Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Triple Homicide on Train FA-7

"Triple Homicide" was written for the first line fiction contest ( in early November 2009. On December 1, 2009 the results for that contest were posted. "Triple Homicide" won 2nd place.


Triple Homicide on Train FA-7

I read about it in the paper, in the subway, on my way to work. Then I read about it again on the news banner that passed in my vision, directly on my retinas. They really wanted this guy caught, if they were beaming it to me. Triple homicide. Not quite what you would call a "savory character." Jon Fredericks was not the kind of guy you wanted to take home to meet the parents.

The subway was crowded, and every eye on every passenger twitched left to right in a quick saccade as the headline passed directly in front of all of them, visible to each individual as clearly as if a max-def computer screen were an inch from his or her face, but invisible to everyone else. This was no hologram, not display on one of the hundreds of hand-sized panels that lined the ceiling of the train. Okay, so the Department of Criminal Control hadn't beamed it directly to me alone; I wasn't being singled out to bring this bastard down. Maybe I would actually have a normal day at work for once: a cup of coffee, maybe a doughnut just to keep to the old cop stereotype, sit for a few hours at my desk and SURPRISE! do some paperwork. It had been days, weeks even, since I had even seen my IN box, and frankly, I was a little afraid of what I would see when I got to it.

The train jerked to a stop and the doors whirred open. People pushed and jostled their way through the crowd to get out, some of their eyes still flicking to read text from individual news reels and other beams they subscribed to as they passed in front of their eyes. An advert for deoderant flew across the train ceiling in foot-high letters. I licked my lips as more people shoved their way onto the train. The doors thumped shut. Two more stops and I would be to HQ.

"Nobody move!"

I groaned. Tell me this wasn't going to be like one of those cheesy media shows where the criminal showed up in public where a cop just happened to be.

Fredericks's "nobody move" comment wasn't obeyed very well; the second he shouted and his voice was followed by the sound of a gun cocking, the bulk of the passengers hit the floor. Well, they really fell into a pile; we were crammed so close together it was hard to just drop. So train FA-7 to downtown became home to what was quite possibly the world's biggest spontaneous dogpile. And at one end of it was triple homicide Jon Fredericks. At the other end was me.

I waited for Fredericks to play the scene like those media shows that dominated the entertainment industry in this part of the world. He didn't disappoint.

"Hands up, buster, or I start shooting into the dogpile around your ankles!"

He called it a dogpile too. I wondered if he was considering beaming out to the Book of Records about it, like I was. The mass of arms and legs around my ankles wriggled and writhed, obviously trying to find a place a little farther away from the fool who was staring the murderer down-- me.
"I said hands up. Trust me bub, you don't want to be a hero. I got a bomb, and I WILL blow this whole train straight to Hell!"

The whole pile of people filling the train car began to scream. It was the weirdest chorale I had ever heard. I wondered if the Book of Records would give us credit for the world's biggest spontaneous singing dogpile. I was looking up the beam frequency when I heard the gun cock again, and the barrel of it was staring me in the face.

"On the floor, pal."

He interrupted my train of thought. And now he was pointing a gun at me, less than an inch from my face. He must have stepped on a lot of people to get all the way across the train like that and right in front of me. "I'm a cop, you know. Captain Rainey, D.C.C." I flashed my badge at him, just for effect. Might as well play it like the shows, if he was going to. I know he got a glimpse of the gun at my hip, too. I was not unarmed.

"You ain't going to pull that on me, bub. If you're a cop, you ain't gonna do anything that makes me wanna hurt these people. So just hand me that gun and then put your hands up."
I slowly took the gun out of its holster. He jerked when I moved my other hand toward it.

"Hey now!"

"I'm just turning on the safety so it doesn't go off accidentally and hurt one of these innocents," I said slowly. I held out the gun.

A shot went off.

Fredericks fell to his knees then flat facedown on top of the dogpile. I flicked the safety of my gun back on and put it back in the holster.

"It's alright, everyone. He's subdued. Dead, in fact. Unless his heart is on the right side of his chest, he's defintely dead."

Shaking and with more than a few whimpers, the people got to their feet and scrambled to get away from Fredericks's body.

"You shot him!" someone said.

I rolled my eyes. Of course I shot him. In real life, you can't just negotiate with criminals. That gets people killed. This isn't a story.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Posted at 4 5 6 AM. That is AWESOME.

    Great story. Of course, for a story this *realistic, it is kind of harsh on the 'not a story' part.

    Then again, society has been completely de-sensitized by cop-drama.