Steven, with Lyle in the passenger seat, navigated through downtown streets in a rundown neighborhood near County Hospital and finally stopped in front of a two-story house with blue paint so badly chipped it was coming off in sheets the size of paper plates, revealing a moldy gray siding underneath. The cement steps were cracked, and black garbage bags were piled up beside the small porch.
The detectives could hear yelling coming from inside the house, both male and female voices. Lori Lou was almost as loud as Ziggy. The front curtains of the house next door moved slightly, and they could make out the face of an elderly black man peering out from behind them. Lyle took out a notepad and handed it to Steven. “We can’t just go knock on the door. He could shoot our heads off. Here, why don’t you give him a call since you’re his pal and all that?”
Steven took the pad and studied the number.
Lyle grinned. “You sure we don’t want to wait until this whole thing dies down?”
Steven gave him a look, then took out his flip phone and dialed. He blew air out of his mouth and waited. Nothing. The yelling inside the house stopped. Steven was about to hang up when Ziggy picked up. He was holding a cell phone to his ear as he looked out the window at Steven and Lyle sitting in the unmarked car.
“What do ya want?”
Steven sat up in his seat. “Ziggy! Remember me? Detective Baker. We had a little talk a while back about your partner.”
“Never had no partner.”
“Neighbors have been complaining about all the commotion in the house. Why don’t you let Lori Lou come out on the porch so we can make sure she’s all right?”
“That doesn’t sound too good, Ziggy. Let us have a look at her.”
“Forget it. She doesn’t want to come outside.”
“Then I’m afraid we’re going to have to come inside, Ziggy.”
Steven heard Lori Lou screaming in the background, “What are you guys waiting for? He’s going to kill me!”
The phone went dead, and Ziggy turned away from the window as the front door started to open. They saw Lori Lou’s face in the opening. Before she could step outside, she was yanked back from the doorway by her hair. She screamed and struggled to pull Ziggy’s hands away. The door slammed shut. Steven grabbed his radio and reached for the door handle.
“We can’t go in there alone,” Lyle said.
“We have to. He could seriously hurt her while we sit here and wait.”
“The neighbors have called in complaints at least ten times. She never presses charges. She’s as nasty as he is.”
“What if this is the one time he decides to kill her?”
Lyle hesitated, but Steven was adamant. “She’s a bitch on wheels, but we can’t let that happen on our watch.”
Lyle shrugged. “Let’s do it then.”
They stepped out of the car and cautiously moved up the walkway to the house, their hands on their weapons. No sound emanated from the house, and there was no movement in the front window. They walked up the two steps and stood on either side of the front door.
“Ziggy.” Steven spoke conversationally but loud enough for Ziggy to hear him. “Everything’s cool. We just need to make sure that Lori Lou is okay.”
A bullet ripped through the front door from inside, and Steven and Lyle dove off the porch and pinned themselves to the side of the house.
Both men were stunned. They pulled out their Glocks. “What the hell?” Lyle managed to choke out. “Has he gone bonkers?”
Steven brought out his radio. “Dispatch, this is Sergeant Baker. We need the SWAT team now at 682 Rosetta! We’re pinned down and can’t move. Do you copy?”
A voice crackled back, “Copy that, Sergeant. They’re on their way.”
Steven turned off the radio and whispered to Lyle. “I’m going around back. You stay here.”
Lyle nodded. Steven stayed close to the house and ducked under the front window. He moved slowly, hunched over, carefully sidestepping rusting appliances and rotting trash on his way to the backyard. A shot was fired from inside the house and a bullet broke the glass of a window right above him.
Lori Lou, standing near the window, screamed, “So shoot me! Go ahead and shoot me! I don’t care anymore!”
An ancient car body with no wheels sat in the yard a few feet from the back door. Steven ran toward it and ducked down behind the car, using it as cover. He trained his weapon on the back door. “I’m not having another suspect take off on me,” Steven mumbled to himself. He figured Ziggy’s beloved Harley must be in the garage. If he decided to try to escape that way, Lyle would have to shoot him
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