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"Dust Up" - Part Two

We turned once more onto San Marino Road's eastern loop. Beyond the metal railing that bordered the edge of the road and down the wooded eastern slopes of The Hills lay Newcastle and Essex, the scattered glow from their lights not quite reaching us.    

Five seconds after getting in the northbound lane, I confirmed it.
   
"Kat," said Mouse and I heard her tone.
   
"Saw them?"
   
"Yep," she said now half-turned in her seat and looking out the back window. "About two streets ago. I thought we were clear?"
   
"Thought so, too. Must've been after we were in the house."
   
"They just turned onto San Marino."
   
Checked the rearview and saw a pair of headlights get into the northbound lane. "Got 'em," I said.
   
"What's the play?"
   
Looked at the rearview again. The headlights were about a city block behind us and keeping pace.
   
I felt a twinge in my gut.
   
"Kat?"
   
"Hang on a sec," I said, then slowed the Royale and pulled to the dirt shoulder.
   
"What are you doing?" said Mouse.
   
"Just checking," I said as the Royale came to a stop.
   
I turned my attention to my side mirror and drew Bonnie at the same time, laid her atop my right leg.
   
The headlights got closer and then the car went past, still heading north on San Marino, but I got a good look--it was a dark green BMW.
   
I kept watching as the tailights headed into the distance. Then it slowed and turned left, vanishing down one of the winding lanes that snaked between The Hills' mansions.
   
"False alarm," I said, holstering Bonnie but still staring at the spot where the car had turned, the gnawing feeling still in my gut.
   
"You don't sound convinced," said Mouse.
   
"Not sure," I said and turned to her. "What do you think?"
   
Her eyes narrowed and she also looked in the direction the car had gone. "Could've been a civvie. Maybe they made a wrong turn and had to come around this way. Happened the first time we came up here to Righetti's."
   
"Maybe," I said.
   
"Or," Mouse went on, "somebody's playing us."
   
"I'm thinking that, too," I said. "Keep an eye on our six."
   
"Done," she said, still half-turned in her seat.
   
I put us back on San Marino heading north. A check of the rearview showed a dark and empty road behind us.
   
As we neared the street the BMW had turned down, I slowed, popped optics to low-light, and scanned the street.
   
Except for trees and shubbery lining both sides and a streetlamp halfway down, the street was empty.
   
"Nothing," I said, popping optics to normal and turning back to the road ahead. "You?"
   
"Six is clear," said Mouse. "I'll keep checking."
   
I nodded, got the Royale back to speed, and headed up San Marino toward the Highway 610 westbound entrance.
   
Mouse said, "You hungry? I'm hungry? Is there time for a quick bite?"
   
I popped my optic clock.
   
20:12:44
   
"Plenty of time," I said."


*   *   *

I kept an eye on our six as we got on Highway 610 west toward Bay City proper, snatching quick glances at the rearview and both side mirrors.
   
No sign of the BMW during the four klick stretch of highway and still nothing as we exited onto Edge Road. Nothing but other cars also getting off the highway and going about their business.
   
Nothing.
   
But the gnawing in my gut was still there.
   
Ten minutes later, I handed the two soda cups and the big warm grease-stained paper bag to Mouse and pulled out of the Grill Palace drive-thru lane back onto Beech Street. Headed north to Bayview Avenue and turned left into the middle of three westbound lanes. To our right, past a soft gravel shoulder, a three-meter tall fenceline running west all the way to the Marina marked the south end of the port. Beyond the fenceline I could see the tops of scattered outbuildings. Past them, closer to the waters of San Marino Bay, stood the huge gantry cranes that serviced the container ships using the port.
   
Mouse dug into the paper bag. "Eat on the way?"
   
A metallic blue MitsuAudi sedan fishtailed into the intersection ahead, skidding to a stop at an angle facing us. The driver's side rear door flew open and a dark suited male with mirrorshades stepped out, raised a subgun, and opened fire, full-auto.
   
Dammit.
   
I ducked my head and mashed the accelerator. We screamed forward as a hail of rounds spanged off the Royale's hood and stitched a ragged line across the top of the windshield, the glass spiderwebbing.
   
Aimed the car at the shooter and he managed to dive out of the way onto the gravel shoulder as the Royale's left front corner crunched the opened door, shoving it back against the MitsuAudi.
   
We caromed off the MitsuAudi and kept going on Bayview as another hail of gunfire riddled the back of the car.
   
"Holy shit," said Mouse, still gripping the Grill Palace bag, dividing her gaze between me, the front windshield, and the back window. "Not Triads."
   
"Only Chinatown," I said trying to concentrate on the street ahead.
   
"So who the hell is it?"
   
"My question, too," I said. "Let's get to the Marina before anything else--"
   
"They're back," said Mouse, looking back over her seat.
   
Glanced at the rearview.
   
Yep. The MitsuAudi was about a block behind us and starting to gain.
   
"Persistent little shits," said Mouse.
   
"Let's lose 'em before--"
   
And a blue and white BCPD cruiser slewed into the lane behind the MitsuAudi, lightbars flashing, sirens wailing.
   
Son. Of. A. Bitch.
   
"Sonofabitch," said Mouse.
   
"My thoughts exactly," I said.
   
I gave the loaner a little more gas and began to slalom between westbound traffic amid yowling horns and squealing brakes. Thankfully it wasn't as crowded as it would've been a few hours earlier but there were still enough cars to make driving interesting.
   
Rearview.
   
The MitsuAudi was still a block behind us, the cruiser about two car lengths behind them.
   
The last thing I wanted was to tangle with BCPD and, very likely, MaxTac.
   
Quick scan ahead.
   
Timed right, we could steer past everyone and lose the MitsuAudi and the cruiser up ahead--
   
"Fuck," said Mouse.
   
Rearview.
   
A second cruiser had joined the chase and someone in the MitsuAudi decided open fire on them.
   
Idiots.
   
"Dumbfucks," said Mouse. "And in a bright blue Mitsu, no less. That's really gonna call out MaxTac."
   
"Not in the mood for them," I said, still checking the rearview.
   
The MitsuAudi was now weaving between cars and still firing on the cruisers. Other cars were swerving to get out of the line of fire.
   
"In front!" said Mouse.
   
Looked ahead.
   
The car in front of us screeched to a halt as the light up ahead went red.
   
Too close.
   
I slid the Royale onto the gravel shoulder, went past three stopped cars, turned back onto Bayview as it intersected Waterman, then caught sight of the front of the #15 bus as it bounded into the intersection at the same time. Its headlamps flooded the inside of the Royale, the bus driver's face frozen in a mask of terror, the bus's horn screaming for us to get out of the way.

(to be continued...)



"Dust Up"
Part 1 | Part 3