Officer Girard cursed under his breath when his lieutenant came into the duty room and ordered him out to investigate a situation on Lake Street, in the red-light district.
It was raining hammers and nails and he was in the middle of a ham sandwich, but when Standish came into the room with orders he knew better than to talk back; he and his partner got to their feet and put on their rain gear without delay. They were out the door and in their squad in less than five minutes.
Girard got behind the wheel, drove north down the King’s Highway, merged onto Dupont Avenue and took a right turn on Lake Street. There wasn’t much traffic west of Nicollet Avenue. They drove with the cherries rolling and moved through the traffic lights.
There was a crowd gathered out front of the Round Up where Lieutenant Standish told him the incident had begun. Crowd control was the job of the 5th Precinct, he wasn’t going to stop for that. Standish told them to be on the lookout for Karl Thorrson. Girard didn’t know him by sight but he knew that this Thorrson was a heavy hitter, new in town, some kind of crime boss running the rackets on Lake Street, and people said he was ten feet tall.
The young ranger doubted that.
They were given an address, told to take a sweep through the alley between 4th and 5th Avenue.
So he took a left turn down the corridor and drove in slowly; right at the entrance to the alley there were two 5th Precinct beat cops huddled together under an awning with their backs against the storefront. One of them looked to be having some trouble, the other looked up at Girard as he passed them by. The look on his face suggested that he was seeking some assistance.
To hell with them, Girard thought. I ain’t getting wet for a couple of city cops.
His partner had the same idea and didn’t say a word.
They turned on their search light as they got into the alley.
Officer Girard thought he saw someone slip into a gap between two buildings. Probably just a junkie, he thought to himself. A radio car came toward him from the opposite end. They each stopped in front of the loading dock of a warehouse that belonged to the giant they were looking for. There was a cream colored coupe on the ramp with a couple inside.
Then there was a blinding light, and a thunderclap so loud it shook them in their cars; all the city lights went out for blocks.
They heard a woman screaming from inside the warehouse, Girard decided he had better go in.