This scene is early in the story, Dan and Trek’s first meeting.
Dan Winstead eased his unit down a bumpy alley, looking for a kid on a stolen bicycle. He didn’t find the little punk. Oh well, just another exciting PM shift in Alamo Junction. His radio crackled.
“P-5, can you take a call at the Spee-Dee Stop? Man reported a stolen dog but he sounded mighty upset. The clerk called, too, and she said a car was also taken.”
“Ten-four. Headed that way.”
Dan didn’t go code three. For a stolen dog it hardly seemed necessary. Maybe not even a stolen car. Well, whatever. When he pulled into the parking lot he saw the man pacing beside the gas pumps, clearly not a local and obviously agitated to near hysteria.
Even before he stepped out of the patrol car, the guy began to demand action. “The dirty bastard stole my dog. I went inside when my card wouldn’t work and the next thing I know, he’s taken off with Commando.”
“Where was your dog? Did you tie him up and go in to get a soda or something?”
“He’s in the fucking car. I left the keys in the gas cap, right on the rear deck, and when my card wouldn’t read, I went inside so the clerk could turn the pump on.”
Dan shook his head. Dumb California or Texas city boy, thinking Alamo was too sleepy and slow for any danger. “What kind of car? You know the license number?” He expected it might be a rental but the answer jolted him.
“Plymouth Fury, red over white with chrome, 1959 model. Tennessee TSY-967.”
Dan sucked in a fast breath. That must be one rare auto, and the guy was going nuts about a dog? “What kind of dog?”
“Commando’s a rescue. Pitty. One of those they rescued from that drug baron’s dog fighting operation. He was just a puppy, though. He’s a perfect angel, the best dog I ever had. I want that dog back—now. Let’s go after them. He couldn’t have gone far. I was almost out of gas.”
“Pity the dog is a rescue? I don’t get it.”
The man gave a snort of irritation. “Pit Bull. We call ‘em pitties. They have a totally undeserved reputation. Commando wouldn’t hurt a flea.”
Dan sighed. For a moment his red necked cousin’s taunts and sneers flashed across his mind. Bubba had no use for “flamin’ queers,” and had an act that got most of the family in stitches, pretending to carry a pocket-size pooch in one hand and waving the other while he cried “Oh, bowsie wowsie” in a falsetto voice.
He’d made Dan’s life hell once he came out. This guy did not use a falsetto voice, and a pit bull was no bowsie wowsie, but some of his words and gestures hinted to Dan that he just might also be gay.
Although the car sounded much more important to Dan than even the best dog, he sprang into action. Grabbed the mike through the open window, he put out an ATL on the Fury. He mentioned the dog, as well.
He then turned to the stranger. “Come on. Get in. I’ll go down this road to where it gets back on the interstate. Maybe we’ll spot him. If not, I’ll drop you at a motel. I suppose you have your wallet and stuff?”
The man huffed. “Of course.” Then as if he realized he needed to chill out, he held out a hand. “Trek DuHamel. I appreciate your help. I just pray we can catch up before that creep does anything to my dog, like throw him out on the highway.”
Dan accepted the hand shake. “Officer Dan Winstead. Let’s see what we can do.”
He jumped back into the unit and started off while Trek was still fastening his seat belt. A red Fury should not be hard to spot.
It wasn’t. They found it sitting at the foot of the on-ramp back to the interstate, neatly folded around a light pole. Trek bailed out before the unit’s tires quit turning and ran toward the car.
The driver waved wildly out the open window with his left hand and seemed to be bouncing around in the front seat. He also screamed in frantic tones. “Oh my God, get this fucking dog off me. He’s got hold of my ear and he won’t let go. Help me. I’m bleeding all over the place. Get this man eating dog away from me.”