Travis MacKenzie – Conquest
Travis poked his head around the corner of the rusted shed to see if Officer Sperling and Officer Mendez, a couple of River City’s finest, had lost his trail. He loved the chase and felt it was only fair to give the two beat cops a sporting chance. There was no sign of them, so he decided to wait. He leaned against a splintered wooden fence and looked up at the sky. It was hot and the fires burning up all the pines and palmettos south of town had made the smog worse. A grimy yellow haze, that made Travis think of the whites of his father’s eyes, had replaced the blue.
He snuck another peek around the shed just as Sperling made the alley. “There he is!” the big, pasty cop shouted and the chase was back on. Travis maintained a brisk jog and wasn’t worried that his big, black boots festooned with shiny, fake buckles would slow him down enough to matter. He knew the backyards and dirt alleys that ran up between these ugly, rundown houses like the back of his hand.
‘These chumps didn’t have a chance,” he thought as hoisted up over a fence and ducked a clothesline. He could already hear Sperling wheezing like a clogged carburetor. ‘He’d tap out in another quarter mile or so.’
Travis knew Officer Sperling well. He’d busted him a half-dozen or so times and had already given up on dragging the boy home to let his dad handle the discipline. It would be straight downtown.
However, he’d only had one run in so far with this Mendez clown. He’d been cocky and condescending. It was easy to see that he was in way better shape than his ‘all-you-can-eat aficionado’ partner, so Travis was confused about why he was barely keeping pace with the lard ball. As the squad car squealed around the corner in front of him, the confusion was clarified.
‘Nice move,’ Travis thought and doubled-back. He ran right at the hyperventilating cop and sidestepped him as he passed. “Save some for the crawl home, pig!” he shouted over his shoulder as he hopped another fence and the squad car kept pace with him from the alley.
Travis dove through a hedge and rolled into the street at the end of the block. A homeless lady with a listing shopping cart blocked the entrance to the alley and Mendez had to lock up the brakes to avoid plowing into her. “Thanks, grandma!” Travis shouted and bolted across the street.
As Travis cleared the brick wall that ran along the face of a housing project the cop bumped over the curb and threw open the door. “Stop running, son! We’re gonna catch you! We know where you live!”
“I’m not your son, fuzz. And I don’t live there anymore,” he lied. Travis paced back and forth behind the wall. He didn’t need to catch his breath and had barely broken a sweat, but now he was afraid the cops would just give up and go wake his dad. He was having fun and ‘fun’ was so hard to come by anymore. Playing ‘cops and robbers’ was so much more exciting when there were real cops.
Officer Mendez threw up his hands and walked back to the cruiser. Travis knew the game was over, but wasn’t ready to leave it alone. “Come on, Mendez. That the best you got?”
“Next time, kid.”
Travis was about to give the taunting one more try when he heard a low, throaty growl from behind him. He turned slowly and saw a snarling pit bull dragging a long piece of chain skulking moving in for the kill. “Oh shit!” Travis yelled and ran flat out along the brick wall. He heard both cops laughing from the street and the rattling of the chain on his ass. He chanced a glance back and saw the dog was maybe five from his six.
He flashed a smile at the shrinking cops and flicked the dog off as he poured on the juice, leaving them all behind. He’d made it half way to Gwen’s before he slowed down; just to make sure he worked off all the extra adrenaline. If he got there and he was still amped up, she’d get moody and then no one would have any fun.