"Fuck! Fuckin’ fuck fuck!" screamed Detective Tom Boswell as he scanned the room looking for someone else to shoot. His partner stood on the opposite side of the smoke filled room, gun hanging from her hand. She looked up from the bloody mess that was her left arm and fired another round into the dead zombie at her feet. What should have been a routine bust had just gone as bad as bad could go. Outside, a car screeched to a halt and voice began hollering their names.
"Vasquez! Boswell!" The front door burst open flooding the dingy house with light. "Christ Almighty!" hissed the cop from behind his gun. The floor was littered with dead gang bangers, junkies and two zombies. The zombies necks were bound with chains and metal collars attached to long metal poles much like what dog catchers used to capture aggressive dogs. The plain clothes officer, crouching in the doorway, slumped against the frame. His gun hand dropped to the floor with a heavy thud.
"Tell me they didn't..." he couldn't finish.
"My arm," the cop named Vasquez said angrily, shaking it like maybe it would fall off. "They had it on a fuckin' chain. A fuckin' chain," she cried, pointing her pistol at the zombie. She spat and fired yet another round into the twice dead body at her feet.
Boswell said nothing. He shuffled towards a stained and thread bare sofa and sat down beside a junkie in a Lakers’ jersey who had taken a round in the neck. Looking to the cop in the doorway he asked, "So how you wanna' do it, Johnson?"
"What?" Johnson croaked.
"Don't what me. You know what you've gotta do." Johnson looked back and forth between the two, shaking his head.
"No... I can't... Not you two." Vasquez dropped her gun and shuffled over to the sofa, dropping down beside her partner.
"It's your duty, Chris. You took the oath, you know the rules."
"But... your families won't even get your insurance now," mumbled Johnson as he wiped at his eyes. Like most insurance policies, the one covering the LAPD did not cover infection. It could be purchased, but not at a rate affordable to anyone in law enforcement.
"Fuckin zombies," said Boswell, shaking his head.
"My arm feels cold," said Vasquez. There was fear in her voice. Boswell took her hand in his and squeezed it.
"Don't worry, Johnson," he said. "I'll do us both." Vasquez looked at him and smiled, patting his hand.
"You were a good partner, for a gringo." Boswell laughed, but it quickly turned to a sob. He opened his mouth but couldn't find the words.
"It's ok," she said, touching his face. "It's ok." She leaned her head back on the sofa and closed her eyes.
"Wait!" shouted Johnson, staggering to his feet. "Wait!" They stared back at him blankly. The veterans had been through this situation more than once and recognized the signs of denial.
"It's over, kid. Why don't you go back to your car and call it in?" Johnson waved him off with a look of determination.
"Why don't you go back to my car and get my MP5? Danny's is in there too. We're only a few blocks from Green Street's. Most of Rodriguez’s crew is out. Hit him. Grab all the cash you can and hide it somewhere. Call Katie, call your mom, tell them where they can pick it up." Neither infected cop said anything, but the look of defeat on their faces was vanishing as they considered what he said. Johnson looked from one face to another. "You don't have a lot of time to think about this, guys."
Boswell shook his head. “You want us to hit a gang house?”
“Yes. What do you have to lose?”
"What about you, Chris?" asked Vasquez. "You don't take us out and it's your job. Prison time if they decide to make an example of you."
Johnson looked around at the bodies. "Everybody in here dead?"
Boswell gazed around. "Those two still need a head shot," he said. Johnson got up off the floor and fired the sure shots.
"Knock me out. When I come to I can say you attacked me and I didn't know you'd been bitten." The two older officers stared up at him, considering.
"I don't know, kid. I'm already starting to feel cold," said Boswell, but his face said he had already started planning.
"Enough thinking, amigo, let's do it. If I can leave my daughter and my mom something I'm doin' it." She heaved herself off the couch and retrieved her gun. Then she started searching the bodies of the gangsters.
“What are you looking for?” asked Boswell. He had accepted a helping hand from Johnson and was now reloading.
“Blow. They say it holds it off.”
Boswell laughed. “You ever done blow, Maria?” Spotting a duffel bag by the wall, Detective Vasquez picked it up and threw it on a side table.
“Ha!” she barked, pulling out several sale-sized bags. “No, I’ve never done it, but I already feel like shit, love, and you look the same. Can’t go bursting into Rodriguez’s place feeling like we got the flu, it’d be a short hit.” She tore open a bag and poured some on the back of her hand. Johnson and Boswell tried not to laugh as she snorted the drug and then preceded to smack herself between the eyes as if she’d just drank something cold. Tried and failed.
“Shut up and take some, you idiot,” she yelled and threw a bag at Boswell. “And I get to hit Johnson.” The younger officer stopped laughing at that, which only made Boswell laugh harder.
Five minutes later Johnson handed over his keys to Vasquez.
"In the back left hand corner of the trunk you'll see a blue lunch bag, I've got a couple concussion grenades and smoke grenades."
"I'd give you a kiss, Kevin, if..."
Johnson nodded. "Good luck."
"Make sure everybody knows about the chained zombies, Johnson," she said.
"Give me your piece," said Boswell. "You know I'm gonna have to hit you with, right?" he asked, taking the pistol by its barrel.
"Shit. Hadn't thought about that," groaned Johnson. Neither infected detective could risk striking him with their own fists or blood spattered weapons. Johnson sighed and closed his eyes.
"Down on your knees," said Vasquez, "Not as far to fall." He opened his mouth to thank her when the lights went out.
Six hours later Detective Kevin Johnson shuffled into Skinny Pete's bar on Wilshire. Through the one eye he could still see out of he saw several suspicious patrons reach towards weapons. The detective wasn’t sure being shot would be all that bad at that point, it would probably hurt less than his head did. At a shake of the head from the bar's massive owner, they went back to their drinks and Johnson collapsed onto the closest stool. He squinted up at a TV that sat at the end of the bar.
"Sandy, will the LAPD be making a statement on the incident?" asked an anchorman to a reporter standing in the middle of a street before several emergency vehicles.
"They're staying tight lipped on the situation right now, Jim, but my sources are telling me it was some type of murder suicide pack and not an attack by a rival gang like we were led to believe earlier. Witnesses say they heard several loud explosions before the gunfire started and that the shooting lasted a long time." The bartender, not so Skinny Pete, approached Johnson and dropped three envelopes onto the bar in front of him.
"He said to give you these," he said and walked away. When Johnson had come to on the floor of the crack house he found a strange cell phone in his pocket with a text message waiting for him. The message only had the bar's address and nothing else. The top two envelopes were marked for Boswell's wife and Vasquez's mother, the bottom one was his. When Pete returned he put a beer, a shot glass of Jack and a bottle of Tylenol down in front of him.
"On the house," he said. Johnson took a handful of pills with the whiskey and chased it back with the beer before opening the envelope. Inside was a key to a bus station locker and a note that read, 'Don't spend it all in one place.' On the TV, the reporter's face had been replaced by photos of Detective's Tom Boswell and Maria Vasquez. Johnson wiped his eyes and then raised his beer to the TV.