Pontiac turned right on Packard Boulevard and headed back into the city, but it was traveling at under seventy miles per hour now. It was slowing down. Wilson estimated that it wouldn’t go five more miles.

But even if it went twice that far, this chase would soon be over. He wished their radio was working. They had traveled more than twelve miles since last reporting their location. None of the cover cars knew where they were.

Now the Pontiac was down to forty miles per hour. Marilyn knew it would stop soon. Heavy smoke was pouring from the engine compartment and the left front tire had just blown out. She looked at the neighborhood and frowned. It was an indus-trial area, and the streets were poorly lighted. If Bricklund ran on foot after stopping, it would be hard to see him at a distance.

But would he run? They’d know soon. The Pontiac wheezed, and the engine died. Wilson slowed the Plymouth, but before either car had come to rest, everyone was out and running. Bricklund was running hard, and Wilson was close behind. Marilyn couldn’t keep up with them. They were slowly pulling away from her. Her heart rate, which had slowed during the last five minutes of the chase, was now very high again. But she refused to quit. They ran four blocks, and she was half a block behind Wilson. Wilson was less than ten feet behind Bricklund. Each of them held a gun in his hand. She screamed at her partner, telling him to get out of her line of fire. She would burn the killer down, she said. Wilson didn’t hear her. Then Bricklund suddenly stopped, wheeled around, and pointed his gun at Wilson. Wilson saw it come up, but before he realized what happened, it barked twice. Both bullets struck him in the chest. Marilyn tried to run faster when she saw Wilson fall, but she couldn’t do it. She was already running at the limits of her ability. Her breath was coming in deep gasps, and her mind was screaming at her. She had to help her partner, it shrieked. Then she screamed aloud as she realized she was still a hundred feet from him. Bricklund moved around the man who lay before him on the sidewalk, and for a moment the gunman was silhouetted against a dim street light. She stopped and aimed her pistol at him, but he saw what she was doing and stepped behind a telephone pole. As Bricklund disappeared behind the pole, she started to run again. Bricklund aimed his pistol and fired another shot into Wilson’s side. Marilyn Scott was nearly insane with rage. She couldn’t shoot at Bricklund because she couldn’t see him, and she couldn’t stop because her friend was down. She continued to run even though Bricklund raised up his gun and aimed it at her. He pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. He tried again with the same result. Bricklund looked at the gun with a surprised expression on his face, then turned and fled before she reached the spot where Wilson lay. Marilyn stopped and looked at Wilson. He was still alive, and he was looking up at her. But it was obvious that he was badly wounded. She looked again at Bricklund. He was vanishing into the darkness, and he was wiping the gun with a handkerchief. He was wiping his fingerprints from it, but there was nothing she could do about it because she couldn’t catch him. She decided not to try. Her partner needed help. Then she saw Bricklund throw the gun away. Its pearl handles gleamed in the dim light as it curved slowly through the air. When it struck the pavement, it skidded on the concrete and bounced off the wall of a building. It came to rest at the entrance to an alley. Bricklund turned left and ran into that alley. She realized then that Bricklund wasn’t going anywhere. She had him. She had worked this area for years when she was in uniform, and she was very familiar with that alley. It was blind. The other end was blocked by a building. The only way out was the way he’d gone in. That entrance was no more than fifty feet from her. She could easily shoot him from where she stood if he came out. She turned to Wilson and knelt down beside him. He was dying, and he was trying to tell her something. His voice was only a whisper. She put her ear close to his mouth and listened, but she couldn’t hear him over the sound of her beating heart. She asked him to repeat what he’d said. As Wilson whispered again, she began to cry. “I will tell your wife and kids you love them,” she said. Marilyn sat down on the sidewalk and held her partner’s hand. A feeling of utter helplessness passed through her. There was so little she could do. Wilson was slipping away, and she could do nothing more than comfort him. As she sat there weeping she felt something warm and wet on the back of her leg. When she looked down she saw that it was Wilson’s blood. It was forming in a pool, and the pool was growing larger by the moment. Slowly it began to run toward the curb, and when it spilled into the gutter she sobbed uncon-trollably. Wilson tugged at her sleeve. With sorrow in her eyes she saw that the color was draining from his face. He smiled weakly and winked at her, then looked toward the stars and died. Hatred welled up inside her. She hated Bricklund for doing this, and she hated herself for being unable to prevent it. As the hatred grew it pushed her reasoning aside, and she began to change. Something inside her began to twist and bend. Then that something snapped. As she let go of Wilson’s hand, a grim determination formed and filled her very soul. With her teeth clenched and her lips pressed into a narrow line, she turned her eyes toward her pistol. From across the street she heard a shout. A night watchman was standing in a lighted doorway and asking if she needed help. She looked at Wilson and then at the alley into which Bricklund had fled. With a loud and angry voice she screamed at the top of her lungs, “NO! NO! NO!” The night watchman yelled contemptuously as he closed and locked the door. “Well, I’m gonna call the police anyway.” Marilyn stood up slowly. Her face was streaked by tears, but she wasn’t crying now. There were no more tears to shed. She picked up her gun and checked to see that it was loaded. Every chamber contained a bullet. She turned and walked toward the alley, and each footstep sounded like the ticking of a giant clock. When she reached the entrance she stopped and stared into it. There was nothing to be seen except rows of garbage cans and piles of cardboard boxes. All of it was trash that had been generated by the local merchants. It sat there waiting for collection by the garbage man, and she knew that Bricklund was hiding in it. But finding him wouldn’t take much time; the alley was less than fifty feet deep. He was probably unarmed now, she realized. It wasn’t likely that he had another gun. The one he’d thrown away was probably the only one he had. She looked down to where she’d seen it strike the building. There it was, half hidden by a piece of newspaper. Only a small portion of the cheap pearl handles showed, but she recognized it. From her pocket she removed a small flashlight. She looked dumbly at it and at the pistol in her hand. Intense loathing churned within her mind again, and its burning, fuming acid seeped into the cracks between her thoughts of Bricklund. There it boiled and bubbled as she stepped into the alley. The first garbage cans were fifteen feet away, and they sat against a building on the right hand side. None of them were large enough for Bricklund to crawl into. She slowly shined her light around them. Bricklund wasn’t there. Deeper into the darkness she plunged. More garbage cans lay ahead. They were on the left this time. She stopped and shined the light around them too. Nothing. She moved on. She inspected several rows of garbage cans and scattered several piles of paper boxes. He wasn’t among them, but she knew she would find him soon. There was only another twenty feet to go. Just before she reached the alley’s end she found another pile of boxes. It was a large pile; a very large pile. Slowly she kicked the boxes aside as she swept the flashlight back and forth. One after another they tumbled away, and the pile grew smaller every second. Then she heard the sirens. They were far away, but they were getting closer. She looked toward the street, saw nothing, then turned back to the boxes and kicked more of them away. Quietly and methodically she did her work. Then she stopped. There he was. She found a shoe, and above the shoe was a leg. Again she swung the pistol back and forth, knocking more of the boxes away. She uncovered him. He sat with his back to the wall of a building, and his legs were spread apart. He was grinning. Marilyn stepped back as Bricklund pushed away the remaining boxes. “I win,” he said. There was no expression on her face as she looked again toward the alley’s entrance. The sirens were closer, but still they were far away. She turned to Bricklund and quietly said, “You lose.” His grin was illuminated by the light she held. “I got him, didn’t I? That means I win.” “That means you lose,” she said. The grin became a sneer. She could see that he was pleased by what he’d done. “I think I won. I killed a cop and all that’s going to happen is that they’ll send me back to prison. And they won’t do that until I’ve been tried. There is no capital punishment in this state so even if I do go back, I’ll be out again some day. On the other hand, maybe I won’t go back. Maybe I can beat this thing by claiming self defense.” “You’re not going back to prison.” “I’m not?” Slowly she shook her head from side to side. “No, you won’t be going back to prison, and you’re wrong about the capital punish-ment. We do have capital punishment here.” He grinned again. “Do you think I’m stupid, lady? I know what the laws say. I know there’s no capital punishment in this state.” The sirens were closer than before, but she knew she still had time. Not a trace of emotion showed as she stared at Bricklund. “I don’t care about the state,” she said. “I’m talking about the capital punishment law that’s in effect in this alley.” The smile slowly faded from his face. He wasn’t as cocky as before. “Lady, what are you talking about?” “I’m talking about the laws of this alley. I own this alley. There are special laws here, and those laws are known as Marilyn Scott’s laws. They contain pro-visions for capital punishment under circumstances such as these.” Now Bricklund looked toward the alley’s entrance. Still there was no one there. He trembled. He was becoming nervous. His senses told him that something was wrong with the woman who held the gun. She was acting strangely. He turned his head and listened hard. The sirens were still some distance away, but in no more than a minute those cars would arrive. He looked at Marilyn and said, “Look, lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do know that you don’t own this alley, and I know that I have a constitutional right to a fair trial.” Her voice was very slow and even. “This gun says I do own the alley, Mister Bricklund. And the gun says that your rights are only what I say they are. But if you want a trial, we’ll hold that trial right now.” Bricklund raised a hand and started to move. Her gun came up, and she thumbed the hammer back. In the dim light he could see the large grey bullets that filled the chambers of the cylinder. He settled back and leaned against the wall again. “Samuel Clarence Bricklund, you are charged with the deliber-ate and felonious killing of two men tonight…,” she began. “Lady, I don’t know what you think you’re…” “How do you plead to that charge, Mister Bricklund? Guilty or not guilty?” Bricklund knew now what he faced. This woman was disturbed, he thought. She wasn’t thinking straight. She might do anything. He was frightened. He looked up the alley one more time and saw that the cars still weren’t there. He turned back to her and said, “Please, lady, you’re a cop. You know what my rights are. You’ve got to protect my rights. As a police officer you owe me that.” “This court accepts your statements as a plea of not guilty, Mister Bricklund. However, the evidence against you is over-whelming. This court finds you guilty…” He was frantic now. He looked up the alley and then at her. “Please stop this,” he said. “It isn’t right. It isn’t fair.” “…of murder,” she continued in a monotone. “Do you have anything to say before sentence is passed upon you?” The sirens were now very close. Those cars would be arriving in a few more seconds, Bricklund knew. He started to move again, but he saw her finger tighten on the trigger. He stopped. “This court sentences you to death, Mister Bricklund. That sen-tence is to be carried out immediately.” He knew what was coming. “Please, don’t do this. I don’t want to die. I’m afraid to die.” She carefully aimed the pistol. Panic and terror showed on his face and in his eyes. It was extreme. His face was contorted as if he were about to cry. His lips moved, but he didn’t make a sound as his eyes pleaded with her. He looked up the alley once again; this time with a look of desperation stamped across his face. Two cars had arrived near the end of it. Their sirens stopped, and he could hear the sound of two men running on the pavement. When they stopped, someone started swearing. The cops were looking at the body now, but soon they would begin to explore the alley. If they moved quickly, they might still be able to save him. His mind screamed at them, urging them to hurry. He looked at her again. The same blank stare was on her face, but her mind was filled with thoughts of Wilson’s body. Bricklund started to say something, but the Smith and Wesson spoke before he did. It delivered its message with a deafening roar. Six times an angry, orange flame exploded at the muzzle of her gun, and six times it spat death and the stink of burning cordite. For thirteen long seconds the gunfire lasted, and during that eternity of sound and flame, Marilyn’s tortured mind could see the gates of hell swing open, swallow up a waiting figure, then rumble closed again. And then it was over. The nightmare stopped, but things were not as they’d been before. Samuel Bricklund still sat against the wall, but when her gun fell silent and the echoes died away, Samuel Bricklund’s world had ended. He didn’t see the flashlight beam that fell on the face of Marilyn Scott, and he heard none of the words the officers yelled when they recognized her. The empty pistol hung at her side when the uniformed men arrived. She had dropped the flashlight and was now staring at the lifeless flesh before her. She turned to the officers. She knew them well. One of them was a very close friend, but she couldn’t remember his name. She tried hard, but her mind wouldn’t work. Then her lips parted, and she tried to speak. It was no use; the words wouldn’t come. She stopped trying. One of the officers walked to what was left of Bricklund as the other man spoke to her. “Marilyn, we’ve been looking for you. We heard what happened at the tavern, and we just saw Wilson’s body. Are you alright?” She couldn’t reply. She looked again at Bricklund then turned and staggered toward the street. As she passed the officer who was speaking to her, she limply extended her arm in an effort to give him the gun she held. She released her grip on it before he reached to take it. It clattered on the concrete and bounced away. She continued on. The officer who was viewing the body remained in the alley. As he looked at what she’d done, he whistled and pushed his hat back on his head. The other cop followed Marilyn Scott. He was trying to talk to her, but she couldn’t hear him. He stepped in front of her and asked again if she was okay. She stopped, looked at him with glassy eyes, then went around him and stumbled away. As she weaved toward the street she staggered against a building and collided with a garbage can. Its lid fell to the pavement with a noisy clang, and she fell to the ground as she tripped on it. She couldn’t get up. Then Sergeant Morrow’s car arrived. The sound and smell of burning rubber filled the night as it stopped with its headlamps shining down the alley. Morrow leaped from the car and ran toward her. He picked her up and held her close. “My God, my God, are you hurt?” he asked. Somewhere in the dim recesses of her mind she realized that now she must pay for the killing she’d done. Her voice was barely audible as she spoke. “I killed him. I killed him,” she said again and again. “We got two calls. One from the tavern owner and one from a night watchman. They gave us some idea of what happened. Was it Bricklund you killed?” She didn’t answer. She didn’t understand him. The officer who was with her started to explain, but Morrow raised a hand to stop him. Then he looked down the alley at the cop who was standing over Bricklund’s body. Morrow yelled loudly at him. He ordered the officer out of the alley, then he looked at the cop who had been talking to Marilyn. “You get out of here too,” he said. Both officers ran from the alley but stopped a short dis-tance away and stared at him. He yelled again and ordered them to move on. As they left, he spoke to Marilyn. “What happened?” he quietly asked. She pulled away and looked down at Bricklund’s gun. It was still lying there, partly hidden by the piece of paper. She stared at it for a moment then turned her head and looked back into the alley. Morrow saw the gun. He picked it up and examined it. It contained one unfired round. He looked into the alley and then at Marilyn. “Stay here, I’ll be right back. I want to see what happened,” he said. She didn’t hear him. When he left she plodded toward the flashing lights on the cars that surrounded her partner’s body. After groping her way to a patrol car, she sat down in its front seat and stared blankly into the distance. Morrow found her there when he returned. The officer who had looked at Bricklund’s body was standing at the open door. He was listening to Marilyn. “I killed him, I killed him…” she mumbled time and time again. The officer looked at Morrow. “She really blew that crud away.” “He apparently pulled a gun on her,” Morrow said. “Looks like she shot him in self defense.” The officer was puzzled. “She did? I didn’t see a gun.” Morrow was extremely angry. One of his men had died tonight, and Marilyn Scott was in a living hell. She would undoubtedly go through another one before Internal Affairs com-pleted their investigation of this inci-dent. And they would investigate; they would find it suspicious that the killing shots had been so precisely placed. There were six bullet holes in the center of Bricklund’s forehead, and a nickel would cover them all. But no investigator could ever prove that this was murder. Not now. In the end she was sure to be exonerated. During that investigation, though, she would suffer more than Bricklund had. Somehow, that didn’t seem fair. Morrow’s frustration over-whelmed him. He exploded. He grabbed the officer by the shirt and pushed him hard against the car. It shook under the impact, but Marilyn Scott felt nothing. Morrow looked at her and then at the medic who was pulling a blanket over Wilson’s face. He jerked the officer away from the car and pulled him close. Through clenched teeth he slowly and forcefully said, “What the hell is the matter with you? Are you blind? That maggot still has the gun in his hand.” The officer was stunned. “Sure, Sergeant Morrow. I guess I missed it in the excitement.” Morrow growled again. “Well, you get your ass back down that alley and take another look. Then come straight back here and tell me if you can see it now. I want a written report from you five minutes after you get back, and that damn report better clearly state whether or not you saw a gun in that dirtbag’s hand.” He shoved the uniformed man away, and the patrolman struck the car again. He hurried off and ran into the alley, but in less than a minute he was back. He nodded as he looked at Morrow, and a knowing smile was on his face as he reached into his car for a report form. Words/ Pages : 6,854 / 24

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