Friday, August 19, 2011

The Protocol: A Death Down by the River Part V

(For Part I go here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here.)

On April 29, the two police assigned to watch over the homeless in the area, were instructed to perform another periodic sweep. All the homeless were told they had to gather their belongings and vacate the area by the next day. And they all would. And they all would return the day after that, back to whatever 'homes" they had left. And the Rangers knew they would return, and the homeless knew they knew, and that's the way it was. Years of the same drill had taught all parties their roles, and everybody usually played their role to perfection.

Danny's backyard property stopped at a small navigation ditch, beyond which was the back of a large car dealership. His wooden backyard fence bordered the ditch, and just beyond the ditch was another chain link fence that ran along the back of the dealership. Along this fence were several clumps of bushes and trees, and each of them was called home by one or two homeless people. Early the next morning, on April 30, Old Man Dan, a 60-ish white homeless man, was vacating the mulberry bush he'd called home for several years. It was behind the dealership and fairly close to Danny's house. He was used to the "gather your stuff and leave" routine, and was following the orders as he had been instructed. He had quite a few belongings; he grabbed many of them and walked down the fence along the back of the car dealership to Basler Street. He turned right and placed his stuff in front of a gate at the last house on the street he went back to the bush to retrieve his bicycle and a couple of other things.

Halford came out the front door and was about to open the gate to get into his car and leave for his morning coffee. Unfortunately, Old Man Dan's gear was in the way. Halford was infuriated and went in the house to tell Danny and Mark.

Old Man Dan returned with his bike just as Halford and Mark were coming out the front door Seeing Dan, Halford approached him and yelled, "Get this damn crap out of the way or you're going to regret it!" Dan looked at him and said he'd get the stuff out of there, but Halford kept yelling at him as he shoved and kicked him. Mark told Halford to stand back, which he finally did. Dan, shaken, gathered his stuff and left. Halford opened the gate, got in his car, and left for his coffee.

To Be Continued

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