God on My Side?
Las Vegas, Nevada
January 28, 2006 -- 7:34 PM
The agents opened fire on me as I drove away in my stolen Corvette. I could hear the sound of bullets biting into the Corvette's fiberglass body and I had a bad feeling that the owner wasn't getting his car back -- in any way, shape, or form. The black Tahoe followed me down Las Vegas Blvd, two agents hanging out of the side windows. They were trying to aim their weapons at me, but I kept swerving in and out of dense evening traffic and it threw their aim off.
Coming up to a red light with the Tahoe right on my tail, I cut off a taxi and swerved toward the center median. The median was set up with grass and palm trees, with a concrete curb to separate it from the street. I bent the left-front rim and scraped the bumper jumping the curb, and then just barely missed a tree before dropping back onto the street with a thud. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that the Tahoe had tackled the small obstacle with ease. I focused back on the street and saw that I was not only driving against traffic, but there was also a very large bus coming at me. The bus honked its horn loudly and I jerked the wheel to the left, narrowly missing it. My wild swerve forced a delivery van in the right lane off the road, where it hit a fire hydrant. I gave the Corvette more gas, shifting into second gear. I was doing at least 40 mph going the wrong direction -- and the Tahoe was still following right behind me!
I blew through another red light and was clipped by a limousine crossing the intersection. The crash spun my car across the intersection and it came to a stop facing the Tahoe, which was still charging toward me. I shifted into reverse and floored the gas, backing up quickly toward the sidewalk on the corner. The Tahoe bore down on my front end as I bumped over the curb and smashed through a chain-link fence. The Tahoe's driver probably wanted to hit me and disable my engine or at least deploy my airbags. I looked around and saw that I was inside a construction area. It looked like it could be a good hiding place, but I didn't have time to flee my vehicle. I hit a patch of gravel and wrenched the steering wheel over. My car spun around 180 degrees and I shifted into first gear. Nothing happened when I hit the gas. The car was bogged down in the gravel! The Tahoe came to a stop behind me, and the agents approached my car cautiously with their guns drawn.
I wasn't about to let the chase end here. I shifted back into reverse and gave it some gas. Then I shifted back into first and did the same, this time slinging gravel chunks at the agents. I repeated this process several times, the agents ducking behind their SUV each time I shifted into first gear. This was an unintended but rather satisfying side effect of what I was really doing: rocking my car back and forth to get it unstuck. I finally got traction and drove out of the gravel patch. I looked back at the Tahoe. It had been shelled with gravel; its windshield was cracked and the paint was ruined. This didn't stop the agents. They got back inside and resumed the chase.
I saw flashing red and blue lights on the far site of the construction site. Were the Las Vegas police coming to intercept me? It looked like they weren't moving, but I was approaching them quickly. There was an exit just beyond the parked squad cars. Why were there cop cars in a construction site? It was a crime scene! I slammed on my brakes and stopped behind a white van marked Clark County Coroner's Office. Two people were standing amid the police tape. There was a six-foot-long black plastic bag on the ground, which a third person was zipping up. The two standing people looked up and saw me. I had my window open and I noticed the man glance over at the woman and say, "Oh no, not another furry."
They weren't.....? Were they? I had to ask.
"Hey!" I called, "Are you guys crime scene investigators?"
"Yes, we are," said the woman.
"You SUCK!" I shouted, shifting the Corvette back into first gear and taking off.
The black Tahoe followed me out of the construction site, both of our vehicles spraying gravel everywhere. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a cop joining the chase. He was driving a V6 Chevy Impala, hardly a challenge for a Corvette. My only problem was keeping the car in one piece long enough to lose him. I drifted out onto the street, swinging it wide across two lanes. The Tahoe caught up to me and rammed my back bumper. The jolt knocked me off course slightly, but I regained control. I had to end this before the cop called for backup or I got shot. Or both.
There was a small pink building on the left side of the street. I headed for it; I didn't know why. Instinct told me to go there. I aimed for the driveway to the side of the building, which led to a rear parking lot. I bounced up the entrance ramp, then yanked up the handbrake and spun the car around so that the front end stuck straight out at the rampaging Tahoe. It showed no sign of stopping; they were going to ram me! I looked back and briefly saw an odd sight: there was a bag of golf clubs lying behind my seat. I threw my door open and jumped out. I quickly manhandled the golf bag out from behind the seat and leapt clear just as the huge SUV slammed head-on into the battered Corvette. The high 4x4 hit the Vette's long, low front and went airborne, crashing through an ivy-covered block wall behind the car. The cop was following right behind; he tried to stop but couldn't. He swerved at the last second and smashed into the tall metal sign in front of the pink building. The pink neon lettering instantly went dark, and then the sign advertising Love Me Tender Wedding Chapel collapsed on top of the stalled Impala.
I dashed inside the chapel. Maybe the agents and the cop hadn't seen me. I couldn't imagine that being the case, me being orange and all, and carrying a bag of golf clubs, no less! I jogged into the main room and stopped suddenly with a brief skid of my pads on the linoleum aisle floor. There, in that room, was a young couple getting married! The minister, dressed as an Elvis impersonator, was reading the vows. He glanced up and paused, his face taking on the most incredulous expression. The couple turned around and stared at me in stunned silence. Then Reverend Elvis spoke. "What do you think you're doing, entering in God's house dressed like that?" he demanded. "Take that costume off!"
"Would if I could, buddy," I said. "And if you don't mind my saying this, aren't you a bit of a hypocrite to say that, wearing as ridiculous a costume as that?"
"Why are you here?" the minister inquired, a bit more humbly. "You're interrupting holy matrimony."
"Hiding," I said simply. I thought that mentioning I was hiding from the police and the FBI, and that I had just stolen a car, was probably not the best thing to do at the moment.
"Hiding...from whom?" he asked skeptically. Here came the bomb.
"Girl Scouts," I blurted out quickly. "They're right outside. They tried to force me to buy their cookies. I ran and they chased me here. I think I lost them." It was a lame answer, but it was the first thing I thought of.
I could tell he didn't believe me. "Girl Scouts...right. Why are you really here?"
"Oh, if you must know, I'm --"
"FREEZE!" came a voice from inside the chapel's front hall. "We have you surrounded. Move and we shoot!"
The minister and the young couple ducked down behind the altar. I was left standing there holding the golf bag. "Drop your weapon and put your paws up!" shouted the unseen agent.
I had no weapons to drop, only the clubs. I set the bag down in an upright position on the floor, then put my paws up. "You happy now?" I asked cynically.
"Shut up!" shouted the agent, moving slowly out of the hall with his gun pointed at my head. "Do not move!"
This was no way to go down. I had no intention of surrendering to any of these clowns. I put my paws back down, but kept them away from my sides. "I don't want trouble," I said calmly. "I just want to --"
"I SAID, SHUT UP!" the agent screamed, starting to twitch. His grip on the gun was getting a bit shaky.
"Let me finish, Goddammit!" I shouted, losing my cool.
"Thou shalt not say the Lord's name in vain!" cried the minister from behind the altar.
The agent, hearing the minister's voice, suddenly fired in his direction. Fortunately the shot missed, embedding itself in the wall. The agent faced me again.
"All I want is to go home," I said to him. "Just drop this whole thing and let me go. The woman I love is waiting for me."
"Ha ha," the agent said condescendingly, sneering at me. "What could you ever know of love, freak? The only home you've ever had or ever will have is a science lab. We have orders to take you back there."
"I'm not going back to BioCon," I said flatly.
"Suit yourself," he said, pressing the cold barrel of his gun up against the side of my head just below my ear. "You know, this is a pretty important moment for the Bureau."
I suddenly had an epiphany. I looked down at the bag of golf clubs standing right between the agent and myself. He was so preoccupied holding the gun to my head and monologuing that he didn't notice me taking hold of a titanium putter from inside the bag.
"Yes, this is an important moment indeed. We've been pursuing you for more than ten months now, and we finally got you. That last time didn't count, see, because the scientists caught you. But this time ... this time I caught you. I did. All those other idiots are unconscious out in the truck."
"I thought you told me I was surrounded," I said.
"So I lied. Sue me." he said.
"I think I will," I replied offhandedly.
He ignored my last comment. "So, 'Fox', how's it feel to be a caged animal again? You know that's all you are. You're just a scared animal, all alone and you don't know what to do about it. Just an animal, the sort of animal that people shoot for sport!"
He cocked his gun and I heard the round enter the chamber. "You know what?" the agent said, a sadistic grin forming on his face. "Maybe you won't have to go back to the lab after all. Maybe I'll tell them you put up a struggle. Maybe I had to shoot you in self-defense. Yeah, I like the sound of that. I'll tell them I had to kill you in self-def--"
I had heard enough. Before he finished his sentence, I grabbed the shaft of the putter and rammed it into the bottom of the agent's chin. The jolt knocked his gun away from my head just as he pulled the trigger. There was a tremendous bang and I felt the bullet graze my cheek as it went past. Then I heard nothing in my right ear. I was temporarily deaf. The agent recovered and aimed his gun at me again. He pulled the trigger -- and nothing happened. We both looked down at the gun; it was empty.
He looked back at me. "Oh, shit," he said.
I smirked at him and said, "Fore," then I wound up with the putter and snapped that strong titanium shaft over his head. The agent crumpled to the floor.
"I bet you're seeing lots of birdies now," I quipped, dropping the broken golf club.
I picked up the golf bag, turned, and padded slowly toward the door. The minister got up from his hiding place behind the altar and called to me, "Hey! Where are you going?"
"Home," I said. "Someplace where I can get a good night's sleep. I don't know."
"Why don't you take off your costume and then we can talk?" he offered.
"I can't," I said.
"Why not?" he asked. "Zipper stuck or something? If that's the case, I can help you."
"No," I answered, "this is who I am. This is ... what I am."
"Oh my," he said. "You're not ... human?"
"No," I said, pushing the creaky door open and walking out into the night.
No sooner had I left the building than I saw Diana standing there in the parking lot, leaning up against the fender of my El Camino. "Hey there, Fox," she said.
"Where'd you come from?" I said.
She waved her hand in the air. "Easy. I just followed the sirens."
We exchanged embraces. "You're bleeding," Diana said, feeling my cheek.
"It's just a scratch," I said. "I'll be fine."
"What happened in there?" she asked, concerned. "I heard shouting."
I held her hand in my paw. "I had a fight with some crazy FBI agent. He tried to kill me. I brained him with a putter."
Diana gave me a strange look. "Where is he now?"
"Hell, I don't know. Hopefully on the floor, unconscious. Let's go."
We turned toward the El Camino. I tossed the golf bag into the truck bed. Diana gave me the keys and I started to open the driver's-side door. Then I heard a noise. I spied a figure sneaking through the shadows along the edge of the parking lot and immediately became wary. I whispered to Diana, "Do you have my gun?"
"It's in the glove box," she answered.
I reached over and retrieved my gun, then acted as though no one was there. I got inside the truck and closed the door. Diana did the same. It was all the bait the dark figure needed. The man came running out of the shadows and by the light of an overhead lamp I could see it was the same nutjob agent I had just fought. I braced for another clash.
The agent stopped at my door and jammed his gun into my neck through my open window. "You little shit," he said through his teeth, "No one's ever gotten away from me before. And you're not going to be the first!"
"I think you're bluffing," I said. "You ran out of bullets already."
Diana tapped on my right shoulder. "Fox, what's happening?"
We both ignored her for the time being. "You didn't really think I would leave home without a spare clip, did you?" the agent sneered. "Oh, I forgot, you're an animal. You don't think, you just rely on instinct."
"That's where you're wrong, jackass," I said.
"Oh? Am I? Pissed on any good trees lately? I bet you and your friend here have probably yif--"
I could take no more. I cut him off in mid-sentence, shoving my door open into the agent's knees hard enough that he lost his balance. His pistol fell to the ground under the truck. The agent got back up and scrambled for his gun, but I was already there to meet him. I kicked it all the way under the El Camino.
"I'll bet I have more of a conscience than you do," I said. "I don't want to fight you. Just let me go."
He lunged at me. "Yeaaaarrrgh! Die, you furry sumbitch!" he yelled as he bodyslammed me into my truck's quarter panel. He gave me no choice but to fight back. He had put me within arm's length of the golf bag, so I reached over the bed sides and grabbed a sand wedge. The agent punched at me. I brought the golf club around and jabbed him in the gut with the grip end of the metal shaft. He grunted in pain but continued swinging. I blocked most of his punches with the club's shaft, then when he aimed high I dropped down low and swept his legs out from under him.
The agent fell onto his back, and as one pant leg slid up a bit I could see a large knife in a sheath strapped to his leg. He went for the knife. I clubbed him with the sand wedge and knocked his hand away from it. At this point I was within striking range of his feet, and he kicked my lower leg, which caused me to fall over. The agent managed to reach his knife and out of the corner of my eye I saw him pull it out of the sheath. I could easily shoot him and end this whole thing. I reached for my gun. Then I suddenly realized that I had not actually tucked it into my pocket, but rather had left it on the driver's seat next to me.
The agent attacked again, gripping the knife like a madman. He tried to stab me while I was down, but from on the ground I swung the golf club at him in a last-ditch effort to fend him off. My wild swing paid off. The club hit him in the arm and knocked the knife off target. He fell on top of me, the knife striking the pavement right next to my shoulder. He headbutted me, which I did not appreciate one bit. I scratched his face with my claws, and I was fully prepared to bite him if need be.
The agent was treating this like a fight to the death, because to him, that's what it was. His plan was for me to die. I'd end up being just another story to be locked away in the X-Files or whatever. Maybe he'd have something to talk about at the water cooler. He'd get the glory of having taken down the fox-man who had eluded permanent capture for nearly a year. Meanwhile, I'd be dead, my body sliced up into lab specimens or incinerated in a furnace. I didn't like that trade-off. If anyone was going to die, it wasn't going to be me. What right had they to deprive me of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, rights guaranteed by the Constitution, rights that law enforcement are sworn to protect? Even the newest immigrant was granted these rights! Why was I not? All of these thoughts ran through my mind at once.
It was at this point that I snapped back to reality in time to realize that my head was swimming because the agent had his hands clamped around my neck, cutting off my air supply. He was trying to strangle me! This was hand-to-paw combat at its worst. If it was savage that he wanted, it was savage he was going to get. I grabbed at his coat lapels and yanked him toward me, then I bit down hard on his shoulder. My sharp teeth made deep punctures that stained his white shirt crimson. The agent howled in pain and let go of my neck, now clutching his bleeding shoulder. I got up off the ground and picked up the sand wedge again. I held the golf club like a samurai sword, ready to whack him for all I was worth. He spat blood at me angrily. "Go to hell," he snarled.
"I hear they have a place all set up for you, scum," I shot back.
The agent's anger now outweighed his pain. With one movement he reached down into his pants pocket and pulled out a switchblade. How many weapons did this guy have? I swung the sand wedge at him and missed. He slashed at me and came so close that the blade cut my shirt. In my peripheral vision I could see Diana still staring in shock from the truck's passenger seat. I wished she'd do something to help, and soon.
The agent attacked down low and sliced my leg. The sand wedge clattered to the ground and I went down again. I hoped that he hadn't cut any tendons. The agent knelt down and held the switchblade to my throat. With his free hand he grasped his bleeding shoulder. "You're gonna die, freak," he said through gritted teeth, "and you're not taking me with you!"
He started to make a move to cut my throat and, as I closed my eyes, expecting to feel intense pain, I instead heard a gunshot. I opened my eyes again and there was the agent, lying on the ground, dead. I looked over at Diana. She was holding my Beretta in her hands, and it was smoking. I picked myself up and hobbled over to her. She was starting to cry.
I took the gun gently from her and set it down on the seat. "I ... I had to do it," she sobbed. "He was going to kill you."
"Thank you," I said. "You saved my life. Again."
"I love you, Fox," she said.
"I love you too, Diana," I said back, looking deep into her wet brown eyes. Completely ignoring the blood on my clothing and on my body, Diana and I hugged. Then we shared in our first mutual kiss.
It was in the middle of this kiss that Reverend Elvis came outside. "Oh, good Lord," he said, shocked at the sight of the mess before him. He looked at me with a pleading expression. "What have you done?"
"Why don't you ask him?" I said, pointing to the dead agent.
"You've just killed a man," the minister said accusingly. "Don't you know how serious an offense that is? Both in the eyes of the law and of God."
"He tried to kill me first," I protested. "You saw it yourself!"
"'Thou shalt not kill'," he said, reciting from the Ten Commandments. "You broke one of God's laws --"
"...In self-defense!" cried Diana, no longer tearful. "That man nearly murdered Fox!"
"He nearly shot you, too," I added, bringing up the incident inside the chapel in which the agent's stray bullet just missed the minister.
"This is true..." he said thoughtfully. "Tell you what, I hate to do this, because it is dishonest, but if you will repent for your sins I will not report you as the killer. It is my duty to report that there has been a crime, but I won't mention anything about you."
"Promise?" I said.
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," he replied quietly.
"Deal," I agreed.
"All right then," said the minister, "let's get you inside and patch you up. I have a first-aid kit in the kitchen."
After my trip to the kitchen ER, it was time for my part of the deal. Repentance was a long process for me, but I guess I did feel better afterwards. The minister prayed for me and then called the cops when we left. He lived up to his promise not to mention me. Diana and I thanked him, then we drove back to the motel and cleaned ourselves up. Then we planned what to do next.