“Hey!” He waved.
“Hello! Thank you so much for stopping.”
“No problem. What seems to be the problem?”
“You are Sgt. Harrelson. You are!” She smiled widely.
Then he saw the gun. It seemed to come from out of nowhere. Slowly and confidently, she raised it, aimed…fired.
He didn’t see it coming, none of it. Her frantic waves for help, her grateful smile…the gun. Hondo’s body hit the ground hard as he gasped for air. Without a look back the woman hurried to her car, let the hood down, then jumped behind the wheel and sped off.
The voice sounded familiar and distant. The footsteps were closer now as he heard his name being called again. It was hard to breathe, hard to make sense of what had just happened. Why was Leroy here, he thought as his eyes slowly closed.
Leroy rushed to Hondo as the car took off down the road. He knew the woman, intimately and he had warned her and the others about what would happen if they laid a finger on his friend or his son. But she had ignored his orders and his warnings. Leroy had promised Hondo that he would regret turning his back on him, but this was not in his plans, no way, no how.
“Don’t you die on me! Don’t you do it Hondo!” Leroy yelled.
Leroy pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed 9-1-1. There was so much blood, so much blood. Visions of years gone by played on a loop in his mind.
“Hurry!” he yelled into the phone.
Leroy pulled his jacket off and pressed it against Hondo’s chest to stave off the bleeding. It felt like eternity before the screams of sirens gave him a small hint of hope that things would play out differently this time.
Hondo’s eyes opened slightly. Leroy was still there, why was he there? The question came to mind again.
“Leroy?” He moaned.
“Shh…save your strength. Help’s coming. Hang on, man!”
Day 2 –
S.W.A.T. Headquarters – Morning
It had been less than twenty-four hours since Hondo had been gunned down. He had become the latest victim in a dastardly plot against Los Angeles police officers. Four officers in less than three weeks had been ambushed and there was nothing but rumors to go on. The latest intel seemed to lead them to three of the largest and most powerful gangs in the city; none had claimed responsibility yet, but that didn’t stop LAPD from bringing their leaders in for questioning.
Cmdr. Hicks watched from the other side of the darkened glass as each person denied responsibility for what had happened to Hondo and the other officers. Hicks had seen a lot in the years that he’d been on the force, but the wonton attack on those who’d dedicated their lives to serve and protect made it hard to contain his emotions.
Deacon reviewed the list of gang members who made up a list of roughly fifty potential suspects. There was a name missing. He remembered talking to Hondo a few weeks back when he’d come to him to vent about an old friend being released from prison on a Pandemic early release. With infection rates soaring, the governor had approved the release of hundreds of convicted felons. Leroy, Hondo’s childhood friend, and a former gang leader was on that list. He remembered Hondo sharing that Leroy had wanted him to speak on his behalf in hopes that it would aid in his release. Hondo had refused and needless to say, Leroy was upset. Deacon wondered if the shooter was closer to home than any of them wanted to believe.
Tessie’s Kitchen –
Leroy had heard the chatter on the streets, and he knew that his former gang had decided to assert themselves in a big way. Bobo Carter, a street life over-achiever had always wanted to prove himself. Bobo talked a good game, but he was a coward. What his old associate lacked he made up for in the ability to obtain information. If anyone knew who was behind Hondo’s shooting, Bobo would know.
The bell above the door announced his arrival. Things hadn’t changed in the thirty years that he’d known Bobo. The man still ate at Tessie’s every morning and he still sat at the same table. The dim-witted man was so engrossed in the menu that he didn’t realize Leroy was there until he slid into the booth across from him.
“Damn man, why are you studying that menu? You already know you’re going to order the same thing you always order!”
Bobo looked up peering above the worn lacquered menu at the man who he’d once answered to. Now he was in charge and he wasn’t going to let Leroy know that he was still afraid of him.
“Hey, what’s up dog? You know it ain’t cool sneaking up on a brother like that!”
The waitress came to the table before Leroy could respond.
“The usual?” She smiled patiently.
“Uh yeah.” Bobo responded dryly.
“Shrimp and grits coming right out!”
Leroy shook his head grinning.
“So, what brings you by, Leroy?”
“You hear about Hondo?”
“Yeah, I heard.”
“You and your crew obviously didn’t get my message.”
“Look man, I’m running these streets now! Your voice don’t carry no weight out here no more!”
“Says WHO?” Leroy repeated.
Bobo leaned against the booth, shrinking like a wilted violet. He was no match for Leroy and both men knew it.
“Look man, I didn’t do it and neither did any of my boys.”
“Are you sure, because if I find out you had anything to do with him being shot. I’m coming after you and your crew!”
“Be cool, Leroy. Besides, I thought you and Hondo were done. I heard that he didn’t have your back when you were trying to get that early release.”
“Well, it looks like I didn’t need his word, as you can see, I’m a free man now!”
St. Mary’s General Hospital – Evening –
Darryl paced the hall in front of Hondo’s room. Nothing had changed and he was afraid that he would never get the chance to apologize for what he had said to Hondo yesterday. Life was short, growing up on the streets, Darryl knew that too well. But Hondo seemed like Superman, faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. The man, his idol and hero, was bullet proof, at least until yesterday. Only time would tell if Superman could heal himself and get out of the bed that for now held him captive.
“He’s going to pull through.”
Darryl jumped at the sound of the older man’s voice. He didn’t hear Pops come up from behind.
“Hey.” Darryl began.
“What’s bothering you boy?”
“I’m worried about Hondo, that’s all, just like you are.”
“Oh, I’m worried about my son, but there’s something else bothering you.”
“Nah, I’m good.”
“Listen to me. I may be an old man but the three of us live under the same roof and so don’t act like I don’t see that you and Hondo haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye these last few weeks.”
“I just…I mean I’m happy my pops is out of jail. It’s good seeing him on this side of the bars.”
“Yeah, I hear you but now you feel torn between loyalty for your father and loyalty for Hondo.”
Darryl found a seat nearby. He hadn’t shared much about his recent conversations with his father with anyone, especially Hondo.
“He’s got to get better! I said some pretty nasty things to him yesterday. I didn’t mean them, I…”
“Hey, hey…you’ll get your chance to apologize. Besides, I have a feeling that Hondo’s not holding it against you.”
“I hope you’re right.”
For the next several minutes the two sat in silence. Doctors, nurses and patients streamed by becoming nothing more than a hazy blur. Even the attractive woman mingling outside Hondo’s room hadn’t caught their attention.
Loretta had screwed up big time. The plan was flawless. All she had to do was flag the man down, smile, point and shoot. She’d done it before and so this time should have been no problem. She had to make it right. The man who’d hired her didn’t tolerate mistakes and it was up to her to finish what she had started, or she’d be the next body lying dead in the streets.
(Photo credit: TVFantic.com)
*We do not own S.W.A.T. or its characters. We are not affiliated with the show or its creators. We have created our original characters that will come out to play from time-to-time*