Jamie 7 by Joseph D Palermo
A portion of Chapter 7
Galetti glanced at his watch. A phone rang somewhere. "Damn! How long has it been, forty minutes, fifty minutes? What chance does that girl have? How long does it take to-------."
"Joe, they got the van." It was Tommy yelling from across the room.
"It's been left at Loomis between Twelfth Street and Crenshaw. The girl
is still in it. She is still alive. Joe, she's alive."
Galetti was already on his feet, his swivel chair slamming awkwardly against a file cabinet as the chair toppled onto its side.
Before Stephen could react, Joe was pushing through the big, glass doors. By the time the psychologist got to the hall, Joe was punching savagely at the elevator buttons.
"Lousy, good-for-noth'n elevators!" Joe hissed.
He punched the "down" button one last time, then he headed for the door to the stairwell He took: the stairs two, three, four at a time, Stephen right behind him.
The police Plymouth was on the ground level parking lot, waiting, ready. Joe had the engine started even before he had both legs in the car. Stephen barely had time to get the door closed before hot rubber was spewing from the rear wheels, the screech of tires, the wail of the siren slapping from wall to wall in the ground level chamber. Joe, fighting the wheel, started to say something to Stephen, stopped, exclaimed, "Oh, forget it!"
The blue Plymouth roared down a ramp. Joe slid it onto the street without even checking to see if the street was clear. They raced west, turned south, sliding around the corner rather than turning. They went west again along the southern border of the University of Illinois Chicago campus. Joe snapped the gear shift lever, stomped the gas pedal, slid the powerful Plymouth around anything that would not get out of his way fast enough.
The intersection of Roosevelt Road and Halstead Street was clogged with traffic. As they approached; the light was red, the Plymouth had already gone past the end of the long line of cars waiting to turn left. Joe could not slip the car into the eastbound lane to get through the intersection. Cursing, he bounced the car over the curb, through a snow bank, and onto the apron of a gas station. He skidded it north on Halstead Street, dodging southbound traffic. Then he continued west.
The streets rolled by. Finally, Joe turned south onto Loomis. As they turned the corner, they saw the black van beside the curb in mid-block, surrounded by police cars and uniformed officers. At the very last moment, Galetti slammed his foot on the brake pedal, yet he was half way out of thecar when it finally screamed to a full stop. He slipped once, regained his footing, then he bounded around the end of the shining, black, windowless van.
Panting, Joe Galetti stopped, stared at the officer who stood
before the opened, passenger side door of the van. Stephen stood behind him. A radio in the van crackled a police report; the volume was loud, too loud.
Something passed between Galetti and the officer,some unspoken, understanding.
Joe put his hands on either side of the door opening, hauled himself up into the van, tried to turn away, but couldn't
"Jesus, God almighty!" he rasped.
She was at the back, strapped to a black cot. She had dark hair, brown hair, a full, round face, a pretty face, a beautiful face, a face that could not have been more than twenty-one years old.She had a dark complexion, full lips, a broad nose, and hoses taped into each nostril. Her eyes were tightly closed, mouth open. Her right arm was tied to a plain, wooden board, a needle still inserted into it, a pink hose spiraling up to an empty bottle. She was naked from the waist down, both legs held up, apart, and locked into stirrups. She had been sliced from the crotch up to a lateral cut across her abdomen. The two triangular pieces of skin were neatly clamped to her upper thighs by silver clamps. Other metallic objects protruded from the abdominal opening, from between red, pink organs that still pulsed slowly. Blood ran from between her legs to a pool on the carpeted floor beneath her.
Galetti started to say something, but he only 'made a croaking sound. Then he bellowed.
"Where's that ambulance?"
"Nineteen," the van's radio crackled.
Joe stepped forward. He had to do something, there had to be something he could do, but what?
Stephen pulled himself up into the van, peered past Galetti, turned away horrified.
Joe stood before the cot, looked down at the girl, the girl with the pretty face, the brown hair and the opened stomach. She was bleeding to death before him. Her internal organs had been cut, sliced; she was bleeding to death. How could he stop that? How could he possibly stop that?
He turned, grasped the psychologist by the shirt color, peered into his eyes "What are we going to do?" he pleaded. "There's got to be something we can do,"
"Come on," Stephen said pulling Joe after him. He shoved the detective out the door, jumped out after him, slammed the door closed.
"That'll help keep the dirty air out," he explained.
"Where's that lousy ambulance?" Joe bellowed again as he pushed past the psychologist.
One officer was pointing; the ambulance was coming. Lights flashing, siren screaming, horn blaring, the vehicle swerved from one side .of the street to the other as it tried to get past a yellow Cadillac, but the car would not move aside. Joe Galetti stood in the middle of Loomis dumbfounded, unable to believe what he was seeing.
Rage! It was blind, red rage that boiled up within the detective
He didn't realize he was reaching for his weapon, but it was suddenly there, inhis right hand, pointed directly at the head of the driver of the car as it came toward him. The driver of the yellow Cadillac was a big man, a fat man. The expression on his face slowly changed as he realized that a pistol was being pointed between his eyes. The man braked the car to the side of the street as the ambulance pulled past and stopped beside the van.
The fat man lowered the window of the car. Only then did Joe notice the blond woman next to him.
"Get out, hands first," Galetti snapped.
"Hey!" the fat man wheezed, "I had the stereo on. The windows up. I didn't see the------."
Joe squatted slightly, supported his right hand with his left.
"Get out," he said from between clenched teeth.
Stephen started to move, to reach for the gun, to push it aside, but he stopped. Wrong, that would be wrong. Joe was ready to pull that trigger. Anything the psychologist did could make Joe do it. There was nothing Stephen could do, nothing.
The fat man was out of the car, puffing, hands raised high.
"Ok. Ok.; Take it easy, fella."
"Hands on the hood," Joe snapped, "feet apart."
The big man leaned over, spread both legs.
Joe transferred the gun to his left hand, held it to the man's neck while he expertly frisked him. Then he twisted the man's right arm around, held it against his back while he slipped the revolver into its holster under his own left arm. Then he twisted the fat man's left arm back and quickly snapped handcuffs on both wrists.
"Book 'im," Galetti said to an officer standing behind him, "deliberately interfering with an emergency vehicle."
The blond woman had recovered from her initial shock .She was out of the car now.
"Now, wait just one damn minute," she said. "Do you know who you're dealing with? Do you know------?"
"Book her as an accessory, Joe snapped, "and impound the car."
Joe turned on his heel and started to walk away, stopped as he looked into Stephen's eyes. A wave of guilt washed over Joe. He looked away. The psychologist knew, he knew just how close Joe had come to pulling that trigger.
Joe pushed past the psychologist and poked his head into the now opened driver's door of the van.
"JesusChrist, can't you do more that that?" he said. He walked to the back of the van, stood beside the wheeled stretcher that waited at the opened, rear doors.
"Can't you do more than that?" he repeated. "Just a plastic cover over the incision? Can't you do more? I thought you guys were---."
"Joe!" Stephen put his hand on the detective's shoulder, turned him around, searchedhis brown eyes.
"Joe, they're paramedics, emergency people, not surgeons. That girl's been cut to pieces; she needs a surgeon. They can't even stop the bleeding, because they' don't know what to clamp off."
Galetti stared at him. The psychologist was right. Of course, he was right,When Joe turned back, the girl had already been put on the stretcher. She was being rushed toward the waiting ambulance.
"All right!" Joe said. "I'll head 'em in." He headed for the
"Cabrini?" he asked as he passed one of the ambulance attendants.
"That's nearest," the young, bearded man answered.
Joe sat in the Plymouth, impatiently gunning the engine, but he said nothing to Stephen, who sat beside him. The psychologist sat with his left arm along the bench-type seat as he watched the ambulance attendan tsthrough the rear window. Joe watched the same scene through the rear view mirror. When the ambulance driver slipped into the driver's seat, Joe hit the siren and tromped the gas pedal. But he didn't drive wildly as he had when they raced to get to the van. He drove quickly, constantly checking the rear view mirror to make certain that the ambulance kept up. As they approached Fillmore Street, he reached for the microphone.
"Thirty-seven," he said.
"Thirty-seven," came the instant reply.
"Locate Doctor Dominic Solarino. Tell him that we are bringing Marie Spencer to MotherCabriniHospital. She's been badly cut up. She needs a surgeon." He snapped out two phone numbers without taking his eyes from the street. "You got that?"
"Patch me in to Tommy Cieszi."
There was a click, a pause, then, "Ceiszi speaking."
"Yeah, Joe. Where are you?"
"Heading the ambulance in to CabriniHospital. Listen, they're going over the van now. Looks like a mobile CookCountyHospital in that thing. Check DMV. Check Robbery for heists of medical equipment. If that doesn't work, talk to Bob Rainer. Find out how one would outfit a thing like that. When they bring it in, take it apart. I want everything from the paint to the transmission fluid checked. If it looks like a dog pissed on a tire, have it tested. Got it?"
"Got it. How's the girl, Joe?"
"Get back to you later, Tommy. Out."
NOTE FROM AUTHOR: But Marie's unborn baby was gone.