Summer Vacation Ch. 33byD.C. Roi©
"You want to tell me what the hell is going on?" Bud asked while Tommy sped through the dark streets of town, headed toward the park.
Tommy explained as quickly as he could; he told Bud about his contacts with Tina's brutal ex-husband, his confrontation with the man and his friends, and how he'd handled it. He also told Bud he believed Ron had taken Tina captive and was holding her in the park to lure Tommy there.
"You mean there are at least three bad guys? Jesus Christ, kid! Why didn't you tell me about this, sooner?" Bud exclaimed. "Shit, if I'd known that, I would of done something about it. I shoulda got us some backup!" The cop's voice sounded a little shrill, indicating his level of agitation.
"I didn't think it was necessary," Tommy said as the truck screamed around a corner. "I thought I'd put the fear of God into them the last time."
"Yeah, well, it don't look like you did, does it?" Bud snorted. "At least you had the sense to bring me along tonight. Damn! I shoulda called the local cops and got backup. What are we gonna do if these assholes are armed?"
"They told me not to call the cops," Tommy said. "So I didn't. I don't want Tina hurt. You've got a gun, don't you?"
"Yeah, I got a gun, but I hate to tell you this, kid," Bud said, "but they might have hurt her already."
"They're going to be damn sorry if they have hurt her," Tommy snapped. He skidded to a stop near the main entrance to the park. "You get out here. You know where I'm going. I'll try to keep them from doing anything until you get there."
"Yeah, OK," Bud said. He opened the truck's door and slipped out. "Watch your ass, kid. I'll be right behind you." He disappeared into the darkness.
Tommy thought about parking the truck and walking in, then he decided not to. He drove up over the curb, onto the sidewalk, and on into the park, making his way down the lane toward the spot he'd been told to come to. As he passed the tennis courts, his headlights swept an open area, lighting up a group of people, one of them female. He flipped on the lights over the cab and the scene was illuminated as brilliantly as if it was daylight. He stopped the truck and got out.
"That you, kid?" Ron Nyce yelled.
"Yeah, it's me," Tommy replied. "What do you want?"
The man laughed. "What do I want?" he cackled. " You little fucker! You get your ass over here and I'll show you what I want. Come on, get moving!"
Tommy started toward the group. Someone, a man, apparently, who was tied up, was lying on the ground. One of the thugs who'd been with Ron the night Tommy cleaned them up was holding Tina, who was struggling a little. Her struggles intensified when she saw Tommy. Where was the third man?
Tommy heard movement behind him. Even though he could easily have taken the man approaching him, he didn't move when the man came up behind him and put a thick wooden stick across his throat. Tommy grabbed the stick with both hands, but didn't push against it.
"Watch your ass, kid," the man growled. "You're gonna get it, one way or the other. Your ass is fuckin' ours."
"Tommy, you shouldn't have come," Tina protested. "They...they're going to hurt you. You should have called the police."
"Yeah, kid, you shoulda called the cops," Ron laughed. "But I knew you wouldn't. You think you're gonna be a hero, doncha?"
Tommy stayed silent, still holding the stick, not resisting. Where was Bud? He scanned the bushes behind Ron and the others, but didn't see his friend. Bud better hurry up or he was going to be in deep shit.
"He ain't so tough now, is he, Ron?" the man holding the stick said. "Fuckin' punk."
Ron walked toward Tommy. "We're gonna see how tough you are now, you little asshole," he snorted. "I'm gonna show you not to fuck with me. I'm gonna show you good."
The man holding Tommy relaxed a little. The young man knew that because the pressure of the stick against his hands lessened. That was a major mistake, but he wasn't about to point it out. He kept looking for Bud, then a shadow appeared out of the bushes behind the man holding Tina. He could hear a soft "Thud!" and the man next to Tina sagged to the ground.
The man holding Tommy saw his friend fall and stiffened. "Hey!" he said, "there's..."
Before the man could finish what he planned to say, Tommy pushed out on the stick. The man holding it began to resist, but he'd been taken off guard and was too late. The next thing Tommy did was execute a maneuver Kwan had taught him; a leaping somersault using the stick as a fulcrum. The move took him up and over the man holding him. The two of them crashed to the ground and Tommy wound up sitting atop his erstwhile captor.
Tommy still had the stick in his hands, and so did the man he was sitting on, but the thug was too shaken by what had happened to resist when Tommy pulled the stick out of his hands, then drove it down against the man's skull. The man went limp.
Ron, who couldn't understand what was going on in front of him, continued moving toward Tommy, an action that proved to be a major mistake. The young man leaped to his feet and launched a thrust kick in Ron's direction. His sneaker caught the man under the chin. The force of the kick, which was enhanced by Ron's forward motion, snapped the bully's head back wickedly. Tina's ex-husband went down and lay still.
Tommy landed on his feet and looked around.
Bud stood there, smiling at him. "Remind me never to piss you off, sensei," he said, shaking his head. "I've never seen anything like that. Never. Shit. You didn't need me."
"I'm glad you were here just the same," Tommy said.
"Yeah, sure," Bud replied. "Can I call the cops now?"
"Sure, why not?" Tommy said. "There's a pay phone out by the entrance."
Bud took some of the wide plastic strips cops use as handcuffs out of his pockets and secured the wrists of the men they'd subdued, then he headed for the phone.
Tina stood there, wide-eyed, for a few seconds, then she bolted into Tommy's arms. "I don't believe it!" she whispered, her face against his chest, her arms squeezing him. "I...I thought they'd hurt you! I was so scared!"
Tommy rubbed her back. "Are you OK?" he asked. "Did...did they do anything to hurt you?"
She nodded. "I'm...I'm fine," she murmured against his chest. "I-I was so worried about you, though. Ron...I've...I've never seen him like he was tonight!"
"How did this happen?" Tommy asked.
"When Greg and I got to my place after work, they..." Tina said. She stopped and looked up at Tommy. "Greg! My God! I forgot..."
Greg was lying on the ground near some bushes, bound hand and foot and gagged. He was squirming and groaning. Tommy released Tina, went over and untied him, even though he would have preferred to let him lie just where he was.
Greg sat on the grass, rubbing his wrists, and glared at Tommy and Tina. "What the fuck is going on, Tina?" he demanded. "Jesus Christ! Why didn't you tell me about this shit? I coulda got hurt!" He struggled to his feet. "I'm getting out of here!"
"You ought to wait until the police come," Tommy said. "They'll probably want to take a statement from you."
"Screw the cops," Greg snorted. "They can come to my place." He looked at Tina. "Forget that date we have tomorrow night, Tina. I'm not seeing you any more. It ain't worth it. I'm not going through this again!" He turned and stomped off into the darkness away.
Tina began to cry. Tommy took her in his arms and held her against him. "I'm sorry," he said. "I know how you feel about him."
Tina continued to sniffle. "It...it doesn't matter," she said. "I-I guess I knew it wasn't going to work out with Greg and me. I should have known better than to think anyone would want a woman with a child. I mean, I am kind of used goods."
"I want you," Tommy said without thinking. "I-I don't think you're used goods."
Tina looked up at him suddenly. "What...?" she said.
"Cops are on their way," Bud said, announcing his return. His appearance kept Tina from finishing her question. He looked around. "Where's the guy they had tied up?"
"He decided not to wait," Tommy said. "He said if the cops want to talk to him, they can come to his house."
Bud shook his head and said, "Been better if he stayed." He looked at Tina. "You OK?"
Tina stepped back, out of Tommy's arms, and nodded. "I...I'm fine," she said softly.
"Tina, this is Bud Murtagh," Tommy said. "He's my partner in the dojo. He's a cop in North Hampden. Bud, this is Tina Nyce."
"Been nice if we could have met under better conditions," Bud replied.
"Ah...yes, I guess," Tina said.
Sirens sounded and a police car, roof lights spinning, braked to a stop next to Tommy's truck. Two officers got out. "Which one of you is Murtagh?" the cop who was driving asked.
"That's me," Bud replied. "The three guys on the ground are the perps."
"Yeah, we kinda figured that," the officer said. Another cruiser braked to a stop and this time only one officer, wearing sergeant's stripes on his uniform sleeves, got out. He walked over. "Hi, Bud," he said, "heard you were involved in this. What's up?"
"Well, those three there..." Bud said. He began telling what happened while Tommy and Tina listened. After he finished explaining what had transpired, they went to the police station, where they were questioned and had to complete statements. Tina called her babysitter and advised her she'd be late, very late.
Bud was at ease with the whole process, but Tommy found it boring. He'd just as soon have gone home. Tina kept looking at him with that funny look, but didn't make any attempt to talk to him. Finally, they were told they could leave. They climbed in Tommy's truck, with Tina in the small jump seat, and he drove to her apartment building.
"Those guys should go away for a long time," Bud said. "Two counts of kidnapping, assault, attempted assault, and whatever. I doubt they'll see the street in less than ten years."
"I hope so," Tina whispered. "I-I was so scared."
"You were real brave back there, Tina," Bud said.
"I wasn't brave, I was scared stiff," she replied. "I was afraid they'd hurt Tommy."
Bud laughed. "You don't have to worry about him," he said. "Where'd you learn that move, anyhow, Tom?"
"I did it one time when Sensei and I were working out with Kendo sticks," Tommy explained. "Only with him, it didn't work as good as it did tonight."
Bud laughed. "I don't suppose it would have," he said. "Not much surprised that old man."
Tommy pulled up in front of Tina's building. Bud got out to let Tina out. She hesitated, looking at Tommy. "Tommy..." she said. She took a deep breath. "I...ah, thank you."
"Hey," he replied, "what are friends for?"
Tina smiled at him, got out of the truck, and headed up the walk toward her building. Bud climbed back into the truck and the two of them sat and watched until she was safely inside. When the door closed behind Tina, Tommy put the truck in gear and started off.
"You like her, don't you?" Bud said.
"More than that," Tommy said.
"That's what I meant," Bud said. "There isn't anything going on between you, is there?"
Tommy shook his head.
"What's the problem?" Bud asked. "She's not married, is she?"
"She's older than I am," the young man said glumly. "She thinks of me as her little brother."
Bud chuckled. "After tonight, I don't think she's going to feel like that," he said. "I'll tell you, kid, I never seen anyone handle themselves any better than you did back there. You ever think of being a cop?"
Tommy shrugged and said, "Not really." He smiled at his friend. "You think I could be one?" he asked.
"Don't see why you not," Bud said. "Of course, with all your money..."
"You and I could become Private eyes," Tommy suggested.
"Yeah, sure!" Bud laughed. "I told you, I'm not quitting the force until I've got my twenty in."
"If I take criminology courses at community college, maybe, when you retire, we could open our own agency," Tommy said.
"We'll talk about it," Bud said. "Right now, all I want to do is get some sleep."
Tommy turned into his aunt's driveway. It was almost daylight, and now that the excitement was over, he was terribly tired. "Me, too," he said.
He parked the truck and the two of them went inside. Karen was in the kitchen in her bathrobe, looking anxious. She jumped to her feet, walked over, and put her arms around Bud. "Where were you?" she asked. "What was going on? Are you all right?"
Bud smiled. "We were playing with some of Tom's friends," he said. He bent and kissed her. "We'll tell you all about it later, won't we, Tom?"
"Yeah, sure," Tommy replied.
"But first, we're gonna get some sleep," Bud said. He slid his arm around Karen's waist. "Come on, woman, I need some rest." He and Karen started down the hallway.
Tommy yawned and followed. He fell on his bed fully clothed and was asleep before he realized it.