Case 339: A Lovely View

My grip weakened on the slick metal of the helicopter landing ski.  The pilot jerked the machine left and right trying to shake me.  In minutes, I would be free-falling into lovely downtown Chicago.  You would think I could find something better to do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

But no, I had to be chasing another millionaire-who-wants-to-control-the­-world type. Of course I had been stupid enough to jump on a helicopter taking off a 34-story building. But I wasn’t about to let this guy slip away again. I tossed my arm around the ski, and peered up at the copter cabin.

A hand opened a door and pointed a pistol down at me.  I swung my body like a kid on the monkey bars.  The gun fired, the bullet rushing by my chest.  With the next swing I catapulted my legs to kick the hand with the gun.

The gun fell away from the copter, but my foot got caught in the open door. We swayed as the helicopter fought against the misplaced weight. A twisted face looked out to laugh at me. With my other leg, I caught his neck in the scissor lock, an old trick I learned from Saturday morning wrestling. It wasn’t all fake, you know.

He gagged and I pulled hard. He tumbled out of the door and caught a ski with one hand. As he dangled, he looked at me as if apologizing for shooting at me, punching me, and other thug-like things as I closed in on his employer the past few weeks.

I kicked him dead in the face and he fell away from the copter, screaming.

“Apology not accepted,” I said, and waved bye-bye to him with my free hand.  I watched him splash into Lake Michigan as the pilot had flown us east out of Chicago.  Methodically, the craft flew lower and lower to the water.

My feet grazed the water as the copter fought the lake wind to skim across the lake waves.  Spring had sprung in Chicago, but the lake felt like hard ice.  Any lower and I would be broken like a china doll skipped over concrete.

Above, the door swung closed and open again. The copter dipped toward the water again and I made my move. Not a great one, but it was a move. I swung up as before, straddling the door upside-down. My head now just a few feet from the water, I reached for the cabin entrance.

There was shouting as someone moved towards the door. I pulled the small pistol in my tennis shoe out and fired towards the opening. With a burst of stupidity, I dived into the helicopter.

“Get him!” Johnstone screamed as I struggled to stay in the seat. I made a quick survey of the cabin. Another goon sat bleeding next to me. Johnstone, the millionaire in question, sat in front with the pilot. Only the nephew, Willy, remained in the back. A pistol shook in his hands.

“Now Willy,” I tried, knowing the kid was scared. He was only sixteen, but Johnstone had used him as a goon. The kid wasn’t ready for this kind of action. “Don’t let your Uncle make you into a killer. He’s the one I’m after. Not you.”

“Shoot him, Willy!” Johnstone yelled from in front. The copter shook heavily. Willy tumbled back and the gun went off. The pilot slumped in his seat. Johnstone turned to the controls quickly as the copter trembled and began to spin.

I fell towards the open door. Willy let go of the gun and clutched the seat next to him. In front, Johnstone struggled to pull the copter up. Below the choppy waves of Lake Michigan grew closer, but Johnstone held the copter steady and finally willed it upward.

Grabbing Willy’s gun, I pointed it at Johnstone. “Give it up, Johnstone. We’ve got all the evidence we need on you, now.”

“Like what!!?” He said, defiantly.

“We have the recovered drug shipment signed in your handwriting and witnessed by 34 men. We have rescued four hostages from your estate. Not to mention the home video you made about how you plan to take over the world and admitting to all the crimes.”

“What did you think. Nice video, eh?”

“Well the camera was a little shaky, but I would rent it for a dollar.” I cocked the gun. “Now. Adventure’s over. I’m taking you in.”

“You seem to forget whose driving this thing, Mr. Sibley.”

“What difference does that make?”

“I don’t know, I saw it on Barnaby Jones once,” he shrugged, then pulled the stick to the right.  I tumbled to the edge of the seat and my legs went out the door.  The gun slid out of my hands as I hung on.  He laughed.

“You see, as always, I am in control!”

I huffed, climbing back in. Ahead, Chicago loomed as he flew back into the city. Weaving in and out of buildings, I sat near the white-faced Willy. He was too scared to move.

The craft slowed to a hover over an abandoned construction site. Johnstone turned with a small pistol in hand. “Well, I would love for you to take me in and to go to prison, but I have places to own, people to be.” He signalled for Willy to get out. He did, quickly. “You see Mr. Sibley, in twenty four hours I will have a new face, a new name, and I will find a new way to acheive the power I crave.”

He cocked the pistol and smiled. “Goodbye, Mr. Sibley!”

The craft shook as a bullet ricocheted off the door.

“No! Willy, I’ll shoot him,” Johnstone yelled, turning back to the controls frantically.

The craft wobbled as he lost control and I tripped backwards and out of the helicopter. I landed eight feet below, hard. The copter hovered and weaved in the air. Through the flying dust and debris I could see Willy standing over me with a gun.

I gulped as he cocked the gun and looked at me with a cool eyes that belonged to a young boy robbed of a real childhood. Then he turned and took aim at the copter only a few hundred feet away. He fired three shots. The third hit the fuel tank of the copter. Willy hid his eyes from the explosion. I stood as pieces of metal fell to the ground and the shell of the copter landed on a detriorated brick building.

Willy dropped the gun, shrugged, and looked at me. “He was a lousy uncle.”

(From “Interludes of Evil”, a Filton Sibley, Detective Novel by Ric Jonsen. Now available for FREE at Smashwords, Lulu, Nook, iBooks, and more)

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