05 October 2012
WELCOME TO PDX
By Curtis C. Chen
"Just to be clear on this," Laura said, "I am not shooting a dog."
Maryellen stopped walking into the next darkened corridor and lowered her service weapon. "You do remember what that body looked like back there, right? And you understand we've still got two baggage handlers locked in here with the missing animal?"
"Don't say 'animal,'" Laura said. "That dog is someone's pet. It's not her fault her carrier got banged open by a clumsy airline worker. Poor thing's probably scared out of her mind. All I'm saying is we should go non-lethal."
"That TSA guy was missing half his fucking neck," Maryellen said. "'Contract incurable disease' was not on my list of fun things to do this week."
"We don't know that the dog has rabies."
"You think a normal poodle did that kind of damage to Rocky Balboa back there?"
Laura sighed. "I really don't want to do the paperwork on another police-involved shooting this month."
Maryellen snorted. "Welcome to Portland."
A short, sharp bark sounded ahead of them. Maryellen raised her Glock and clicked her flashlight on, bracing it underneath her weapon.
"At least let me go first," Laura said, hefting her pepper spray canister.
"Fine," Maryellen said. "But Fifi's not taking a bite out of me. You see movement, you spray the bitch."
Laura moved into the corridor. About six feet forward, there was an open door and a dark red smear on the ground.
"Got blood here!" Laura called. She kicked the door open all the way, then jumped back and flattened herself against the far wall of the corridor, shining her flashlight into the space. "Supply closet—shit."
"What?" Maryellen ran to her partner. "Another body?"
"Yeah." Laura crouched in the doorway. "I think we found Fifi."
Maryellen made a face. Something had eaten through the dog's midsection, and the corpse looked like two canine halves joined by a contorted bit of spine.
"Jesus," Maryellen said. "We got two rabid animals?"
"I told you we should have waited for MCAS," Laura said, moving her light up to the dog's head. "Huh. This is weird."
"Look at her mouth." Laura pointed. "No blood."
Maryellen frowned. "If this is the missing pooch, and she didn't chew up TSA back there—"
A clanging noise echoed down the corridor, and both officers jumped to their feet. A metal drum clattered against the wall. Two human-shaped silhouettes swayed in the distance, slapping at each other.
"Hello!" Laura called. "Portland PD. Who's there?"
The silhouettes stopped moving, groaned, then started shuffling toward Laura and Maryellen.
"Goddammit." Laura drew her firearm. "I say again, Portland Police! Identify yourselves, please!"
The groaning and shuffling continued. One of the silhouettes moved into a pool of fluorescent light, revealing a sallow face whose bottom half was covered with blood and fur.
"Okay," Maryellen said, "can we shoot these motherfuckers?"
Laura took a breath, then cocked her weapon. "What the hell. It's only a little paperwork."
THE STORY CONTINUES ELSEWHERE...
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Image: fedex by Dustin Brice, March, 2008