Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Day Franc Donahue Broke Down A Door

It happened the day that Franc Donahue and Krazc Chettern were taking the groceries up to Krazc's apartment. She lived with a girlfriend in a one of the nicer townhouses in Madison although Franc had not asked how she could afford such nice digs. Krazc Chettern was Tommy Kyle's newly hired sketch artist, she being a recent graduate from the local university in art and computer graphics. Franc wasn't overly excited about having someone "assigned" to him, but his biggest client, the aforementioned Tommy Kyle, had agreed apparently to find work for a friend of a friend and Franc got the nod --when, and if, he needed someone that is.

Over the early part of the summer a friendship developed. Krazc (Karen Ruth, i.e., KR, i.e., KRC, pronounced "craze-zee" by her friends) had proved her ability and professionalism mostly by doing good work and being there when Franc needed her. She was about 5'2", slight build, long shimmering blond hair, round faced, and a white smile that Franc immediately fell in love with. She was only 15 years younger than he, which kept him in check, and she was gay.

She roomed with Agnes Anderson. Not a girlfriend in the sense used by too many people to denote some intimacy but a friend who happened to be female --same age, same profession but with an overload of boyfriend problems. Those kinds of problems people denote as being, well, problems.

Agnes and Kracz were hosting a party the next evening and Krazc had been designated procurer of the produce since Agnes was the chef de massion. Franc Donahue and Kracz Chettern trudged five bags of groceries up the long steps and in to the common entry way for three-apartment to apartment "1A." Kracz was lowering a bag of groceries and fumbling for the keys to unlock the door when they heard a muffled yelp from inside.

"Agnes!" yelled Kracz. "Is that you? What's wrong! Agnes?"

Another muffled yelp and the word "gun" cut off at the throat.

Hand over her mouth, eyes wide open in terror, Kracz muffled a worried shout of her own. Donahue backed away from the door, dropping his load of produce, reflexively reaching for his .38.

"Agnes," again yelled Kracz. It was a panic now.

She and Donahue exchanged glances, almost a signal of something was wrong and worried and scared and she should get the door open. Impatient with her aiming the key in the lock, Donahue took her wrist and pushed her determinedly a side. He took the house key, standing next to the door rather than in front of the door like most of us do, twisted the lock.

The shot nearly, but not quite, blasted through the door. The boom and the power of the thump on the door indicated a heavy firearm.

Donahue had the .38 out and with one giant boot banged the door open. In an instant he saw a scared girl--presumably Agnes--in t-shirt and jeans, and a guy with his arm around her neck, lynching her a full foot off the ground, and the double-barreled long-barreled shotgun smoking like a chimney. The room was filled with smoke. Donahue ducked behind the doorway wall as a second round tore off most of the trim and jam just above his head in a deafening crash. He couldn't hear Kracz's scream over the explosion of gunfire and shattering woodwork and his own deafness. But he had seen the double barrel and launched himself through the door without hesitation, .38 in hand, and, luckily, trigger finger on mental safety.

The shooter, an ex-boyfriend maybe, also realized he had better retreat, dropped the girl and the empty shotgun and turned to hightail it towards the open kitchen by which he'd entered. He needed about three strides to make it to freedom.

Donahue, no track star and not nearly in shape as a 25-year-old boy, leapt over the slowly crumpling body of Agnes Anderson and was on top of the kid in one stride, halfway into the kitchen. The kid had to double step in order to launch himself through the open window and Donahue clapped him hard on the shoulders throwing the kid off balance and off stride like the way you'd knock somebody down when you were a kid when tackling wasn't going to work. Donahue sailed to one side and landed on his knees in a shot of pain.

The kid's aim at the window was good but Donahue made him float high. Very high. Window sash high. And with the window open, both sashes up. He caught the sash handle square in the top of his head and then his weight carried his noggin on into the lower sash trim shattering it but not his head. The second sash didn't give much and probably saved him from getting decapitated by falling glass but the first sash split in two. Crumpled like a collapsing gas-bag politician.

The kid rebounded, spiraled down to the tiled floor, on his rear end, then full on his back, trying to get breath and cover his head and scream for mercy all at the same time. Franc Donahue was on him like snake, yanked the kid over on his stomach, pinned the boy down by stomping the heel of his brogan on the kid's scrotum, and jamming his sole up the boy's kazoo.

The kid screamed even louder but had that punk's limited knowledge of claiming his innocence, "I wasn't doing nothing!"

"Yeah, I noticed," said Franc Donahue, "I always like fondling a shotgun more than some girl, too."

And blew him a kiss.


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