THIRTEEN: FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME




A NEW CHAPTER DAWNS and sees the plucky Officer Tonks behind the wheel of her bullet-ridden squad car.

She does not flee, nor does she race toward danger. In fact, her car is not moving at all. Instead, the tenacious Tonks works the radio, calling upon her fellow officers, the Thin Blue Line between anarchy and order, to fly to her side. To stand with her this day against the forces of evil who have taken root inside the city hospital.

She was in no real danger. Not anymore. The shooters, fortunately, had stopped shooting. In fact, from what she could see, other than the two guys still standing outside the entrance, the others had all gone back in.

That felt odd.

Still, it had allowed her the breathing room necessary to call for backup.

But there was a problem.

“Negative, Four Adam Two,” said a crackly voice from the radio. “Back up has been delayed. I repeat. Back up has been delayed. Over.”

“Delayed? Over.”

“That’s correct, Four Adam Two. There’s been reports of multiple explosions in the factory district, all available officers have been routed to the area. Over.”

“But,” Officer Tonks closed her eyes and held tightly to the bridge of her nose as she responded. “Terrorists have taken over City Hospital, I repeat, terrorists have taken over City Hospital. Certainly that warrants a response. Over.”

“Negative, Four Adam Two. No one is available. I have been advised to have you to monitor and report. Over.”

Monitor and report? What was she, a security guard?

“What about the Feds? Over.”

“Negative, Four Adam Two.” She was growing tired of that response. “The Feds are busy with the explosions as well. Over.”

“I can’t handle this on my own. You can’t expect me to handle this on my own. Over.”

“You’re not alone,” said a voice from outside the car. Passenger side.

Officer Tonks dropped the mic and had her service pistol in hand before she’d even realized what she was doing. She spun, her gun held out before her. And there, leaning over so that he could see into the car was a man in some sort of colorful horse costume.

“Sorry, Four Adam Two,” said the dispatcher. “You are on your own. Over.”

“Not anymore,” said the man in the horse suit.

“You have about three seconds to back away from the car and tell me who you are before I damage that colorful costume of yours with a handful of bullet holes.”

“Violence is not necessary, Law Giver,” the man said, backing away. “I am the Mighty Piñata. I’m here to help you help me.”

With that, he bowed. Actually bowed.

“Piñata, huh?” She said, pointing the gun at him. “That’s what that suit is supposed to be? A piñata?”

“Of course,” the man said, still bending to see in the car.

“And you’re going to help me.” It was not a question.

“Help you, help me.” He smiled.

“And how are you going to do that?”

“I am what stands between evil and innocence.”

“Well,” she said. “That’s cryptic.”

“I have something for you,” he said.

That was when she noticed that he had both hands behind his back.

“Look, this is what I need you to do,” she said, still pointing the gun at him. “I need you to take both hands, slowly, and place them behind your head.”

“Of course, officer. I am happy to acquiesce if it means the wicked will be punished.”

As he moved she noticed that he had something in each hand. In his left were two objects, dark, possibly phones. In his right…

“Drop the bat,” she called out. “Drop it now!”

The man froze. The smile remained.

“I understand your trepidation," he said. "I am, after all, a stranger to you. But Sally is a tool of retribution, only those with ill intent need fear her.”

“Sally?”

“The bat,” he said.

It was certainly turning out to be one of those days.

“We go no further until you drop it,” she said. “Understand?”

“Of course. But I would prefer not to drop Sally onto the rough pavement below. If you’d be so kind as to allow me to squat, and place her gently upon the ground?”

If she let him to do that, he would drop out of her line of sight below the window. Not a smart move. Not at all.

“You’re going to drop the bat now,” she said. “Or it’s going to fall from your cold, dead hands.”

The man’s smiled faltered, but for only a moment. She could see a rage in his eyes flair to life, but then extinguish as soon as it had sparked. Following the flames of anger, his eyes softened, and then filled with tears. Real tears.

“Know this, dear lady. I would not think twice about splintering Sally’s smooth surface over the head of your average ne’re-do-well. It is, after all, her purpose in life. But to treat her so callously, with such viscous disregard, to cast her aside as if she were nothing more than a common baseball bat. Well, I am afraid that is where I have to draw the line. Please, after I am gone, see that she is taken care of.”

He stood tall, the bat by his side. She could no longer see his face, but she could imagine that he was stoic, resolute, a man dressed as a piñata prepared to give his life for a baseball bat.

She kept her gun on him as she removed herself from the squad car and moved cautiously to his side of the vehicle. Her theory was validated by the look of resolve the man held as tears rolled down his cheeks.

“Okay,” she said. “You can squat and place the bat gently on the ground.”

He practically beamed as he crouched there in the road, his smile wide enough to cross a river. He didn’t merely set the bat on the ground. There was so much care, so much love and devotion, it was like watching a man tuck his child into bed for the night. Had the piñata man said prayers, she wouldn’t have been surprised.

His task now complete, the man rose and directed his full attention upon her. What was only moments ago a face of unbridled joy was now all business.

“I have come to you,” he said. “A respected officer of the law, with ill tidings.”

She had to put all her effort into not rolling her eyes.

“Beyond those walls,” he gestured to the hospital. “Evil lurks.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I know. They shot at me.”

“I am here to help you defeat this crabby menace.”

“And how are you going to do that?”

“With these,” he said, holding out his hand, which held two walkie-talkies.

  • Can the Piñata and Officer Tonks defeat the crabby menace alone?
  • Will our two heroes form the type of bond that lasts forever?
  • Anyone know what happened to my coffee?

Find out the answers to none of these questions in the next exciting installment of: The Mighty Piñata!






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