Updated: Apr 17
Friday Night Firefight
“Zoom in”, said Pops and the servomotors of the headset whined and clicked. “I see, but I don’t know what I’m looking at,” said Pops with a hint of annoyance.
“Well, I can see it now also, Mr. Williams,” said a voice in Pop’s right ear.
The evening breeze was brisk and Pops stood impatiently as the technician shared his point of view through the goggled helmet.
Pops gave a shiver only in part from the evening’s chill. Home or not, being in an alley is no place to be come nighttime.
“I’m resetting the line,” said the technician, “The lights will go red and then slowly return to green in time and thank you for calling A-Com.”
“How much time?” Asked Pops, but the technician had already hung up. Before pulling the helmet off his head, Pops took in a full sweep of the alleyway and the open construction site beside it.
Elaborate billboards seemed to cover every wall. Even the sky was corrupted by advertisements. As his head passed down the short end of the alley to Pepper Street, Pops noticed virtual graffiti sprawled across the walls.
“How the Hell did they do that?” Pops wondered aloud. Suddenly, his eyes focused on the long shadows on the sidewalk nearing the entrance to the alleyway. The laughter that followed sounded more menacing than jovial. Pops pulled off the headset and looked around in the darkened alley. Pops found a large appliance box, turned it on its side, and quickly climbed in.
The laughs grew closer and Pops closed his eyes in prayer. Please don’t let them come down the alley, he prayed.
The laughs of at least four males echoed into the alley reaffirming Pops’s atheism once more.
He pulled his legs closer. Peaking through a handle cutout of the cardboard, Pops watched as four twenty-somethings rounded the corner into the alleyway.
Suddenly, their conversation stopped as they looked further down the alley. The one in the lead quickly unslung his MP5 submachine gun. The collapsible stock locked in place as he ducked behind a metal garbage can. The others behind him followed taking cover as best they could in the ten foot alleyway.
Pops glanced through the opposing handle to see what was so frightening. Pops gulped as three, four, five men of various ages dress all in red leather rounded the far corner. Red Devils, thought Pops as he recalled the gang’s violent street reputation.
He glanced back at the four would be ambushers.
Crack, went the leader’s MP5. Pops turned and looked as the largest of the Devils head recoiled back from the nine millimeter bullet. After an instant, the big man lay on the ground and the other Devils were cocking their gun and diving for cover.
One of the ambushers yelled something to the others. Bullets erupted from the ambushers filling the rear quarter panel and low hung gas tank of the black pick up truck parked behind the Red Devils. As their gunfire waned, they seemed dumbfounded by the lack of an explosion.
A Red Devil screamed an obscenity in a language Pops didn’t understand. It was the their turn to fill the air with jacketed lead. Fully automatic fire ricocheted and peppered the thin metal garbage cans and dumpsters used as cover by the now advancing ambushers. They’re crazy, thought Pops.
So too did one of the ambushers as he sprinted back to the entrance of the alley way. Pops watched as a his shoulder blade was impacted. He stumbled the last few feet to safety calling to the others.
“I’m hit, I’m hit,” he said. His words snapped the others back to reality. As if coordinated, the Devils’ shooting deminished just as the remaining three ambushers stood and let loose a hail of firepower to rival their opponents. They backed away thirty feet to where their friend disappeared from the alley.
The distant police siren was nearing from both ends of the alley. Pops watched the Red Devils for a moment. One smashed the glass of a nearby truck as two others grabbed their fallen friend and tossed him into the back.
One of the Devils with two bullets lodged in his Kevlar reinforced leather jacket suffered though the rib pain as he expertly worked the wires beneath the trucks dashboard. In less than a minute, the vehicle was rumbling into the light, unassuming street traffic.
Pops snickered as he watched the sputtering truck pull away from the curb trailing a creek of gasoline. A moment later police officers leaped from there to behind their car doors.
“Out of the truck,” they commanded.
Suddenly, his cardboard view port was covered by a wind born flier. He reached outside the box and snagged the paper.
“Cyberdeck Cafe,” read the title, “Now Open.”