Officer Joseph Oddalwatt sat in the drivers seat of his patrol car as he awaited a red light to turn green. For a few moments, he turned to his right to watch the last traces of the setting sun. Then as the light turned green, he eased onto the gas pedal and drove off in near silence, occasional garbled voices of his radio were his only companionship on the quiet watch. Even though his patrol was routine, how he went about it was anything but routine. Sometimes he would stop in at Mikes Corner Store for a quick bite first, sometimes he would do that last, but there was one thing that was predictable about Joseph; and that was that he never fell into a set routine of being somewhere at a given time.
Tonight's going to be a quiet one. He thought to himself while cruising along quiet suburban streets. But there was an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach, though, as he drove along. Turning onto Cherry Pitt Road the sense of uncertainty flooded through his body, but being the highly trained and respected officer that he was, Joseph forced it out of his mind as best as possible until his nerves settled and he could breathe a relaxing sigh of relief.
Time passed silently as Officer Oddalwatt made his patrol, stopping twice; once for fuel, and once for a food and restroom break. It was during the personal break at Mikes Corner Store where the feeling of unease returned. Yet, being a conditioned patrolman, Oddalwatt forced the sensations out of mind once again. As usual, the customers in the store greeted him politely and in a show of respect. There was even a boy, around the age of six that Joseph surmised, staying at his mothers side in line that glanced and smiled at him; and in response, Joesph smiled back.
"Bye mister officer." The boy called out and waved as the mother quietly gathered her purchase and moved to the door.
"Bye little guy." Joesph responded as nicely as possible with a subtle wave of his own.
"Quiet night so far?" The elderly man behind the counter asked while Joseph placed a microwaved burger on the counter then pulled out his wallet.
"So far yeah."
"Hope it stays that way."
"So do I...so do I..." Joseph muttered handing over a couple of dollar bills, and when he had his change, moved towards the door and out to his squad car where he sat down to enjoy his simple yet satisfying dinner. Once done, and the wrapper was stored in a plastic grocery bag used as a trash can, Joseph sat and watched the occasional car driving by. It wasn't until he spotted a dark colored truck drifting over both travel lanes that he reached down and started the engine. Suddenly the wave of unease hit him again, but this time he couldn't force it out of his mind. With headlights on, Joseph pulled out onto the street and followed from a distance. Much as he expected, the truck drifted over both travel lanes with an erratic increase and decrease in speed. Having seen enough, Oddalwatt flipped a few switches turning on the overhead lights and gave the siren a couple of quick chirps.
"Seven Joseph to dispatch; I'm ten-fifty-five, thirty-five hundred block of Hummingbird Avenue. Dark blue pickup, no visible tags." Joseph spoke into the shoulder microphone watching the truck pulling over to the side of the road.
"Ten-four Seven Joseph." A woman's voice rattled through the speaker of the radio. As he climbed out of the squad car, Joseph noticed the drivers door of the truck swinging open and a tall burly man stepping out with an object in his hand.
"Drop it and get back in the truck!" Oddalwatt ordered with a commanding tone when reflex took over causing his right hand to go for his holstered pistol. Before Joseph could un-holster his sidearm, the driver of the truck raised his own arm followed by a series of pops and flashes of light. Everything happened so fast that Joseph didn't have time to comprehend it all before he found himself laying on his back in the grass staring up at the night sky with closing eyes.
Lester Welks walked silently along his nightly path to the Mikes Corner Store; as usual, it was a normal walk with nothing eventful happening. That was until he found himself diving into the tall grass on the side of the road to avoid being hit by a speeding pickup. Getting up and brushing himself off, Lester muttered a few choice obscenities then continued with his walk. Further down the road, Lester slowed seeing flashes of red and blue lights belonging to a squad car sitting on the side of the road with the drivers door open. Then, seeing something laying in the grass, Lester cautiously approached; when he was within reach, he suddenly took a step back with a gasp and looked around.
"Officer, are you okay? Can you hear me?" Lester asked loud enough for his voice to echo over the hum of the cars engine. Silence was the only response. Risking the dare, he stepped closer and knelt down studying the cops body and the increasing pool of blood, and the bullet lodged in the officers shoulder mounted microphone. "Shit!" Lester shouted out leaping up and running for the open door of the squad car, and even though he didn't sit down in it, he reached in far enough to grab the hand held microphone for the cars two way radio. "Mayday! Mayday! Officer down! Hummingbird Avenue north of Sunflower Valley! Multiple gunshot wounds...god he's looking bad..." He could barely keep his composure as he nearly shouted into the radios talk piece.
"Ten four, dispatching backup and fire rescue." A woman's voice echoed back through the radios speaker, and to Lester, it was the most reassuring voice he'd ever heard. "All units in the vicinity and all units able to respond; eleven ninety-nine on Hummingbird Avenue north of Sunflower Valley; code 3..." That was all Lester heard before he darted back to the officer laying silently in the grass. With the cars headlights illuminating the scene, he fell back on his first aid training; without thinking of doing so, Lester yanked off his shirt using it to wrap around Joesph's left arm to stem the free flowing blood then he cupped his hands over each other and applied as much pressure as possible to the gaping hole in the officers leg where he knew the femoral artery would be.
Time ticked by silently. The longer he waited for help, the less he thought the cop before him was going to make it. The more he thought about it, the more futile his actions seemed, yet he also knew that he couldn't live with himself if he didn't do everything he could.
Then suddenly a faint whirr of a siren. He glanced around thinking he was hearing things but listened intently as the sound grew in volume accompanied by several more sirens. Almost immediately the entire area was full of cop cars with flashing lights; seeing the first car coming up, Lester waved his arm frantically and shouted 'over here!'
"What'we'got?" The first responding officer asked running up to Lester.
"Multiple gunshot wounds..." Lester responded returning his focus to trying to keep the Joseph's blood from leaking out of the wound any faster. "...I'm certified in first aid, but this much blood loss...it'll be a miracle if he makes it..."
Hearing this, the officer nodded and turned to several units gathering around. "Okay you three secure the scene." He ordered then ran to the trunk of his own car and returned with an advanced first aid kit. "All right I'm taking over." He commented slapping on a pair of latex gloves then picked up a thick stack of gauze padding.
"With all due respect, sir, but this is dangerously close to his femoral artery and if I take the pressure off, he'll spray out what little bloods left!" Lester snapped angry. Hearing this, the officer shook his head.
"All right then, I'm going to come in from the top and when I press down, take your hands out of there."
"Got it." Lester spoke, all the while his mind raging with millions of what if's. Once the officer took over, Lester backed away far enough until he was sitting on the front bumper of Josephs squad car. Even though he was no longer right next to Joseph, he still kept his eyes on him looking up only long enough to see an ambulance pulling up.
The notion of time warped through Lester's mind as Joseph was loaded into the ambulance then driven away. Even as a couple of detectives were questioning him, Lester couldn't tell if minutes or hours had passed.
Much to Lester Welks surprise, officer Joseph Oddalwatt made a full and complete recovery. And for his quick thinking and swift actions, Lester received a 'noble citizen' award on behalf of not only the city of Linwoodfalls, but also on the behalf of Joseph, his wife and thirteen year old twin sons.
The suspect, however, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.