SHOOTING AT THE SHELL STATION
A light rain spattered against the windshield, and the lights of the oncoming traffic reflected off the gleaming black road. It was just past midnight, and Stella had already called dispatch and checked out. Tonight she had worked the four to midnight shift, and aside from a fender bender on U.S. 78, things had been routine. Barksdale County’s only female deputy was headed home.
The Ford Interceptor utility unit rolled along the north bound lane of U.S. 45 toward the village of Boonetown. Stella turned down the police band, and turned on XM’s Simply Sinatra in time to hear The Platters version of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. She was quietly singing along and did not at first hear the dispatcher’s frantic call.
“All units, robbery in progress at Shell station at 45 and Benton Road. Shots fired.”
Stella could see the bright yellow Shell sign about a half mile ahead on her left. She flipped on the light bar and replied,
“BC unit 12 responding. ETA two minutes.”
She sped up to close to 70 MPH, but began to brake before the left turn across the median into the Shell Station. She pulled her car to a stop, and took in the situation. There was a car pulled into one of the fueling units, but no one was in it. Another car with its motor running and a person sitting in the driver’s seat, was sitting near the store’s entrance. There was no one else in sight.
She heard the police radio squawk:
MHP unit 3 responding to call. ETA five minutes.”
Okay, back up is on the way, she thought, Try not to do something stupid, Stella.
She opened the driver’s door and crouched down behind it. The Interceptor’s doors were reinforced with ballistic panels, and would stop anything short of a armor piercing round. She unclipped the sawed off Remington model 1100 Tac 4 shotgun, and checked the magazine. There was a shell in the chamber, and four in the tube. All five were loaded with 00 buckshot.
Suddenly the door of the store swung open, and two men wearing hoodies turned and fired several shots each back into the store. Stella raised the shotgun and got off three rounds. One of the men flew back against the front of the store, and the other staggered, but made it into the waiting truck. Stella slipped three shells into the magazine, and just as the truck started to move toward her, got off four rounds into the windshield. The truck began to move slowly toward the Interceptor.
Stella realized that the truck was rolling without a driver, and that it would roll right into her car. She took the shotgun and ran toward a stack of used tires, as a burst from an automatic weapon rang against the armored door. She slide behind the tires, and could hear bullets smacking into them, just as the pickup smashed into her car.
A figure in a hoodie staggered out of the truck holding a TEC-9 semi-automatic machine pistol. Stella pulled her Glock, and put four rounds into the figure’s center mass before he could find a target. He dropped to the pavement like a sack of potatoes. The truck horn continued to blare as she stood behind the stack of tires, ready to fire if a target presented itself. None did, and she began to carefully move toward the truck with the shotgun in one hand, and the Glock in the other.
She felt for a pulse from the guy with the TEC, but found none. She looked into the truck and saw the driver leaning against the steering column with most of his head blown off. No need to check his pulse. She backed away from the truck, and trotted to the front of the store. The guy she had shot coming out was laying against the ice machine with at least ten pellet wounds. He, too, had no pulse.
Carefully, she pushed the door open and stepped inside the store. She saw feet protruding into the aisle near the soft drink cooler, and a body lying face down. She checked for a pulse, but the guy was dead. She moved slowly toward the cash register stand, and saw the body of the clerk sprawled on the floor. She was just about to call dispatch and give them a report, when a Mississippi Highway Patrol car came roaring into the lot.
Stella met the State Trooper at the front door, and gave him a quick assessment. He asked if there was any sign of the driver of the car parked at the pump. She told him that there was a body in the store that might be the driver. The two of them knelt next to the body, and the Trooper removed a wallet from the man’s back pocket and found a Mississippi driver’s license with a Corinth address. The car out front had Tennessee tags.
Stella felt an all most uncontrollable urge to pee, and told the Trooper she’d be right back. She pushed open the door to the ladies room, and saw a women and a young girl crouched along the wall with fear in their eyes. She knelt down beside them, and assured them that all was safe now. She led them out into the store, and they explained that were driving home to Jackson, Tennessee from Columbus, and had stopped for gas and the restroom.
While they were in the restroom, all hell broke loose in the store, and they just hoped no one would check the restrooms. Stella was trying to calm them down, as two more police cars roared up and the Sheriff of Barksdale County and another deputy came in. After listening to Stella’s report, the Sheriff said,
“I can’t believe you took down the whole gang by yourself. Nice work for your first firefight.”
Stella thanked him and though to herself,
First firefight my ass. We did shit like this on a daily basis in Fallujah, and the Taliban was a lot tougher than some punks in hoodies. But there’s no need to go there, so she replied,
“Thank you Sir. Just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
By this time, the forensic unit out of Tupelo arrived and took control of the scene. Stella surrendered her weapons to the chief investigator, pending the inquiry into the use of firearms. She wasn’t worried about it being a problem shoot. Everything was just too obvious, but she would be suspended with pay for at least a week, and have to go to Jackson for the inquiry.
When all of the questions had been asked and answered, Stella hitched a ride back to the office with the Sheriff. She filled out the incident report, then took one of the extra cruisers and drove home. She tuned into the local country music station and thought.
A week’s suspension with pay and a trip to Jackson sounds like a week of vacation and a shopping opportunity. They’ll want me to go to the shrink in Tupelo to deal with any possible PTSD. I’ll agree just to get them off my ass, but the truth is I have no problem with icing those punks. I just cleaned up the gene pool a bit.
Stella arrived at her farm house just as the sun was peaking over the eastern horizon. She took a shower and climbed into bed and slept soundly until 2:00 in the afternoon.
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Categories: Flash Fiction