Monday, February 4, 2019

Infernal Affairs, Chapter 1: Martyr and Saint

I'm tough on my characters.

Take Detective Thomas Nolan, NYPD, for example.

I've killed friends.

I've killed friends of his children.

I've put him in the hospital three times.

He's been shot, stabbed, impaled, and beaten into the pavement ....

And that's just book one.

This book, well, it's time to see what Tommy can take.

Because this time, we're going to try to make him a saint.

By hook or by crook.

Welcome to Chapter 1 of Infernal Affairs.

Chapter 1: Martyr and Saint
Martyr -- a title in the Catholic Church for saints who died for their faith. One that I never expected to have.
As I sat in the front row, side seat of my church, Saint Gregory the Great, it only occurred to me that at least the former title would be slapped upon my tombstone when the bullets started to fly.
Father Jerome Delany, the celebrant, was the first to be shot. The sharp crack of the rifle echoed through as he started to talk about how God was and is Love. He shuddered with the impact as the five bullets punched into his chest. He fell back with the last bullet, which was impressive for a man as old as he had been.
My family and I were seated to the right of the altar as you faced the altar. We were less interested in being seen in the front and more interested in being in a position to drown out the guitarist on the other side of the altar from us with our singing. We weren’t good, but we were mildly in tune, unlike the guitar, or the cantor.
I was with Mariel, my wife, and Jeremy, my son. Mariel had long, wavy chestnut brown hair, round, deep-brown eyes, a pleasant heart-shaped face, and a healthy olive complexion. As Ben Franklin would say, we fit well together. Jeremy was eleven, energetic, and very much an 11-year-old boy.
When the first shot went off, I dropped to one knee and reached for my handgun. My wife Mariel bent over to protect our unborn daughter. Our son Jeremy crouched so low he was nearly under the seats. “Plan 22 C,” I said.
Both of them nodded. Ever since the serial killer had broken into our home, we had come up with a collection of contingency plans.
Plan C was always “run while I lay down cover fire.”
Before they could even get off the floor, I jumped onto the back of the chair in front of me. It tilted forward and I jumped onto the next chair before it fell forward, and I leaped to the small rail for climbing up on the altar -- it had been installed for those who couldn't do steps without holding onto something - and then took a giant leap to the center.
I went for the top of the altar for multiple reason: first, visibility, and second, I wanted to be the biggest, clearest target. Thank God none of the paraphernalia for later in Mass was there yet.
The shooter was at the back of the church, rifle held high. Since the first shot, everyone in the church stood and ran. Few had ducked to cover, -along with those who had merely tripped those trying to run.
And half the church had run directly into the center aisle, in front of the shooters.
I dropped to one knee, gun up and ready. I grabbed the microphone from the altar and bellowed, “Freeze! Police!”
The rifle man turned, and swung his muzzle up to aim for me.
I aimed high and fired. The first bullet scraped along the barrel of the rifle, catching the ejector, and drilling into his shoulder. It turned him around before a round went off. He nearly decapitated a statue of the Virgin Mary. The second bullet struck up just right of center mass (his right, not mine). My third bullet missed by a hair, scoring him across the forehead.
The shooter’s rifle came down. He staggered back and grabbed his arm. He slumped up against the side of a pew, grabbed his rifle with his good hand, and raised the barrel to aim again.
I fired again, catching him in the breast, right beneath the clavicle. He leaned straight back this time, and went down.
The only way to get to him would have been through the horde of church goers. I frowned, thought it over a moment, and prayed a little.
I pushed forward in a leap … that was aided by a little divine intervention. The levitation trick that I prayed for was just enough to leap from the altar to the front pew. I leaped from the back of the pew to the one behind it. I leaped from one pew to another, looking like a parkour runner. I wasn’t thinking at the time, giving only a brief thought to how I would explain this if anyone had noticed -God’s little parlor trick.
I leaped off once the crowd had petered out, landing in the aisle.
This also put me in direct line of sight of the shooter.
The muzzle came up a few inches and pulled the trigger.
It clicked.
The shooter looked as confused as I felt. I lunged forward and kicked the rifle away from him. The rifle had been damaged. My first bullet jammed the ejector, and the last spent casing did not eject.
The shooter was a walking cliché: socialist, hammer and sickle badge, Che Guevara shirt.
The shooter smiled at me and laughed. “Almost got you, you capitalist pig. You won’t be lucky next time.”
There was a burst of bullets from outside. My head shot up. The automatic gunfire was unlike the shooter I just dropped. I darted out of the back of the vestibule (away from the altar), then through the front door of the church.
Outside the church was empty of people. Since I didn’t trust to locate the gunfire by sound alone (directionality of sound can be a pain in the butt), I turned right. Because there had been an active shooter in the church, and no one had appeared from the nearby police car parked near the entrance behind the altar side of the church.
I turned around the corner. Four men with M4 rifles were hosing down the three men crouched behind the patrol car. I charged the gunmen. They didn’t turn. I was within thirty feet of them when I opened fire. I emptied the magazine into two of the shooters.
The empty magazine ejected from the pistol as I came within arm’s reach of the remaining two shooters. I hammered my pistol behind the ear of the shooter on the left. His head bounced off the rear windshield he was hiding behind. A second later, I crashed into the shooter on the right. I crushed the shooter between my shoulder and the side of an SUV. I drove my elbow into the shooter’s ear, and then pistol-whipped him. I went back and forth with my pistol, smacking it against the skull of each gunman in turn until they fell down.
I kicked aside the gunmen’s weapons, reloaded my pistol, then took two steps back, covering them. I called out, “Clear! NYPD! Plain clothes!”
Why didn’t they even consider sending in more than one guy to the church? Because I’m one guy going to Mass versus being ambushed by two armed cops. Duh.

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