In the chaos of the explosion, the assassin would take the final shot. Divine Fury.
May 30, 2013
A VG Serial: Divine Fury
IT BEGAN WITH the deep-throated purr of a single Harley. Then, two more. Finally, the sustained roar of 52 motorcycles blasted down the urban canyon in San Francisco as their riders gunned their engines to announce to everyone within hearing distance that the Dykes on Bikes were on the move.
There were overweight mamas in leathers, petite ladies in scarves and jodhpurs, and a handful of women riding on the backs garbed only in streaming hair and bemused smiles. They drove slowly past in two columns and the thick crowd on both sides of the street applauded in appreciation as the 2004 Pride Parade began.
Lee waited until he saw Harper’s Cadillac and then moved at the parade’s pace a couple of groups ahead of the candidate. He could hear the change in decibel levels as people caught sight of Harper. It was as if a wave of applause and cheering accompanied by the frenetic bobbing of the Harper signs was being pushed down the parade route ahead of Harper’s Caddy.
Tina Valdez heard the crescendo of noise rolling down the parade route, too, and craned her neck to see what was causing it. She saw the big “I’m Andrew Harper” banner.
“Hey, it’s the guy running for governor,” she said. “You know. The gay dude.”
“Oh yeah,” said Johnny. He squinted and saw Harper sitting in the Caddy with the sign behind him. “Hey. Do you want to get something to drink? I’m thirsty.”
“Let’s wait and see this guy,” said Tina. “I like him. He’s got guts.”
As Harper drew closer, she joined in the “Har-per Har-per” chants. She cupped her hands with fingernails painted a bright blue to make a megaphone. Johnny smiled and held on to her thigh.
* * *
Even on the shady side of the street, Walberg was feeling hot and trapped. He had the coat on over his body armor. But the real problem was the damn mask. It had worked fine as a disguise. But as the morning warmed up and he had to burrow into the crowd to hold a place at the railing, he was burning up now. His heart was pounding as he waited. The parade was just inching along. First the cheerleaders stopped in front of him. At least most of the people they tossed in the air were girls. Then, there were a bunch of guys in skin-tight tie-dyed tights with long balloons tied together and sticking out like wings. They rollerbladed in some ridiculous formation. Get on with it, he thought. Get out of here before I blow your fucking arms and legs off! The sweat was pouring into his eyes now. He kept trying to blink it away.
Finally, he saw the yellow Cadillac just one group away. He had planned to wait until Harper was directly across from him, no more than 30 feet away. He was too damned hot. He couldn’t breathe. He reached into his left pocket and pulled out the innocent-looking clicker. He thought Harper was looking right at him with the sign behind proclaiming: “I am Andrew Harper.”
“That’s right,” thought Walberg as he pressed the button on the clicker. “You are Andrew fucking Harper. Enjoy the last minute of your life.”
* * *
Lee saw the bright flash from the other side of the street an instant before he felt more than heard the boom of the explosion that tore through the bank of newspaper boxes and sent out a shock wave that shattered windows halfway up the office building behind. He saw a plume of smoke from across Market and heard the sound of glass breaking and falling, accompanied by the screams.
The first ones were screams of shock, surprise and fear by people around him. Two seconds later, he could hear people hurt and maimed howling in agony and those around them shouting for help.
Everyone was staring at the bomb site as the smoke continued to rise and the sound of glass hitting the pavement seemed to go on forever. Lee was staring in that direction as well when he saw Walberg. His face was streaked with black paint but Lee still recognized him. Walberg was climbing over the barrier. When he reached the other side, he reached into his coat, pulled out a gun and started walking toward the yellow Cadillac.
Lee pushed through the people in front of him and jumped the barrier. He started after Walberg. He saw Connors standing up in the Caddy next to Harper with one hand on his chest, holding him where he was seated. Like everyone else, she was staring in the direction of the bomb site.
“Bobbie!” yelled Lee, trying to get her attention. “Bobbie!” There was too much commotion . Too much noise. He couldn’t get her to look his way. Desperate, he reached into his pocket, found his cell phone and threw it at the Cadillac. Then, he sprinted after Walberg.
He caught Walberg before he lifted his gun and knocked him forward a couple of steps. Walberg almost went down before he recovered and found his footing. Then, he was trying to fend off Lee, using his left arm to push him away. Lee tried to grab Walberg around his waist and throw him down, but he couldn’t get a good grip.
Lee grabbed Walberg’s gun arm and started to pull it down before he slipped and went down on his knees. Then, Walberg hit him in the face with his left elbow. Lee was stunned but still tried to hang on. He dug his fingers into the coat but his grip still slipped on the smooth leather. Then, another hard elbow caught him in the jaw. His head snapped back, his arms dropped and he was on the ground.
Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.