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 “How much longer until our shift ends?” Judy asked, yawning widely.

 Nick blinked, raising his sunglasses to peer owlishly at the clock on cruiser’s dash. “Five more minutes,” he replied.

  Yaaaaay… ” she muttered wearily. They’d been working almost twenty-four hours, having volunteered for back to back twelve hour duty shifts, due to a bad dockyard fire diverting several other police officers from their usual patrols to handle crowd control and coordination with the fire department. “What are you going to do when we clock out?”

 “Sleep,” Nick replied flatly. “You?”

 “Ditto. I was going to soak in the tub first, but I think I’d fall asleep and drown myself.”

 “Chief Bogo would kill you if you died and left the department short pawed,” Nick noted. He pulled into the left paw turn lane at the intersection, waiting for the light to change so they could head back to Savannah Central.

 A baby blue hatchback with a wolf at the wheel pulled up to the light, in the lane to the right of their cruiser. The driver spotted a break in the traffic, then peeled out, making an illegal leftpaw turn from the middle lane and just missing their cruiser’s bumper.

 

“Oh, we got a real rocket surgeon today,” Nick noted with a growl. He flipped on their flashers and pulled out behind the hatchback, giving the driver a brief blip with the siren to get his attention.

 “You’re not kid-- Woah! ” Judy exclaimed, as the hatchback suddenly accelerated, scooting two lanes across traffic, forcing a black SUV to slam hard on its brakes to avoid hitting the smaller car. As Nick hit the siren again, she grabbed the radio mic and called, “Central, this is Zoo Adam-12. We got a 10-43 on Waterhole Dr. between River Crossing Rd. and the Rt. 3 exit. Suspect is a male wolf driving a blue hot hatch, license number Delta Romeo Claw Eight Seven Eight, currently doing 75, correction, 85 in a 35 zone.”

  Acknowledge your 10-43 ,” Clawhouser called back. “ You guys need backup? 

  Shiiiiiit! ” Nick cursed, as the hatchback ran a red light and barely missed getting hit by a Transit van. The fox officer hit the brakes and went through much more carefully, as traffic stopped for the police cruiser. “Tell him yes, we definitely need backup!” He accelerated again, as traffic moved to either side of the road to let the cruiser through, the hatch almost a block and half ahead of them now.

  Additional ground units in route. Air support lifting off now.”

 “Thanks, Central,” Judy replied. “Suspect now turning left onto…. Oh, cheese and crackers! Subject turned left, repeat left onto Hundred Acre Ave. Now travelling on the shoulder against traffic.”

 Following procedure, Nick didn’t try to follow the hatchback into the oncoming traffic, but kept going until he could turn left onto the next street over, which was going the correct direction. “Keep an eye on him, Carrots!”

 “I see him!” Overhead she heard the thump of a ZPD helicopter unit arriving, flying above the buildings, keeping track of the hatch. “Okay, we’re good. He’s not going to outrun the chopper.”

 Nick eased off the throttle, “Central, is the hatch still on Hundred Acre?”

  Confirmed, Zoo Adam-12. Patching in the chopper.”

 “Ground Units, this is Z-Bird 4,” came the helicopter pilot’s voice over their radio. “Suspect is attempting a U-turn across traffic. Suspect now taking exit onto Rudolph Road, heading into Tundra Town.”

 “Thanks, Z-Bird. We’re exiting onto Rudolph, still in pursuit,” Judy reported.

 “Zoo Adam-4 reports they’re at the intersection of Rudolph and Balto, deploying a spike strip,” Clawhouser added.

 “Got him now,” Nick muttered, as their cruiser entered the tunnel connecting the two neighborhoods. The engine roared in the confines of the tunnel, as the fox officer accelerated again, closing the distance between themselves and the hot hatch. They were only two car lengths behind, and rapidly approaching the roadblock set up by Zoo Adam-4. A bright orange spike strip was already laid out across the road, a five meter long plastic board studded with hundred of hollow spikes, designed to puncture a car’s tires without ripping them apart, giving the driver time to come to a controlled stop.

 “He’s not slowing down,” Judy noted, as Nick began to apply the brakes so they wouldn’t also cross the strips. She watched as the hatchback crossed the strip and began to wobble on the road as its tires deflated. “What is with this guy?” she asked.

 “Why do I get the feeling he’s got something fun hidden in the spare wheel well of that thing?” Nick asked in response. He accelerated again as Zoo Adam-4, consisting of Wolfowitz and Francine, pulled the strip out of the way and ran for their own cruiser.

 The hatchback, still doing at least forty, fishtailed as the last of the rubber tore off and it began running on its rims, sparks flying into the air. Finally the driver lost control, skidding towards the guardrail separating Rudolph from the frozen river running parallel to it. Judy yelped in sympathy as the hot hatch struck the rail, flipping over it and rolling down the snow covered embankment, landing on its roof and sliding out into the middle of the frozen river.

 Nick braked hard and they both jumped out of the cruiser, running towards the now crushed guardrail, Z-Bird 4 holding steady overhead, staying high enough to avoid stirring up the snow and causing a whiteout. The hatchback lay in the center of a spiderweb of cracks in the ice covering the river, steam coming out of the engine, the front left corner of the car crumpled from where it hit the guardrail.

 “Sir! Step out of the car!” Nick shouted, as he and Judy slid down the embankment, stopping before they stepped out onto the uncertain strength of the damaged ice. When they saw there was no movement from the car, he shouted again.

 “I don’t know if that ice is gonna hold, Nick,” Judy said, watching as the cracks began to slowly expand.

 “You’re about to tell me that you’re lighter than I am, aren’t you?” Nick asked rhetorically.

 “Yep.” Deciding not to waste time, Judy dropped to all fours and began to slowly crawl towards the hatchback. As she drew closer, she heard the distinct sound of ice cracking underneath her and the overturned car.

 The wolf was still sitting in the driver’s seat, hanging upside down by his seatbelt, eyes wide and ears folded back in petrified terror. Up close Judy could see that he was a weedy looking kid in his mid-teens, dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt that declared “Chaotic Evil means never having to say you’re sorry.”

 “Sir, you need to get out of there right now! The ice isn’t going to hold!” Judy called through the open driver’s side window.

 “It’s my dad’s car,” the boy finally said, his voice trembling in obvious shock. “I can’t… It’s my dad’s car....”

 “I think your dad is going to care a lot more about you than the car, sir.” She slipped inside through the open window, ignoring Nick’s worried shout from the river’s edge, and hit the release for the kid’s seat belt. He almost dropped on top of her, hitting the crumpled rooftop with his shoulders. “Come on, we gotta get out of here,”Judy urged, the sound of cracking ice increasing in volume. “On your belly, that’s it…”

 The kid crawled out awkwardly through the window, trying to work around the steering wheel. Finally he got clear of the window and lay flat on his belly on the ice.

 “Okay,” Judy said calmly. “Now we are going to crawl very slowly over to the shore…”

 With a deep crack the ice underneath them finally gave way, and the car fell through the ice. “Jump on top of it!” Judy cried out, leaping up onto the car’s underside as the ice gave way under her feet. The wolf tried to scramble to his feet, falling against the edge of the car, yowling in pain as he grabbed the hot exhaust pipe, before Judy grabbed the front of his shirt and hauled him up beside her. The car was still sinking, the weight of the engine pulling it nose down as the back end rose into the air.

 Meanwhile Z-Bird was dropping like a rock out of sky, the side door sliding open. The backwash from its chopper blades almost blew Judy off her feet, but she grabbed the bumper with one paw, and held on tight to the wolf’s with her other. The chopper’s co-pilot, a rangy cheetah she didn’t know, held onto a safety bar inside the helicopter, while reaching out to them with the other. With a heave Judy pulled the wolf up into the cheetah’s grip, just managing to jump into the helicopter as the hatchback’s bumper disappeared under the water.

 The helicopter hovered into the air over the hole in the ice, the water that filled it looking black, deep, and icy cold. Then it side stepped over to the shore, hovering low to the ground as Judy hopped out again, dragging the trembling wolf along with her, then rose again into the air, turning back to base.

 “Judy, have I ever mentioned to you that you’re insane? ” Nick scolded, as she and the wolf both sat on the edge of the curb. The fox turned his attention to the wolf, “As for you, what the hell were you running from ua for, huh? What was in that car?”

 “Nothing, nothing! “ the boy exclaimed. “There wasn’t anything in the car. I was just driving to the comics shop. It was just four blocks!”

 Judy quirked an eyebrow, making a guess at the reasons for his distress, beyond the obvious one of trashing his father’s car. “Let’s see you license,” she asked.

 If anything the wolf’s expression became more forlorn, and he pulled out his wallet and handed it over. Judy looked it over, and nodded in satisfaction. “This is a learner’s permit, Todd,” she said, noting his name. “You’re only fifteen. You’re not allowed to drive without a supervising adult in the front seat with you.”

 “It was only four blocks,” Todd mumbled miserably.

 “And when I blipped the siren at you, you decided to panic,” Nick concluded, sounding a bit more sympathetic. In the distance, the sound of a ambulance, no doubt called in by Wolfowitz and Francine when they dove up and saw the wreck, approached.

 “Yeah. I’m sorry,” Todd said, ears flat, tail drooping flat on the ground.

 “Okay, Todd. At minimum you’re going to charged with violating your learner’s permit restrictions, reckless driving, reckless endangerment for putting all the other drivers on the road at risk, and property damage for busting that guardrail,”” Judy informed him. “First though, you’re going to be checked out by the paramedics to make sure you weren’t injured in the crash.”

 “And then we get to call your dad to pay bail and pick you up,” Nick finished.

 If possible, Todd’s expression drooped even lower. “Can’t I stay in jail instead?”

 “Sorry, kiddo.”

 In due course the ambulance arrived, the paramedics assured themselves that Todd was uninjured aside from where the seat belt had dug into his chest and shoulder, and the poor kid was dutifully handcuffed and stuffed in the back of Wolfowitz and Francine’s cruiser, the two other officers agreeing to process the boy into a holding cell while Judy and Nick finally got to clock out.

 “I almost feel sorry for the kid. Losing his shot at a license for a couple of years will be one thing. Putting up with the hell his parents are going to give him will be a lot worse,” Nick said, as he drove.

 “Me too,” Judy agreed. “Except for one thing.”

 “What?” 

Judy rolled her eyes. “I was looking forward to getting some sleep when we got off shift, and now I’m flipping wired. 

 “I suggest dinner and a movie,” Nick offered.

 “I don’t want to go out.”

 “Pizza and beer on the couch, while we binge on Netfangs?”

 She smiled at him. “That I could go for.”

 “Your wish is my command.”

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
litalex
Jan. 31st, 2018 03:47 pm (UTC)
aw, how cute. poor kid.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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