He only took the
call because he was in his neighborhood. Some perp had kidnapped
a girl. They were even on a street only two blocks away from
where he lived. When he pulled up on his bike, the other black
and whites were already there, forming a ring facing the
said to the detective in charge as he took off his helmet.
"Oh, hi Johnny,
some perp is holding a hostage inside, he's all mixed up, even
called 911 on himself. Can you beat that?"
some kind of nut. How old's the girl?"
"About seven I
That made Johnny
mad. That was the same age as his kid. He got on his radio and
called 911 for details. Then he looked at the layout. It had been
an early call. The sun was low, the house faced west. 911 didn't
have many details. The girl had been walking to school from two
blocks away with a group of friends when he snatched her up. They
still didn't have her name. He tied her up and threatened to kill
her and himself. He sounded nervous.
"If he was
nervous then he's more nervous now," thought Johnny, "with all
these black and whites around."
officers were hiding behind their patrol cars. They knew the
danger. Johnny pondered a minute. It made him mad. Hell, it could
be his daughter there, his Maria, tied up and scared. And the
jerk pulled it off in his neighborhood too! The nerve of the guy!
So he formulated a plan. He decided to break cover.
stood up, in full view of the house. The other officers' eyes
"What the Hell's
he doing?" one said.
He faced the
house, and behind it the sun. His dark aviator sunglasses made
him look like General Douglas MacArthur, the liberator of the
Philipines. He placed his feet well apart.
doing Johnny?" said one of them, "Where's your Kevlar?"
The sun was
glinting off his badge directly through the open window where
he'd seen the curtain move. Inside the room it made a hot spot on
the wallpaper, caressing the hair of the girl wrapped in rope
huddling against the wall. The perp saw it too, his sweaty hand
clutching the 9mm Beretta. He would pay attention now.
pupils dilated, his irises turned a cruel uncaring pale blue,
like sniper's eyes. He stared directly at the window.
He freed the
cold hard steel from its holster. He slid the receiver back with
a soft touch, cocking the gun. He faced the house and said these
words quite softly, but forming each one carefully with his
"Get ready for
death," he said, "Get ready for death right now."
The perp watched
from the window.
"I'll see your
muzzle flash," he said softly, enunciating the words carefully,
"then it's all over."
"What the Hell's
he doing?" said one of the others, "talking to himself? Why
doesn't he use the bullhorn? Why doesn't he move back?"
The perp watched
closely from the window while the little girl watched the gold
hotspot dancing gaily across the curtains.
"I always get my
man," said Johnny, forming with extra care the words, "dead or
At this, the
perp near the window lost his sweaty grip on his Baretta, and
melted, like hot wax off a birthday candle. Like the candle, he
went out cold, right there on the floor.
reporters interviewed Johnny later he boasted proudly,
"It was the
easiest arrest I ever made. Not a shot fired. Out cold when we
cuffed him. No Miranda act, no hassle, out cold. But it isn't me
who's gonna take all the credit. I give half of it to the girl
down at 911. She's the one who told me he was deaf."
You can imagine
the surprise on Johnny's face when the officers were bringing out
the little girl wrapped up in a blanket. She broke free and ran
straight to him crying, "Daddy, Daddy, you're my hero now for
sure," she said jumping up into his arms, "I'm sooo glad that's
I think what he
said was, "Maria?" though I can't be sure, I wasn't there.