Groundswell: Chapter Thirty

“Ain’t the gun.”

Kimball looked up from his desk in utter amazement at his Deputy Chief. “Well of course it’s not. He picked it up someplace. The one he used to shoot the boy’s prolly buried in the woods someplace. And he ain’t stupid. We ain’t fixin’ to find it anytime soon.”

Risley spit into his Dr. Pepper bottle. “So do we turn it back over to him now?”

“Shit no,”‘said Kimball, twirling a pencil between his fingers like a drumstick. “He ain’t gettin’ that shit back. It got misplaced up at OSBI. Lord knows that story checks out, What with all that monkey business they got going on up there.”

“What if he calls and asks and they tell him they returned it to us?”

“He won’t. He don’t wanna attract that kind of attention to himself. ‘Specially after what he did.”

“I just don’t get that,” said Risley. “What motive did he have to shoot that poor child?”

“I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t much care, either, bad as that sounds. What’s done is done, and we can’t afford the kind of publicity an arrest would bring. Much less a trial.”

Risley spit into his Dr. Pepper bottle again. “Like to put one right between his eyes.”

“Careful what you wish for. You might wind up having to do just that ‘fore this is all said and done.”

Risley grunted. “Ain’t got no problem with that.”

Lieutenant Baldi burst into the office, panting. His shirt was damp with patches of sweat under his arms and between his man boobs and beer belly.

The two men looked up at him, then at each other. Risley grinned. “Hell you been doin’, runnin’ a marathon?”

“Buddy o’ mine down at the lumberyard,” gasped Baldi, trying to force the words out between sharp intakes of breath, “called me, told me they got some military type vehicles blocking off Western. Can’t nobody leave or come in.”

Kimball stiffened. “Well fuck a duck. It’s finally happening.”

He picked up the phone and dialed Wallace, who answered on the fifth ring and sounded annoyed.

“Yes?”

Kimball watched the other men. They didn’t have the slightest clue what was about to happen. He envied them.

“They’re here.”

Silence.

More silence.

And finally… “Understood.”

“Guess it was only a matter of time, huh?”

Silence.

“Hello?”

More silence.

Stupid old asshole.

He hung up and calmly folded his hands on top of the desk.

“Listen up,” he said. “I want every available man to load up his cruiser with as much firepower as we got. Half go with me out to Western, and the other half, led by Risley, will head over to the southeast exit onto Rogers. And be ready to fight for your lives.”

Risley’s perpetually cocky grin fell limp. “What is this, boss? What’s going on?”

He didn’t get a chance to answer before Rhonda, his dispatcher for the past twenty years slid into the office.

“Radio’s down, WiFi is down, and no one can get cell service.”

Kimball pulled his iPhone out of his desk drawer, checked it, and then immediately put it back.

“Shit. Bet the radios in the cars don’t work, neither. Now I wish we hadn’t upgraded to digital. Kyle, we still got the old radios?”

“Nah, we chucked all that stuff or gave it away. Some of the guys took some of the equipment home, I b’lieve.”

“Alright,” said Kimball. “That means we’ll have no communication. I didn’t know they could do this, but I should’ve. I should’ve been prepared.”

“Prepared for what?” demanded Risley.

Kimball sighed. “The end.”

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