How could they possibly protect him? The parade would be a mile long. Divine Fury.
May 18, 2013
A VG Serial: Divine Fury
“THAT’S HIM,” SAID Enzo Lee, looking hard at an artist’s rendering of Walberg scheduled to go into the afternoon edition of the News. It was based on the earlier photograph but modified to take away the mustache and his hair. “This looks pretty close. With the baseball cap and the sunglasses it’s a little hard but, yeah, I’d say it’s him.”
He and Bobbie Connors were in the Bunker together with Harry Blount.
“So, he’s here,” said Connors, taking the drawing from Lee and staring hard at it, as if she could see through it and into the mind of the man she now knew for a certainty was in the city stalking Andrew Harper. “No more questions about that. Damn.”
Connors looked at Blount who had remained quiet, watching the other two and glancing at the photo.
“Harry,” she said quietly, placing the photo of Walberg on the table in front of Blount. “This changes things. It’s not theoretical anymore. This is real. We can’t take a chance. Particularly in the parade. It’s a mile through downtown San Francisco. How can I protect him?”
Blount stared at the photo, smoothed his mustache with a thumb and forefinger and pulled his earlobe without the ring. He shook his head slowly.
“He won’t budge,” said Blount. “We won’t budge. You know what this means to our community, Bobbie, and the campaign. We can’t pull back. We’re so close now. The intimidation. The threats. Whatever. We can’t let them knock us off stride. You know it’s not just about this parade or this election. It’s his approach to life. It’s our approach. Once you show fear, the wolves will take you down. We’ve been there. We won’t go back.”
Connors had known what the response would be before she had appealed to Blount. But she had to ask. She’d already planned for Andrew Harper’s passage down Market Street Saturday morning as the grand marshal of the annual Pride Parade. There would be hundreds of thousands lining the parade route. Harper would be the big attraction. It would be ear-splitting, full-throated chaos. It always was.
Connors had gotten the parade organizers to tweak the lineup for her. The vintage Cadillac convertible carrying Harper would be sandwiched between the gay and lesbian contingents from the local police – San Francisco Police Department in the front and the Sheriff’s Department behind. She’d convened a meeting of the SFPD’s Pride Alliance, the organization of gay and lesbian officers. At least 15 of the officers in the parade would carry their weapons discreetly and surround Harper’s car throughout the parade.
The banner behind the car that read simply: “I’m Andrew Harper” would be tall and stay close to his Caddy to block the view from the rear.
Campaign workers would mingle with the police and would hold their campaign signs high and keep them moving on the sides and in front of the convertible. The crowd could see Harper through the signs but anyone with a gun would have to pick their opening and be lucky to get a clean shot.
Connors would make Harry Blount sit in the front seat of the Caddy, although it was traditional to have the grand marshals’ spouses or partners next to them sitting atop the back of the convertible. Instead, on Harper’s right would be Nestor Cruz, a sergeant who was president of the Pride Alliance. Connors was confident that Nestor would know when to use his weapon and would use it effectively if it came to that. Better yet, Cruz was huge. He would block Harper on the right and, if necessary, he could push Harper to the floor of the car and sit on him for as long as Connors wanted.
Finally, Connors herself would sit on Harper’s left. Her weapon would be in a shoulder holster inside a light jacket. It was too late to transform her hair into a giant afro to more completely block Harper from the side. But she still could be effective as Harper’s human shield.
Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.