When you work with someone for many years you know their nuances and mannerisms.
So when Calico had me in his nine millimeter’s sight on the one hand; his left hand was signaling our mutually agreed upon signal for the word, “run.”
Therefore, l ran.
I ran as fast as I could directing my weight into the “Security Guard’s” mid section. Neither expecting the collision, nor Calico’s weight pinning his legs, he fell to the ground, out cold.
I scrambled to my feet, and was making my way to the stairwell exit, when Calico, who was zip-tying the unconscious “Security Guard’s” hands, called out.
Throwing me the “Security Guard’s” keys, he said,
“Use the freight elevator — the orange key. The stairs are a trap. The others are waiting to ambush you there.”
I doubled back on my steps. Catching the keys in mid-air, I now fled towards the freight elevator doors.
Breathless, adrenaline pumping in my veins, I arrived at the freight elevator and pushed the button to call it. Suddenly, I realized that Calico was not following behind.
I turned around just in time to see him enter the door to the stairs. Ignoring my exit strategy, at full speed, I raced to catch up with him.
Hearing the door open with a bang, Calico looked up the staircase.
“What are you doing here Suede. Get outta here. I have to finish this.”
“No,” I said, “Let us finish this together. I will not take no, for an answer.”
At which point, two bullets in succession ricocheted off the iron railing near where we each stood.
We ducked and stooped down on the concrete steps motionless. Calico whispered, “There are two of them two flights down.”
While a more desperate barrage of bullets continued to whiz past out heads, Calico’s phone suddenly rang. He answered.
“Yes. We are pinned down. Stairwell between 15th and 16th floors. Yes, she is with me. Okay, thanks ‘bye”
Calico said, “That was Mrs. Greene. Assault teams are gettin’ ready to breach the stairs below us. Keep your head down.”
We waited, hunkered down as one of the assailants, it seemed, emptied his entire clip, firing at will, on our position.
An excruciating five minutes later, all hell broke loose. The door to the stairs one floor below us, flew open from the force of a battering ram. The armed assault team, courtesy of Mrs. Greene, had arrived.
In tight formation, they barreled down the stairs to the assailants, who were in fact, not Security Guards but, the last remnants of the crew who had stolen the RFID chip. Their final member was their leader, the “Security Guard” Calico had left upstairs zip-tied.
Suddenly there was more commotion as NYPD S.W.A.T. breached the stairwell door on the 12th floor below the two assailants, hemming them in.
I said to Calico, “I think this is our cue to leave.”
Wasting no time, we slipped out the 15th floor stairwell door, ran to the freight elevator and made our way out the building via the Receving door.
A few minutes later, while Calico drove our getaway in his Mustang GT, I phoned Mrs. Greene to inform her that we were clear of the building. She seemed pleased with the outcome of recent events.
Turning onto 110 Street, Calico asked, “In the mood for a coffee? And oh, uh sorry about pointin’ my gun at yuh. I have been undercover with the suspected thieves for the past six months. I had to make it look good, yuh know. No hard feelin’s?”
“None at all, my friend” I replied. “I’ve been wrong about many things in my life. But never about our friendship.”
Coming next Sunday “The Hidden” – A Sunday Short Story