(*)--"Deliverance", The Mission U.K. (**)--"Facing the Wind", The Fixx (***)--"The Hanging Garden", The Cure (****)--"Save A Prayer", Duran Duran
(*) Roberto Perez was not a happy man. Technically, he should have been happy today, the last day of his 3-year jail term, but he was far from it. He was a man who held grudges, and God help whoever that grudge was aimed toward.
He had spent these past three years preparing for his return to the street... preparing for his payback. His disciples had served him well while he was in confinement; Chico had kept tabs on the snitch, Raymond had taken charge of the hookers, and Louis had handled the drug situation. Only one of his men had failed him: Carlos. Now Roberto had to tend to the matter himself. This is what made him angry.
Carlos was instructed to take care of Roberto's prized automobile, the Ferrari Testarossa. What Roberto had meant by "take care" was to keep all rivals and, especially, the police department away from the vehicle; both had already stolen enough of his possessions. Besides, he was damned if he would be forced to rely on a taxi cab upon his release from prison.
Some weeks following his arrest (for cocaine possession), Roberto had heard that both Carlos and the car had disappeared. He had assigned each of his men to certain areas of Miami, waiting for the first sign of Carlos, or the Ferrari. Suddenly it was rumored that a car identical to Roberto's, belonging to a player named Burnett, was seen cruising around Miami... but still no sign of Carlos.
He had waited a long time to meet Burnett. Finally, he would get his chance. Whether Burnett was talkative or not, he would find out if the white Testarossa was, indeed, his own, and he would find Carlos. And he would kill him.
Now, as the guard unlocked his cell and led him slowly toward the main gates, Roberto couldn't help but smirk. He never smiled, so a smirk suggested that he was pleased. As angry as he was, overall, there was no denying that his time had come. Miami would never be the same; he would see to that. He listened to the farewell shouts of his fellow prisonmates--men he had gotten to know so well during these three long years. He suddenly stopped, spun around, and then thrust his hands in the air.
"Goodbye, my friends!" he shouted back to the prisoners. "Your own day of freedom is approaching! I will see to it that each of you is released! The new world begins here!"
This met with thunderous shouts from the prisoners; had each not been locked in their cell, a riot would have surely broken out. A second guard quickly arrived to help the other, who had been trying to pull Roberto's arms down and drag him toward the door.
Once they had reached the main gates, the guards shoved Roberto outside of the facility, and threw his bag of personal items after him. The first guard yelled, "Looks like we'll be seeing you real soon, Perez! Lookin' forward to it!"
Roberto bent and picked up the bag, reached in, and extracted a pair of black sunglasses. Without looking back, he put them on and murmured, "Oh, so am I."
Suddenly, a white Mercedes limo appeared and pulled to a stop directly in front of him. The driver--Chico--got out and rushed excitedly to greet Roberto. After hugging him, Chico asked, "How have you been?"
"Better," Roberto replied. "I've been better." Then his expression became gravely serious. "What about Burnett?" he asked.
Chico smiled. "Louis followed him this morning. He's at the airport now."
"And the car?"
"He's driving it." Chico seemed very pleased to be giving Roberto this information.
Roberto nodded, satisfied. "Then call Louis. Tell him to stay on Burnett. We have other things to do first." He stepped toward the car, and Chico promptly opened the rear door for him. Once he was inside, Chico closed the door and hurried back to the driver's side.
As they pulled away from the prison, the rear window came down and Roberto waved to the guards, who were still standing at the main gates. They just shook their heads.
The sun glared blindingly off the surface of the white Ferrari Testarossa, parked in front of the Miami International Airport. It looked almost out of place here, standing out among the rows of domestic, less-expensive cars. People walking to-and-from the airport all gave the vehicle a quick, admiring glance as they passed by it.
Its driver could now be seen exiting the airport, and making his way toward it; newly-resigned Vice cop, Sonny Crockett--known on the streets as Sonny Burnett. He walked slowly, with his hands in his pockets; he was obviously in no hurry. Dressed in well-worn jeans, a t-shirt and a windbreaker jacket, he looked ready to begin a much-needed, long-overdue, peaceful life of retirement.
When he reached the car, he paused, then looked back toward the airport. His gaze followed a certain plane as it sped down the runway, then lifted gracefully off the ground and into the sky. He smiled.
"Good luck, Rico," he said, and then unlocked the car door.
Once inside, he slid the key into the ignition, then stopped. He sat motionless, as his eyes welled with tears. After a moment, he blinked them away and put on the pair of sunglasses that were on the dash. He started the car and headed out of the parking lot.
(**) Crockett didn't notice the black BMW parked nearby as he drove out to the street, so he was unaware that the man seated behind the wheel had been watching him from the moment he had exited the airport.
As soon as the Ferrari had passed him, Louis started the BMW and slowly pulled out after it. Maintaining a loose tail, so as not to appear suspicious, he lifted the receiver of his car phone and dialed. He held the receiver to his ear and waited.
In the back seat of the Mercedes, the phone rang. Roberto, staring intently out the window, picked it up after the second ring. "Yes," he answered simply.
"It's Louis, Mr. Perez. Glad to have you back."
Roberto was in no mood for small talk. "What do you have to tell me, Louis?" he asked, impatient.
Quickly, Louis responded, "Burnett just left the airport. What should I do?"
Roberto replied, "Stay with him. Don't let him know he's being followed. Find out where he's going, and keep him there." With that, he hung up the phone and continued to stare out the window, lost in thought.
Louis heard the abrupt click and looked at the receiver, surprised. Then he shrugged, and noticed that he'd fallen a considerable distance behind the Ferrari; two cars had already moved in front of him. He stepped on the gas and quickly changed lanes, gradually advancing.
Crockett wasn't sure where he wanted to go first. He could go back to OCB, say one more goodbye to everybody and drop off the car, before hopping a bus and heading further down the coast. He smiled, remembering what he'd said to Tubbs earlier, about giving him a ride to the airport in his "stolen car." He wondered what would happen if he really did disappear with it; just leave Miami without telling anyone...? Would Castillo issue a warrant for his arrest? He suddenly realized that this was a question he didn't need the answer to. Of course he would return the car. To even ask himself these questions proved that he'd been in the game for far too long. He didn't need any reminders of that life now.
He pulled into the lot at OCB a short time later, just as Switek was about to get into his van. Crockett parked the Ferrari next to him and got out, smiling. Switek didn't say a word. As Crockett walked over and they faced each other momentarily, Switek grabbed him and hugged him tightly. He began to cry. Crockett patted him on the back, comforting him.
"Come on, Stan," he said. "It's not that bad. It's all right."
Switek held Crockett tighter and squeezed his eyes shut, making the tears roll down his face. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Finally, he was able to croak, "I can't believe it's over."
Crockett sighed. "All good things come to an end, Stan. That's how life works."
Switek slowly let go of him, then wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He looked down at the ground.
Crockett took off his sunglasses, and there was much sorrow in his eyes. He, too, looked ready to cry. But he didn't. "Look at me, Stan," he said.
Reluctantly, Switek looked up. Crockett gave him the warmest smile he could muster.
Switek did the same. "I'm gonna miss you, Sonny. You've been a... true friend."
Crockett replied, "I'm gonna miss you, too." He extended his hand. After looking down at it briefly, Switek reached out and grasped it with both hands, shaking it.
From across the street, Louis watched this entire scene in amazement. Was Burnett a cop... or a narc? Either way, the boss would love to hear about this. He picked up his car phone and dialed.
Inside OCB, Martin Castillo sat in his office, re-reading Crockett and Tubbs' final report. It was such a shame; two of his finest officers, practically forced to retire, so as to make room for a new breed of "law enforcement"--a dishonest, underhanded group of men. A group that was steadily growing in number.
It made Castillo sick. Within the past several months, he, himself, didn't feel like wearing a badge any longer. He'd seen too much--they all had. He supposed it was time for a new generation to take their place. But what then? Were there really any "good cops" left? Would this new generation be able to resist the bribes, the easy money, the overall temptation of succumbing to the criminals? Would they remember, and--most importantly--stay true to, their job? He prayed that they would.
The voice startled him, making him look up quickly from the pages. Upon seeing Crockett standing in the doorway of his office, he smiled broadly and stood up.
Crockett entered the office and they shook hands. They stood smiling at each other momentarily, in silence. Then, still smiling, Castillo spoke.
"You still don't have to do this."
Crockett chuckled, scratching his brow. "Yeah, I suppose you're right. I don't." He sighed. "But, I think we both know it's time for me to move on."
Castillo nodded, his smile fading.
Crockett continued, "I just stopped by to say my last goodbye's, and to drop off the car." He tossed the keys to the Ferrari onto Castillo's desk.
Outside, Louis was still talking on the car phone. He watched Switek's van pull out of the lot and disappear around the nearest corner. He grinned evilly as he spoke.
"...You got it, boss. I'm looking at it right now, parked outside the station. He got out, hugged some guy and then walked in. My guess is, he's probably Vice... What do you want me to do?" He listened to the instructions on the other end of the line, then answered, "I'll be right here, waiting for you."
He hung up the phone and stared intently at the Ferrari, cracking his knuckles with anticipation.
Roberto pushed the button on his cellular phone, then slipped the phone into the front pocket of his sportcoat. He had changed clothes; instead of the khakis and polo shirt he had been wearing at the prison, he now wore a very expensive-looking, black silk suit. His shoulder-length hair, previously tousled, was now slicked back and held in a ponytail.
He was facing a large bay window, overlooking a vast expanse of shrubbery and extensive landscaping. An enormous in-ground swimming pool took up much of the view.
Turning away from the window, he looked across the room, where Chico had a thin, sickly-looking man pinned to the floor, beneath his knee. The man's hands were tied tightly behind his back, and he was squirming uncomfortably. He pleaded with Roberto.
"Please, Roberto, you must believe me! I didn't snitch! I would never do that to you! It wasn't me!"
Roberto strolled calmly across the room, crouched down next to the man and raised his hand, silencing him. He then spoke, in a near whisper.
"Don't talk. You've said quite enough. Nothing you could say now would interest me. It's time for you to die."
He looked up at Chico, who, in turn, pulled the man roughly to his feet. He led him outside--toward the pool--with Roberto slowly following.
When they had reached the deep end, Chico balanced the man on the edge of the pool. Roberto stopped directly beside him, and in his ear, he hissed, "You junkies are all the same! You keep doing that crap, until you get busted, and then you snitch on the only one who can give you what you need! Is that stupid? Yes, I would say that is very stupid! Who, then, can provide you with true happiness... The cops?" He laughed sarcastically. The man was now weeping.
Suddenly solemn, Roberto concluded, "Now you see what happens when you betray Roberto Perez." Again he looked at Chico, who replied with a nod as he shoved the man into the pool.
With his hands still tied behind his back, there was no way he could remain afloat for more than a few seconds. As his legs tired from a vain attempt to tread water, the man quickly began to sink. The two men watched until his submerged body floated lazily back to the surface, face-down.
Roberto spat at the man's bobbing corpse, then turned to Chico. "That's one matter of business taken care of," he said. "Now, on to the next. Let's go." He started quickly back toward the house, with Chico following closely behind.
Roberto was smirking again. His lips hardly moved, however, as he spoke into the receiver of his car phone.
"So you've found him? Splendid," he said. "Tell him to make himself comfortable. I can't wait to see him."
Placing the phone back into its cradle beside him, he crossed his legs and laced his fingers around his knee. He began to rock excitedly in the Mercedes' back seat.
Louis saw the Mercedes as it pulled into the driveway, and he stepped out of the BMW as Chico parked the white vehicle directly behind it. They were located alongside an abandoned building, a short distance across the street from OCB. They could see it clearly from this point, along with anyone who entered or exited it. More importanly, though, they could easily duck from view, should any of those people look in their direction.
Chico got out and headed swiftly to the other side of the vehicle, so as to open the door for Roberto. Louis was already there, however, and he snickered as he did it, instead. Chico mumbled something under his breath.
Stepping out of the car, Roberto looked at Louis, who smiled broadly back at him... too broadly; he looked silly. Roberto didn't snicker. He simply brushed past Louis and walked to the corner of the building, peering out across the street.
Upon seeing the Testarossa, still parked where it had been earlier, he whispered, "That's it."
Chico and Louis looked at each other. Then, looking back at Roberto, Louis asked, "Are you sure, boss?"
Roberto spun around wildly. His ponytail did the same, smacking into his shoulder when he stopped. His eyes were wide, glaring. "Do you doubt me, Louis?" he asked. "Don't you think I would recognize something that belongs to me?" He began to walk slowly toward Louis, his hands clenched into fists at his sides.
Louis raised his hands defensively and backed away. He seemed petrified. Looking at the ground, he stammered, "N-n-no, I'd-I'd never doubt you, b-boss. I'm-I'm sorry."
Roberto stopped, but continued to glare at him for a moment. Then, smirking, he turned around and looked across the street once more. He nodded, satisfied. "It's mine, all right," he said. "And it's about time I got it back."
Crockett sat, cross-legged, on the couch in Castillo's office. Castillo sat behind his desk, watching him slowly twirl his sunglasses between his thumb and forefinger.
"You know, Marty, I didn't plan on staying," Crockett said, "but I guess I didn't expect it to be this hard to leave."
Castillo nodded solemnly. He said nothing, only looked down at his desk.
Crockett continued, "I'm so damn tired... You know? And yet, this has been my life for so long, it's like... I don't know anything else." He paused, and then, "There isn't anything else."
Castillo looked up. "You have your son," he said.
Crockett sighed, "Yeah, of course, there's Billy... The thing is, he'll always be my son. I just don't think I'm what he needs right now."
Castillo replied, "He may be what you need."
Crockett stopped twirling the sunglasses and looked at him. Neither said anything.
Roberto was still peering around the corner of the abandoned building, his longing gaze fastened to the white Ferrari across the street, when the car phone in the Mercedes began to ring. As if awakened from a trance, he blinked, startled, and moved toward the car.
Upon reaching it, he opened the driver's side door and picked up the receiver on the dash. "Speak," he ordered into the mouthpiece. He listened for a moment, frowning. Then, before hanging up, he stated simply, "I'm on my way." He slammed the driver's door closed, and then opened the back. Stepping into the back seat, he addressed Chico and Louis, "Let's go. It seems our good friend, Carlos, is getting impatient to meet with us. Let's not keep him waiting any longer."
Chico and Louis looked at each other, eyebrows raised, then rushed behind the wheels of their respective vehicles.
Carlos' face was smeared with blood as he sat, his arms bound tightly behind the back of the chair. He had been placed directly in the center of a room with no furnishings.
Surrounding him were Chico, Louis, a heavy-set, balding man, and Roberto. Chico had been torturing him, assaulting him with repeated blows to the face. As he stepped forward and hit him again, Roberto spoke.
"So why don't you tell us where you've been hiding, Carlos? I had my reasons for dropping out of touch... What are yours?"
Carlos said nothing. He sat for a moment, motionless, then slowly leaned over and spit on the floor. It was mostly blood. Chico moved forward, prepared to hit him again, but Roberto held him back.
"Enough," he said. "It's clear that he'd rather not talk about it." He crouched before Carlos. Looking him in the eyes, he said softly, "All I asked was that you take care of my car, while I was in prison. Obviously, you preferred not to. That was your decision. Now, I don't know whether to commend you for your rebelliousness, or pity you for your foolishness."
Carlos was the first to look away. Roberto continued to look at him, until he suddenly stood up and snapped his fingers. "Chico," he announced, "untie him. Let him go."
Chico stood for a moment, confused. He looked quizzically at Roberto. "Let him go, boss?" he asked.
Roberto looked at him. "Let him go," he repeated. "Carlos has been with us for many years. He's like family. If this is his decision, I can respect that."
Chico still looked confused, but shrugged his shoulders and moved to cut the ropes. Carlos looked up at Roberto, a surprised yet grateful expression on his face. As the ropes hit the floor, Carlos remained seated, still looking at Roberto.
Roberto pointed to the door. "Go," he ordered him, "before I change my mind."
Carlos got up, nodded to Roberto, then walked sluggishly to the door.
As the men watched him go, Roberto looked away. Then, he called out, "Carlos!"
Carlos stopped and turned around. Roberto had pulled a compact, yet lethal-looking knife from the inside pocket of his jacket. He was holding it by the tip of the blade. "Too late," he said, and threw the knife.
As the blade embedded itself into his chest, Carlos stared incredulously at Roberto. He staggered back, then dropped to his knees. He watched as Roberto put his hands into his pockets and spit on the floor in front of him. That was the last thing he saw before slumping to the floor, dead.
Castillo and Crockett were strolling out of Castillo's office as Crockett spoke, "You're probably right, Lieutenant... We can spend some time together, do some catching up. Hell, he can even live with me for awhile, if he wants. That is, if I ever get my own place..."
They were interrupted by one of the detectives, who was standing in front of a small black-and-white television in the corner. "Lieutenant!" he called. "You should come see this!"
Castillo and Crockett walked over and looked at the screen. "What's goin' on?" Crockett asked.
"Prison riot," the detective answered.
On the screen, a young male reporter was standing in front of a prison--the same from which Roberto had been released, earlier that day. He was saying, "--State Penitentiary, where a riot supposedly broke out in the cafeteria, completely unprovoked. Local police had to be called in for reinforcement, in order to get the situation under control. Even with the extra help, however, a reported number of eight prison guards had to be rushed to the hospital for fatal injuries, along with several inmates. We'll keep you informed as more news develops..."
Crockett and the other detective looked at each other, wide-eyed. Castillo just scowled at the TV screen. None of them said a word.
As Roberto and his men exited the room where Carlos' body still lay in the doorway, the heavy-set man stated, "I'll have my servants clean that up." He was the last one out of the room, so he closed the door behind him.
The room they were in now appeared to be the living room. A large-screen TV was set into the wall, and the image on there now was that of the reporter, standing in front of the prison. Roberto's full attention was given to the reporter, as he told his story.
When it was finished, Roberto turned to face his men. He was grinning from ear to ear. Then he laughed out loud. He threw back his head, and laughed... and laughed... and laughed.
(***) The white Mercedes limo pulled slowly toward the front gates of the prison. Inside, Chico was behind the wheel, and Louis sat nervously in the passenger seat. The window behind them was up, dividing them from Roberto.
Louis wiped his brow with his finger, then looked at Chico. "Are we really gonna go through with this?" he asked. "Everything the boss said?"
Chico was much more relaxed; he kept looking straight ahead, determinedly. "We're here, aren't we?" he responded.
Louis didn't appear to be satisfied with that answer, but he said no more. Shifting uncomfortably in his seat, he looked out at the approaching gates, shaking his head.
Chico glanced at him, chuckling.
Upon reaching the gates, the Mercedes rolled to a stop alongside the guard shack. The windows were up, and their dark tint made it impossible to see inside. The guard walked cautiously over to the car, his hand on his gun, and knocked on the driver's side window. There was no response for a moment, then the window came down about two inches. Before the guard could react, the barrel of an automatic pistol was pointed through the opening, and fired.
The slug hit the guard square in the chest, throwing him back against the wall of the shack. Even before he hit the ground, a second guard, previously unseen inside the shack, emerged. His pistol was aimed at the driver's side window. Because of this, he was too late to defend himself against Louis, who suddenly appeared over the passenger side roof. The two shots from Louis' .45-caliber pistol found their target, and the guard fell back with a cry of surprise and pain.
Louis reacted immediately, running around to the driver's side and into the guard shack. He scanned its interior until he found the button to open the main gates. He rushed over to it, hit it, and then ran back out to the car.
Once inside, he frantically grabbed the door handle and pulled the door closed. As Chico stepped on the gas pedal, Louis caught his breath and remarked sourly, "I still can't believe this. People usually want to break out of prison, not break in."
Chico shot him an irritated look. "Do you want to take it up with the boss?" he asked.
Again, Louis just shook his head and kept quiet.
William Anderson had almost reached his breaking point in his job. His position as warden had carried him through 15 long years, and he'd just about had enough. He was 51 years old. He was getting too damn old for this. It was time to retire.
After the ruckus that Roberto Perez had caused that morning, and then the riot in the cafeteria, he decided the safest thing to do now was go home. God knew what the night would bring.
He got out of his chair, which he immediately pushed back under his desk, and turned off his desk lamp. Taking his jacket from the back of the chair, he was heading toward the door when he came face-to-face with Roberto.
Roberto was smirking as he entered the warden's office. Seeing the warden now, under these circumstances, made Roberto feel unstoppable. He grabbed the warden roughly by the front of his shirt, then pushed him back against his desk. The warden's hands began to tremble, and he dropped his jacket.
Roberto snickered as he looked down at it, then at the warden's hands, which now gripped the side of the desk. It was as if the warden was trying to keep them from shaking.
"You scared, warden?" Roberto asked, obviously amused. "I knew you'd be surprised to see me, but this is a bit unnecessary."
The warden stammered, "W-w-what the hell do you want?"
Roberto suddenly turned serious. "I want what's mine."
The warden was growing frantic. "I don't owe you anything! Get out of here!" he pleaded.
Roberto's right hand had been in his pocket. He took it out now, and the warden looked aghast as he became the target for the automatic pistol Roberto held.
Expressionless, Roberto replied, "The whole world owes me something," and fired the gun.
As the bullet entered his stomach, the warden clutched at the wound, as if trying to hold back the bleeding. His face formed into an expression of agony as he dropped to his knees, slumping back against the desk.
Roberto lowered the gun and turned to leave. He noticed a large key ring hanging from a hook next to the door, which held dozens of keys. He took it. Then, glancing back over his shoulder, he told the warden, "You know, they say a shot to the gut takes the longest to kill you." Snickering, he left the warden's office.
Roberto headed down the main hallway, deeper into the prison, toward the inmates' cell blocks. He swung the key ring anxiously, obviously eager to proceed with this next step in his agenda.
Chico and Louis stood waiting for him at the end of the hallway. Behind them was a closed steel door--undoubtedly locked. As he approached them, Roberto casually glanced into certain rooms he passed by. In almost every one, a guard had been shot, and lay sprawled at various angles on the floor. Roberto's expression never changed. He saw Chico and Louis still holding their guns, and he was simply pleased to see that they had done their job efficiently.
When he reached them, they said nothing, only stepped away from the door. He began trying the keys in the lock--the third one fit. He unlocked the door and threw it open.
A wave of shouts and commotion hit him as he entered, and he looked around at the walls of jail cells surrounding him. Every prisoner was on his feet, giving Roberto a loud welcome. He lifted his arms and closed his eyes. Breathing deep, he took it all in for a moment. Then he opened his eyes and addressed them.
"My brothers!" he bellowed. "Your time for freedom has arrived!"
He smirked as he listened to the inmates shout and whistle even louder.
Back at OCB, Crockett was leaning against his old desk, arms crossed. He looked on as Castillo requested something from Trudy.
"Trudy," Castillo started, walking toward her desk, "I need a report of everyone released from the prison, within the past few days. As soon as possible, thank you."
She nodded obediently, and Crockett approached Castillo. "What is it, Lieutenant?" he asked confidentially.
Castillo looked off in the distance. "There has to be a reason behind the prison riot," he replied. "If I'm not mistaken, a certain man's release date was coming up. That could have everything to do with it." He looked at Crockett. "If he is out, he'll let us know."
Crockett looked questioningly at Castillo. He asked, "Well, who is he?"
Castillo put his hands in his pockets and explained, "His name's Roberto Perez. He's the original owner of the car you've been driving for the past three years."
Crockett's eyes widened in surprise.
Castillo continued, "We confiscated the vehicle right after he was arrested for possession. A friend of Izzy's tipped us off to a deal that Perez himself was in charge of. We caught him with 50 keys."
Crockett remarked sarcastically, "Well, that's wonderful. You don't suppose he'll come looking for his car, do you?"
Castillo shot a sideways glance at him. Crockett just grimaced and looked away.
Roberto strolled down the line of cell blocks, looking in and smirking at the men as he passed by them. The prisoners were still yelling riotously, though now their shouts were of anger and impatience--they wanted Roberto to let them out, as he'd promised.
Chico and Louis didn't quite understand what their boss' intentions were, at this point. They remained standing nervously, guns held tightly in hand, near the door.
Roberto called out, "My friends! Be patient! What I have in store for you, you'll thank me for, I assure you!"
This brought only louder cries of anger and frustration. Roberto kept smirking, nevertheless.
The warden was almost dead; he was sure of it. He slowly looked down at the bleeding wound in his stomach. If the pain didn't kill him soon, he thought, then the loss of blood surely would. He couldn't let that happen. Not yet.
With every ounce of strength he could muster, he shifted around on the floor until he faced the desk. Pushing himself high enough where he could reach the telephone, he struggled to punch in the numbers. He then waited, nearly out of breath. Finally, he spoke, in a hoarse whisper, "This is Warden Anderson..." he croaked, "...Roberto Perez... has... taken over the prison... Hurry..."
He could say no more. He breathed his last breath into the receiver, then dropped it. As it clattered onto the desk, he, too, dropped back down to the floor.
Trudy rushed into Castillo's office, where he and Crockett were waiting. She held a sheet of paper, and looking at it, she said, "I've got your list, Lieutenant. In the past week, there were five men released for minor sentences, but then today--" pointing to the bottom of the page, "--a 'Roberto Perez' got to go home."
As Castillo and Crockett gave each other troubled looks, Switek trotted into the office.
"Lieutenant," he said excitedly, "we just got an emergency call from a 'Warden Anderson'. It went something like, 'Roberto Perez has taken over the prison'..."
Immediately, Crockett was off the couch and brushing past him. Castillo scooped up the phone, while barking out orders. "Anyone available, to the prison, now!"
Before Switek or Trudy could leave the office, Crockett ran back in. He grabbed the keys to the Ferrari off Castillo's desk, and smiled at him. Then he was gone.
The prison was already surrounded with police cars when Crockett arrived, screeching to a halt as close to the main gates as possible. He then rushed to join a small group of policemen and reporters which had congregated by a news van. They were watching a small video monitor, mounted inside the van.
Crockett addressed one of the policemen, "Vice. What's going on?"
The uniformed cop informed him, "Perez has a female reporter and her cameraman in there. They must have been one of the first crews to get here. They were here before we were... He's been asking for a 'Burnett'."
Crockett looked at him, startled, then pensively watched the monitor.
The female reporter sat in the chair, trembling, while her cameraman and Roberto faced her. The cameraman was filming her while Roberto smirked. They were in the center of the enormous room, visible to the still-incarcerated prison population. Now, the prisoners weren't shouting just for their freedom; their hoots and whistles were on account of a woman being present.
Chuckling, Roberto stepped in front of the camera, blocking the reporter. Looking directly into the lens, he spoke.
"I'm pleased to announce that everything is going according to my plan. Thanks to this--" turning to the reporter, "--lovely young reporter here." He caressed her cheek, and she cringed at his touch. The prisoners hollered obnoxiously around them.
Outside, the video monitor presented everything that was happening inside. Crockett, the other policemen, and numerous reporters watched with bated breath to see what would happen.
They looked on as Roberto suddenly slapped the reporter across the face. They could hear the inmates' uproarious shouts of approval. As the reporter slumped forward in the chair, in tears, Roberto faced the camera.
"I'm looking for Sonny Burnett," he announced. "A little birdie told me he's a cop... so I know he'll find his way here."
He leaned down and put his arm around the reporter's shoulders. "He'd better hurry, though... I get bored real easy. You never know what kind of fun me and the little lady here can have, in a place like this." The reporter looked up, her face in a tear-streaked and horrified expression. Then the monitor went black.
Crockett wasted no time. He ran back to the Ferrari and quickly got inside, then picked up the phone. He punched in the numbers and waited.
Still in his office, Castillo answered. "Yes," he said anxiously.
"Perez is here," Crockett told him. "He took a woman reporter hostage, and he wants me. I'm going in."
Castillo replied, "It's too dangerous. You'd be on your own."
Crockett insisted, "They'll tear her apart in there, Lieutenant. I've gotta play along."
Castillo scowled; he knew Crockett was right. After a moment, he warned him, "Be careful, Sonny. Get out of there as quick as you can."
"You've got it," Crockett answered, and hung up. He hurried back to the news van, and found the policeman he'd spoken to earlier.
"I'm going in," he told him. "Cover me."
The cop looked at him, surprised. "You're Burnett?" he asked.
Crockett was already walking toward the prison, and he called back over his shoulder, "The name's Crockett."
(****) Once the cameraman had stopped filming, Roberto nodded to Chico, who responded by pushing the cameraman to the floor. The man nearly dropped his camera in the process, and fumbled for a better grip on it.
"You just stay right there," Roberto ordered him, and then waved for Chico to follow him. He called up to Louis, who was posted by a window, watching the activity at the front gate.
"Keep an eye out for Burnett!" he shouted. "I can't wait to give him a warm welcome!"
Louis nodded, and looked back out the window.
Roberto led Chico out to the hallway, out of the others' earshot and away from the shouting prisoners. Then he turned to him and asked, "You know what to do?"
Chico nodded, reluctantly, and his expression showed some uncertainty. "I just don't understand why--" he started, until Roberto raised his hand, interrupting him.
"You don't have to," he stated. "All you have to do is follow the orders I give you."
Suddenly, from the other room, Louis announced, "Burnett's on his way to the door!"
Roberto smirked. "Wonderful," he purred, and called back to Louis, "Get in position!" He pointed to the reporter and the cameraman. "And bring them with you!"
When he'd reached the front doors to the prison, Crockett paused, unsure of what to do next. He looked back at the collection of policemen blocking the gates. Their guns were drawn in cover, ready for anything.
Crockett took a deep breath, and then banged on the door. Almost immediately, it was unlocked and opened just far enough for him to get through. He took one last glance behind him, and then entered the prison.
Louis had been the one who opened the door, and now he slammed it shut and locked it behind Crockett. In front of Crockett stood Roberto, the cameraman and the reporter, who still appeared terrified. She wrung her hands nervously and looked hopefully at Crockett.
Before he even knew what hit him, Crockett was knocked unconscious by Chico, who snuck up from behind and hit him with the butt of his gun.
Roberto glared vengefully down at Crockett's crumpled form, while the reporter began to cry hysterically.
Switek pulled the green cargo van up to the front of the prison, joining the already overcrowded assortment of police cars and news vehicles. Castillo was a short distance behind, driving a black sedan.
After both vehicles had been parked, Switek and Trudy exited the van, and Castillo and Gina got out of the sedan. All but Castillo ran over to the news van, where everyone was restlessly awaiting further news from the inside. Castillo remained by the car and took everything in.
Crockett was awakened by the distant sound of shouting--the shouting of many men. As he struggled to open his eyes, the shouting became louder. Now fully conscious, he found it almost deafening.
He was in the same position the reporter had been earlier; seated where every prisoner would have a perfect view of the proceedings. Again, Roberto stood before him, along with the cameraman and the reporter. Chico was beside Roberto, giving Crockett a menacing look.
The cameraman had the camera steadied on his shoulder. Roberto instructed him, "Start filming," and he obeyed.
Outside, the close-up image of Crockett seated in the chair flashed onto the monitor. Gina and Trudy gasped, while everyone else stared silently at the screen.
Everyone in the prison remained still--only their eyes moved. The hostages looked at each other, while their captors looked from themselves back to Crockett. Even the inmates were silent.
Roberto's hands were once again in his pockets. Suddenly, his right hand emerged, holding the pistol with which he shot the warden. Chico placed his hand in front of the camera lens, and Roberto pointed the gun at Crockett. The reporter covered her eyes and screamed as Roberto fired...