On Ice

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Tammy was a devoted housewife, living a quiet life raising her two children. Then her cheating husband began to abuse her. Escaping her loveless marriage proved harder than she thought… until she crosses paths with John Kinkaid, a former US Marine now turned SWAT operative. His self-destructive alcoholism leads him to take the law into his own hands and into an unpredictable world of pain. Their meeting starts the pair on a trail of twists and turns which will redefine their lives, if it doesn’t destroy them first.

 

CHAPTER 1

The first standoff

John Kinkaid is a strapping 6 foot
200 pound buff sharp shooter working as part of an elite Detroit SWAT team.
He has been with the unit for 32 years with a 4-year break when he was in
the Marines earning him his Marksmanship Badge. He missed a day at the gym
about as often as he missed a chance to take a swig from the bottle of vodka he
always had tucked away in his city-issued combat trousers. Twice divorced with
an adult son and daughter, one from each marriage, his only remaining
relationships are with himself, his bottle and the fear of what retirement will
bring when it rolls around in a couple of weeks. His first wife, Barbara,
divorced him when she found him in bed with their neighbor. It was something for
which she and his daughter Sara, would never forgive.

 

Shortly thereafter, he took to the
bottle. He met Shelly in the waiting room of a counselor’s office. While she
recovered from her alcohol addiction, John only pretended to. They got married
and had a son Jake. Soon after Jake was born Shelly realized John had never
stopped drinking so she threw him out and filed for divorce. Kinkaid was too
busy working and drinking to spend any quality time with his son while he was
growing up, so the typical bond between a father and son never
developed. Now, with retirement looming, John realizes the only thing
waiting for him is his Russian friend in the bottle and not much more to look
forward to.

 

On the other side of the city,
Scott Marx has taken his family hostage and is threatening to kill them along
with himself.  The crash of his internet business has left the family
struggling to pay the bills, and his children have been denied access to their
private school due to delinquent tuition payments. The house is being
foreclosed on, and their vehicles are up for repossession. Tammy, his wife, is
threatening to leave with the kids in hopes of finding better times, perhaps
with a better man. From the outside, they appear like a typical wealthy family
living the American dream in their five bedroom house with their expensive cars
in the driveway, all taking place on the wealthy side of town.

 

Scott Marx started an internet
company in his basement and made it into a worldwide giant. With the boom came
the money and everything that comes along with it. After years of wearing the
best custom tailor-made three piece suits to work, he now moped around the
house in dirty tee shirts and stinky sweat pants, most days not getting up
until after 1 p.m. and only showering once a week. Depression had taken full
control of him. Rock bottom set in for Scott when Tammy, his wife of 12 years,
came home and informed him that she was leaving him and taking the kids to her
mom’s in Miami. He kept a high-powered rifle locked up in the basement. He only
used it once in a while when he had a three day weekend. The only time the gun
had ever been fired was at the shooting range. Scott wasn’t a very good shot
but he knew how to use it. He retrieved the gun, pulled a chair into the
hallway, and proceeded to tell his family they weren’t going to Miami or
anywhere else for that matter. When Tammy called his bluff, he fired a shot
into the ceiling striking a deadly fear into his family. They sat down at the
kitchen table as they were instructed, hoping that someone had heard the
gunshot and called the police.

 

And so our story begins.

 

John Kinkaid only works on call
now, this is good for the other swat team members but not so good for John, as
he spends most of his down time in his small one bedroom apartment on the
city’s poorer side. The walls that were once white are now spattered with water
stains, spackle and a dingy yellow film of smoke. He hasn’t opened a window in
a couple of years, and the place reeks of his body odor, cigarettes, and booze,
but he calls it home.

 

A few years back, the department
put Kinkaid on an on-call basis after the complaints piled up from his co-
workers. “Unstable, unreliable, and just a flat out asshole to work with” were
some of the nicer comments. To say that his team members hated him would be an
understatement. Kinkaid was the kind of guy who liked to show off with his
weapon, and he wasn’t very sociable either. Those qualities are not good for
making friends with team members who put their lives in danger every time they
go on a job. When you are part of an elite team such as this SWAT unit, trust
in the guys you work with is very important. When your life is on the line, you
need to know that the guy watching your back is paying attention and not going
to play games. Everyone knew Kinkaid drank on the job which made him unreliable
for a number of reasons. What if a shot was needed to be taken and he just
happened to be reaching into his leg pocket for his bottle? Someone could lose
their life in a split second if he wasn’t on top of things. They also knew the
longer a standoff might carry on and the more that he drank, the more
unreliable he would become. On two different occasions, he was ordered to take
a shot but didn’t react quickly enough. Someone else had to take the shot
instead to cover for him, and frankly, his team was growing tired of such instances
that put their own lives in danger.

 

There was no mistaking one fact. Kinkaid
was the best shot in the department. Ten years earlier, he shot a penny out of
a co-worker’s fingers from 550 yards on a dare. In order to keep the peace
within the ranks, he was put on a salary by the city and told he would be
called upon only when needed. In normal circumstances, another man would have
been fired, but there was no denying when Kinkaid was on, he was the best shot
they had. It didn’t hurt that he had saved the current Mayor’s life about
twelve years earlier. The Mayor was a fellow SWAT team member before going into
politics, and on a job way back in the day, a bad guy had snuck up behind him.
As he was ready to put a bullet into the future Mayor’s head, Kinkaid was the
only person on the swat team to notice. His quick and accurate shot saved the
life of his teammate, and a lot of people think it also saved his career. Many
think this is why he was put “on call” in recent years when someone else
probably would have been let go, and there was plenty of resentment in the
department because of this.  

 

It’s 9:15 on a Wednesday evening
when John’s cell phone rings. It’s one of the few bills he kept current. He
awakens to a darkened room lit only by the muted television. As he rolls over
to find his phone, his black cat, “Killer”, meows for food. His robe is wrapped
around him and he has a hard time turning over on the sweat stained couch, but
he feels around on the floor and finally finds his phone next to the tipped
over empty bottle of rum. The store was out of his favorite vodka earlier that
afternoon. When he answered the call he tried to sound as awake and
professional as he could, but it didn’t work. He mumbled “Kinkaid here.” The
voice on the other end simply said “John, it’s time to go to work. Be here in
an hour.” He responded in a whisper, “Yes Sir.” As he enters the police
department locker room, nobody greets or even acknowledges him. He changes into
his uniform, and once everyone leaves he grabs a small bottle of vodka stashed
behind his belongings in his locker and stuffs it into the leg pockets of his
pants. Just another day on the job John thinks to himself. He walks over to the
briefing room where the meeting is about to begin and takes a seat in the back.

 

Captain Steven Donnelly, an 18
year veteran of the Detroit police force, the last 9 leading the top SWAT unit
in the city, starts the briefing and fills the crew in on the task at hand. “I’m
sorry this one comes at night guys, but we all know that psychos can strike 24
hours a day. We have a gentleman in the Pine Hills sub division who has taken
his two children and his wife hostage at gunpoint in their home. We don’t have
a lot of information at this point, but the locals have been on scene for two
hours and just called us in. Let’s load up and move out, and I will brief you
by radio on the way over there as more information is given to me. From what I
know at this point you should prepare yourselves for a long night. ”You ok
John? This might be your last standoff.”  Kinkaid just nodded at the
Captain as that reality started to set in. ‘What kind of prick are we dealing
with this time?’  John thought to himself. ‘Surely in that area it’s some
spoiled crybaby pussy who didn’t get his way with something, and now thinks the
whole world owes him…hopefully anyway. It’s been a while since I’ve put
someone one ice.’ He laughs to himself as he climbs into the back of the truck
to take his seat with the other swat team members. As soon as he sits down he
hears the whispers start. “Damn I thought he was done.” “Shit, why did they
have to call him? Why couldn’t they just let him finish his time at home?” “Watch
yourself around this guy. He’s as crazy as they come. He’d take out his own
mother for not having change for a dollar.”

 

Kinkaid grinned then put on his
happiest face and addressed anyone who wanted to listen. “Just another day on
the job eh boys? Another crybaby pussy who blames his mom for everything that’s
wrong with him… blames her for all his shortcomings and everything else wrong
with the world. Ah fuck him. Let’s just take the bastard out and make sure his
kids and wife get out unharmed. I don’t want my last job to have any collateral
damage. Let’s get in and get out, one shot, done. I have a date in the
morning.” A voice from the front of the truck responded “Yeah it’s a threesome
with Johnny Walker and Jim Beam.” John shouted “fuck you!” as everyone in the
truck broke out in laughter.

 

Once the truck left the station
house all the chatter stopped, as they waited to hear any incoming information
on the situation at hand.  All the officers were in their own train of
thought. Would this be the job when they didn’t make it home? How long would
this one take? I don’t get paid enough for this shit, and John was no
different. John started thinking the same things but on a different level. ‘Did
I feed the damn cat? What if this is really my last job? What am I going to do
with myself? I really need to figure out my pension and start to budget my
money better. I’ll probably have to start buying cheaper booze and lower
quality chicks. Damn there has to be more to life. Is this what I have
accomplished over all these years? Absolutely nothing?  Jesus Christ. No
wonder no one wants to be around me.  Ahh fuck them’. He is snapped back
to reality as more information about the situation comes over the radio. “Attention
SWAT: Suspect is Scott Marx, age 39, 5 foot 10 inches, 180 pounds, shoulder
length blonde hair, blue eyes, no visible marks or tattoos. Hostages are wife
Tammy, age 35, 5 foot 2 inches, 115 pounds, long blonde hair, green eyes; Son
Jeremy, age 10, 4 foot 10 inches, 100 pounds, short brown hair, brown eyes;
Daughter Tanya, age 8, 4 foot 5 inches, 75 pounds, long blonde hair, blue eyes.
Marx was CEO of Classic Sales of America, one of the top online sales sites in
the world. Company recently went bankrupt and ceased operations. Losses
reported to be over a billion dollars. Basic info on the floor plan of the
house and neighborhood coming shortly. Dwelling is located on a cul de sac.
Stand by.”

 

Kinkaid thought to
himself, ‘Damn I was right. Exactly what I figured it would be. Why can’t
these people just take what life deals them and handle it like adults? Why do
they have to always include the kids? Dumb son of a bitch. Let me get a shot.
I’ll take him out and put him on ice. He puts his own kids in harm’s way like
that and he gets what he deserves.’

 

“Attention SWAT: House is 5,000
square feet – 4 large bedrooms each with own bathroom – 2 stories – all
bedrooms on the second floor – downstairs is large kitchen, two large living
rooms and bathroom. There is a private deck on the west and east sides of the
dwelling. Houses on each side and two across the street. All homes have been
evacuated and can be used for setup or cover. Command Center has been placed at
the end of the block. Proceed with caution. Suspect is armed and dangerous. No
shots have been heard since initial notification. Report to Captain Wiggs at
the Command Center. Stay safe gentlemen. Dispatch out.”

 

The truck parks behind the Command
Center, and the twelve men inside, including John Kinkaid, quickly get out and
head inside the tent. “Captain Donnelly and squad reporting to Senior Captain
Wiggs” said Captain Donnelly. Senior Captain Ralph Wiggs, a 6’5”, slender black
man, has been with the force for 21 years. He looks the team over carefully and
nods to Donnelly to join him outside the tent. As the two stand face to face,
Wiggs quietly says “Is that John Kinkaid? The notorious John Kinkaid?”
“Yes Sir, it is” replied Donnelly. “Don’t worry Sir, he is under my command and
I trust him 100% to follow my orders at all times” Wiggs replied. “So if he
does something fucking stupid I can lay it on your ass and not mine?” Donnelly
just looked down in silence. “That’s exactly what I thought” Wiggs added. “You
let him fuck up on my watch and it WILL be your ass. I guarantee you this
Captain.” Donnelly nodded in agreement, and the two headed back inside the tent
to discuss a plan of attack.

 

All the men surrounded a table
that had a large map rolled out onto it with an overhead view of the neighborhood.
Wiggs pointed to areas of the map and started barking instructions. “There are
houses here, here and here. We have clear lines of sight into the kitchen from
here, here, here, and here. This single story house directly across the street
has two window peaks on the front side. Someone should be able to go up on to
the roof from the rear side of that house and set up behind one of those peaks.
Luckily, there is a clear line of sight into the kitchen because apparently
they have no blinds or curtains installed. I also want guys here, here, here,
and here. Right now our guys are here, here and here. Take their current
positions and send them back here to be reassigned. Kinkaid, I want you on one
of those peaks across the street. You are to do nothing until you hear from
Donnelly, and stay in constant communication with him at all times. Understood
Kinkaid?” John just looked annoyed and replied “Yes Sir!” Wiggs stared back at
him and said “Good. I’ll be watching you. Now move out!”

 

A few minutes later Kinkaid makes
his way to the houses across the street and scampers over to the one directly
across from the hostage house. Placed sideways against the base of the
house he spots an 8 foot aluminum ladder in the back yard. He quietly
leans it up against the house and climbs up onto the roof. He makes his way
over to the front of the house and sets himself up against the left window
peak. Lying on his stomach, gun perched on the roof in front of him, he now
reaches into his pants pocket for his bottle. After a long swig, he checks in
with command to let them know he is in position. “Three checking in, in
position, clear line of sight into the kitchen. The suspect and three hostages
are in clear view. Hostages are sitting in chairs at the kitchen table and
suspect is moving around slowly. Awaiting orders. Three out.” Wiggs replied
“Copy Three.” John prepared himself to be in this position for many hours. Part
of his training years ago was to learn how to stay in one position for a very
long time with very little movement, always alert. Over the years he had
perfected his signature move of reaching for his bottle with very little
movement and never losing site of the target.

 

As he watches the suspect through
his high powered scope, his thoughts spiral around everything Marx could
be thinking himself and everything about him. Did he have a hot little
secretary who he was cheating with on his wife? How much did he make in a week…a
month? Did he have any idea what was going on outside of his little closed off
world? His finger was on the trigger, ready to squeeze on command, staring
through the scope. Those cars in the driveway probably cost more than Kinkaid’s
rent for a year. He wondered how much money was squandered away on stupid
things. The more he thought about Marx and what led him to this point, the more
John hated him. ‘This guy had it all’ he thought to himself, ‘and just because
some things didn’t go the way he wanted, he is threatening to kill his family?
He thought about the family that he himself no longer had. He thought about
retirement coming shortly and having nobody to share it with. Here is a guy who
has all that and he is threatening to kill them. “Three, I have a clear shot”
Kinkaid reported in. “Negative. Hold your fire,” was the response. “Three, I
repeat, I have a clear shot. Let me put this son of a bitch on ice!” “Negative.
Do not fire Three.” “Three, I will repeat again, I have a clear shot. Request
permission to fire, to take suspect out.” Again command refused permission. “Negative,
Three. Do Not Fire. I repeat! Do Not Fire! Do we have a problem here John?” At
that precise moment a loud crack was followed by the sound of shattering glass,
followed by several screams, all happening within a split second.

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Author

Scott Stevens

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