The indigenous foursome stood among the throngs of people who had gathered at the bottom of the stairs. The media was as thick as thieves, as they stood at the ready; waiting for the show to begin.
The outdoor courtyard was spacious, and peaceful with lots of trees and flowers. The sounds of police dispatch could be heard reverberating through this newly created panic zone by several hand held radio’s blaring. The police set up barricades, and posted up officers at various exits.
The police had cordoned off the area as people continued to stream through the grandiose atrium, and out into the open courtyard of city hall. The Mayor was due to speak anytime now. Many in the crowd looked around nervously. The last time these white folks had seen this many native people in one place it was down in Phoenix; at the football game, when the not your mascot movement,
was protesting the racist imagery of the Washington football team.
The small group stood anxiously. Sonny Ray overheard an older
white gentleman claiming to be part Cherokee. If he heard that one more time today, he swore he would ram his finger down his throat, and throw up on somebody’s shoes. Nadia had just gotten off the phone with her cousin Greg, who worked in the records division of the Antelope Springs police department. Greg soon appeared, standing at the top of the stairs. He waved the party of four up. Greg had found a spot behind the podium, out of the view of the Mayor and Captain Shane. They did however, receive several nasty looks from City Council members, who were sitting down in comfortable chairs under a large white gazebo. After settling in, Sonny Ray and Dwayne began to scan the crowd in the event Bob might make an unannounced appearance. The two large wood doors from the back of City hall suddenly swung open. Several burly cops lead the way. Mayor Meekham with Captain Shane in tow, made their way to the podium. The Mayor, speech in hand stood quietly in front of the large crowd. He waited for the crowd to settle down a bit. He nodded at several people. With a nod, he acknowledged the city council as well. In his peripheral vision he spotted Nadia, and her group.
He ignored her, and turned back toward the large crowd. “I would like to ask the members of the media to reserve their questions until the conclusion of this press conference, thank you,” Mayor Meekham asked with a strained tone of civility. He had no intention of fielding their damn idiotic questions. He paused for a moment. “Good morning.”
A smattering of greetings could be heard in return from the crowd. “Today is an inauspicious day for the city of Antelope Springs, and for Arizona as well. As most of you have heard a great controversy has come to our community. Much like the recent forest fires, everyone is being touched by this unfortunate turn of events.” The Mayor looked involuntarily at Nadia. She returned his gaze, firm. “I have agreed to speak in behalf of Mr. Edwards. If by chance he decides to expound on anything later, that will be at his discretion. However, today’s announcement will be final, and without prejudice. First I want to state that the sexual preferences of officer Edwards, and officer Fritz are not the issue.” Shane stood quietly, displaying as much contrition as humanly possible. He knew he had dodged some major charges. “The actions taken by my office are as a result of police misconduct, namely assault under the color of office; namely to carry out unlawful and willful acts of violence and coercion against several citizens of the various Native American communities. Many charges are pending, as my office is waiting on the city prosecutor to finalize his assessment of the many charges presently leveled against these now, former police officers. “Spoken like a man selling ocean front property in Nevada,” Natalia whispered in Nadia’s ear. An incidental smile crossed Nadia’s face as she listened intently to each word the mayor spoke. “Regardless of what others have reported on in the community, this office has deemed these charges to be both credible and believable. I wish to announce that in addition to terminating the employment of officer Bob Fritz, I have issued a warrant for his arrest.” Mayor Meekham had issued the warrant late last week, but didn’t want this PR opportunity to pass him by. The large crowd erupted with clapping and cheering; mostly by those in the native community. “Hey Mayor, I think that lip lock officer Bob had on the pastor’s son seemed pretty
damn credible, and believable to us,” a tall native man in the crowd offered. The crowd erupted with laughter, getting a little Ronda rowdy now. The Mayor raised his hand in an attempt to regain the attention of the crowd. The mayor continued, “I would also like to announce that I have accepted the resignation of Captain Shane Edwards.” The large crowd went quiet; and then started up with the bullshit chant. “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit,” as the collective voice began to rise. This went on for several moments. The mayor attempted to get their attention by raising his hand once again, but the crowd wasn’t having it. “Bullshit bullshit, bullshit,” they chanted, over and over again. Non native folks in the crowd started looking for the exits. The mayor made several attempts to quiet the crowd but they could not be reined in until they had had their say; as they continued to make known their displeasure. Nadia had not planned to, but stepped forward, and urged the crowd to let the mayor conclude. The mayor who despised Nadia, turned with a pretentious nod of appreciation. “The trust of our community is at stake here. It is my hope that we can put to rest this whole sordid affair, and move forward in our separate but equal communities,” the mayor declared, like a man who knew he was up for reelection soon. The volume of the crowd continued to rise. The police encircled the mayor who decided it best to take his leave. The majority of Antelope Springs police flanked the mayor, as the various tribal police created a rear buffer for the departing mayor. The remainder of the Antelope Springs cops escorted the entire city council back to their chambers. The major outlets were furious. Reporters scrambled in protest, screaming foul. Nadia smiled. Dwayne put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. Natalia rolled her eyes. “Separate but equal my ass,” Natalia said to no one in particular. Something overhead caught the attention of Sonny Ray. It was the large black eagle circling high above the crowd, observing.
With Mayor Meekham, and Shane out of the picture, many began to trickle out of the large courtyard. Small groups began to form. Conversations continued as several custodians appeared, stacking chairs, and a doing a general clean up. A custodian pushing a large wheeled grey garbage can approached the podium. After unplugging the microphone he stood up and began rolling up the black microphone cable.
He slowly looked in the direction of Nadia and her three friends who were engaged in a celebratory conversation. Sonny Ray felt eyes on him. He looked around instinctively, finally turning in the direction of the podium, as his eyes met the hate filled eyes of Bob. Though inebriated, Bob shoved his hand in the large garbage can finding the pistol grip of his large hand held cannon. He shoved the garbage can aside, and stepped forward. Twelve to fifteen feet separated Bob from doing what he came here to do. Without looking around Sonny Ray grabbed Dwayne’s arm. “Dwayne move, go,” Sonny Ray said, nudging his friend. Dwayne looked up and saw Bob. He turned toward Nadia and Natalia. “Time to go ladies,” as he quickly turned the women to escape. Dwayne wondered if Bob had found out, and was now going to shoot him in the back of his head as he ran with his two friends seeking cover. Sonny Ray put his hands up, and stood as calmly as humanly possible. Bob had every intention of killing the two men, and two women; but for whatever reason he had become fixated on Sonny Ray. As Dwayne took his two friends to safety, the crowd saw Bob and his large pistol, and people began to scatter in a panic. There were only two native cops in the courtyard, one a rookie, the other a young man who was just their as ride along from the local high school. The rookie cop drew his weapon and waited. Dwayne had quickly alerted the native rookie cop not to shoot. Bob suddenly raised his pistol and pointed it at Sonny Ray, center mass. “You cost me my job you son of a bitch,” Bob screamed. His words were slurred; but his bitter intent came through loud and clear. “Do you hear me harwaiian trash? I’m going to kill your sorry coconut ass,” Bob bellowed, struggling to string a few words together. Sonny Ray knew what the plan was; but he was very much afraid. He could see the maniacal eyes glaring keenly in his direction. Bob blinked once, and pulled the trigger.